Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Review: White Cat

White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)White Cat

Series: The Curse Workers, #1
Author: Holly Black
Reading Level and Genre(s): YA Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Features: Curse magic, con artists
Publication Date: May 4, 2010
Source: Library

Overall Rating: 5/5
Cover Rating: 5/5
Cover Comments: Look at that sexy con artist. And that sexy cat.

Cassel Sharpe is the only non-worker in a family of notorious curse workers. Curse workers, once the most powerful, are now one of the lowest classes and must work for crime families to survive. Trying to remain "normal" by going to boarding school, things start turning strange when Cassel begins to sleepwalk and have confusing dreams. His brothers seem to be keeping something from him, and Cassel can't get over the guilt of having murdered his best friend three years ago.

This book? Dark. Sexy. Thrilling. I just couldn't stop reading it. It started off slow, but when I got into it, it was near impossible to pull me back out. I swear Holly Black is a con artist, too. White Cat is one of those books that are written in a twisted way when not everything is explained or even told about. Eventually all is revealed to you (kind of), but until then, it seems that there is nothing but impending doom for all the good guys. 

Cassel Sharpe is a pretty cool guy. I really don't know how to describe him, so that's all I got. But he's pretty much those three words that I used to describe this book. The book is him. During most of the book, we know just as much about what's going on as he does. Which is close to none. That's what I loved about this book. It's just mystery layered upon mystery, and you're on the edge of your seat, gripping the armrests (Figuratively. How else would you hold the book?), holding your breath and turning to next page to read what happens next. Cassel has the perfect (sarcasm) family. His brothers, Barron and Philip, scare me. They seem like the perfect backstabbing brothers. Of course, they're way much more than they seem. Very complex and confusing indeed. And he's also got the typical grandfather who can kill anyone with a touch of the hand. Plus his mother's in jail. Oh, yes. If his life wasn't so messed up, he would probably be a really great, normal guy.

The world that Black created was very original and fascinating. I loved the idea of curse work, and all the con artist/mafia type stuff. The problem was, in the first part I didn't really get what was going on and was very confused. So was Cassel, so I guess that's a good thing. After getting into it, it's impossible to escape the depths of the curse work world, just like any curse worker (Better to never find out. Then you're not screwed.) .

This book is filled with evil plans, sinister villains, sacrifices, betrayals, and a bit of humor and romance. Great writing, unique plot, original characters, and just wonderful overall! I loved it, and I can't wait to go and pick up Red Glove!

Personal Thoughts (What I thought as a teen reader, not a reviewer)
Cassel has too many girls in his life. Heheheh.
It took a while to actually convince me to read this book, because I tried Tithe and I just couldn't get into it. Then I saw all the hype and I just couldn't stay out of it, so I jumped onto the curse work bandwagon.

First Line/First Paragraph/Beginning Excerpt: 

I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air.
Above me are the stars. Below me, the bronze sstatue of Colonel Wallingford makes me realize I'm seeing the quad from the peak of Smythe Hall, my dorm.
I have no memory of climbing the stairs up to the roof. I don't even know how to get where I am, which is a problem since I'm going to have to get down, ideally in a way that doesn't involve dying.

Favorite/Teaser Quotes:
"You have a real talent for getting your ass kicked."
"I can't trust the people I care about not to hurt me. And I'm not sure I can trust myself not to hurt them, either." 
"The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true." 
"Once someone's hurt you, it's harder to relax around them, harder to think of them as safe to love. But it doesn't stop you from wanting them."

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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.


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