Thursday, July 8, 2010

White Cat by Holly Black

May 4th 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry
Hardcover, 310 pages
Genre: YA Fiction

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.--Goodreads

My Review:
Everything is not what is seems in Holly Black’s Curse Worker world so you better watch your back because the cons are artfully cunning and the characters are devilishly tricky.

So lets start with a little summary of the world Holly has created. From what I understood the curse worker world is just like ours except that some people are born with special ability to work magic through their hands and in one specifically mentions case through their feet after his hands were cut off. It is not only customary to where gloves when out in public but also completely and absolutely necessary in order to have a peaceful society. Well as peaceful as possible considering this world is full of magical beings and con artist who are always looking for a mark. Since working magic is illegal most or all curse workers are connected to one of the six mobster style families one way are another. The six family names are Nonomura , Goldbloom, Volpe, Rice, Brennan (I think this is an inside joke between Sara Rees Brennan and Holly since in Sara‘s book The Demon‘s Lexicon one of her character is named Black Arthur. I could be reading too much into and it could all be a coincidence but it was fun to think about) , and the family that Cassel is connected to the Zachorov.

In the Curse Worker world , from what I can recall there are about seven kind of workers. The luck worker (one who can bring good luck), death worker (can kill with one touch) , body worker (do physical harm to a person with very little effort) , memory worker (can change, erase or add memories), dream worker (can enter and control your dreams), emotion worker (can make you feel specific emotions) and the most unique, transformation worker (one who can transform any object to another).

Cassel Sharpe is the main character and the book is written in his POV. He was the only person with any kind of sympathy, guilt, or remorse in his family and I’m really glad I got to see this world through is eyes. He is the youngest of three brothers and has always felt like an outsider since she is the only one in the family who doesn’t have any magic ability. Philip is the oldest but certainly not the slyest of the brothers. He is in a dysfunctional marriage to Maura and they have a young son together. It seems like he truly tries to keep his family safe and together after their fathers death but when you are in the mob there is no real way to keep anyone safe. He is Anton's (Zachorov’s nephew) best friend and is considered an asset to the Zachorov family because he is a physical worker. Barron is the middle brother and is closest to Cassel. He also works for the Zachorov family and is a luck worker. Shandra is Cassel’s mother and she is a emotional worker. She is in jail for seducing a wealthy man and making him feel as if he was in love with her. Philip is Cassel's dad. We don't find out much about him other that he's either dead or disappeared. I have a suspicion we will see him in the up coming books. Grandpa Desi is a death worker and he too works for the Zachorov family. Cassel ends up living with him for a little while after he gets kicked out of school. Lila (Lillian) is Cassel’s best friend and love interest. She is also the daughter and heir to the Zachorov family. She is a worker but I’m not going to tell what kind. You will have to find that out all on your own.

What I liked about the book is that is always has you guessing. It’s never boring, well written and pretty easy to follow. I found the curse worker world fascinating with tons of possibility. The Con as a way of means to an end is a very interesting concept that. One that I myself do not have the brains for and hope that I have never fell victim to.

What I didn’t like about the book is how short it was. I didn’t want it to end and I was left with so many question. The fact that Cassel doesn’t get his revenge in this book really sucked. I'm really hoping those who did him wrong will get their dues in the next books. And the biggest disappointment was that there was not enough romance. Yes, there were two beautiful women in Cassel’s life but one seemed confused and distant and the other indecisive and cruel. I wish he had someone to help him through this time in his life. I know this book is not meant to be a romance novel but I was still hoping for a little more luvin in the poor guys life.

Overall White Cat was an addicting and intriguing ride and the Curse Worker world is unique and mesmerizing. A world that I can’t wait to read more of.
Cassel- "I guess it's true what they say--I have loved too much not to hate."
 Maura- "Your not a good liar. Philip's good, but not you."
Cassel- "Hey," I say, honestly offended."I am an excellent liar. I am the finest liar in the history of liars."
"Liar," she says  

Next Book in this Series:
Red Glove May 2011
Black Heart 2012


Holly's Blog
Holly's Website
The Curse Worker Website

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