Early Review: White Cat by Holly Black

April 25, 2010 Uncategorized 4

*Disclosure: I received this book courtesy of Simon and Schuster

This title will be released on May 4, 2010

Book Description

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.

Book 1 in The Curse Workers Series 

What’s a guy to do when he’s the only member of a rare family of curse workers who can’t work a curse to save his life? Take after his incarcerated mother of course: block out the past and learn to con everyone he meets, even himself.

"I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air."-Opening line from WHITE CAT

WHITE CAT is written from the perspective of seventeen year old Cassel, a compelling protagonist, full of doubt, self-loathing, and lots of bravado–not to mention a wicked skill set when it comes to working a con. Whether running a gambling pool at school, or contriving elaborate false personas to rescue a friend, Cassel is more comfortable creating artful lies than he is with reality.

In addition to a strong lead voice, the present tense of the writing is extremely effective and creates a nice contrast to the past tense passages when Cassel is remembering pieces from his life. The mystery of what exactly happened to Cassel is sometimes predictable, but there are enough surprises that I was thoroughly entertained by WHITE CAT.

The world building in WHITE CAT is subtle, but no less strong. A very, very few people ( like 1/100 of 1%) are born with the ability to work magic, but at a steep price. For every curse worked, there is a blowback on the Worker. Death workers will loss fingers-or worse-when they touch a person with death. Memory workers loose chunks of their own memories when they remove the memories of someone else. There are also workers of emotions, luck, and even dreams.

The best way I can think to describe WHITE CAT is that it’s like the movie Momento meets Maggie Stiefvater’s Ballad. And that’s high praise in my book. Red Glove (Curse Workers, book 2) does not yet have a release date, but I’ll be keeping an ear out.  This looks to be the start of an  excellent new series—don’t miss it.

Sexual Content: (YA titles receive a more thorough breakdown)Kissing. A sense of mild sensuality. References to sex. Ritualistic body mutilation. 

My Rating (out of 5):
imageimageimageimageExcellent – Loved it! Buy it now & pre-order the sequel.

Click HERE to read an excerpt of WHITE CAT


Product Details

  • imageReading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416963960
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416963967

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