by Holly Black
The Curse Workers series; book I
Is it a crime that this is my very first Holly Black book? Anyways, this was everywhere in the blogosphere a while ago so I was so happy when I found the library had this (with a 20 person waiting line, of course).
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.
My Expectations: I thought it would be a good book. Not many gushing or hating reviews, but most were generally positive.
Delivery: Very enjoyable! Very unique and likeable book.
Put-down-ability: in the middle, 5/10
White Cat is stunningly original; I loved the premise of everything included, I was pulled in faster than you could say the word ‘con’ (which on a side note, is one capable of sparking interest with its single syllable). The idea of curse-workers, and having them be criminals in society was such a wonderful idea, and you know me: I love wonderful ideas.
Cassel is a solid character, he has depth and emotion to him that makes him charming for the female audience (well, for me anyways). I loved his view of cons and the finesse behind them, it was really fascinating to read about. The guilt he felt over Lila and the family dynamics surrounding him were all excellently portrayed. Maybe it’s just me, but I love crime families (Heist Society shoutout!).
I found the elaborate-ness of the plot very admirable, dark tales of cons, marks and trickery were gobbled up. I absolutely adore the idea of curse-workers, it’s such a unique idea that came together well. I enjoyed the mystery behind everything, from the strange behaviour to dreams of the White Cat.
The writing in the novel is strong, I felt some world-building aspects did confuse me a bit, but overall the narration is engaging and refreshing. I never felt anything dragged on or was over-written– everything flowed very smoothly with energy and action.
The very end was (to me) awesome! It came as a huge surprise but I couldn’t help but to me it seemed oddly fitting in a weird cliff-hanger way… Oh those cliffhangers…
Parting Thoughts: Can’t wait to see what happens in book 2!
Rating in HP Terms: Acceptable
8.2/10 – because the premise and the writing were excellent, the idea of curse-workers was great. I liked being in Cassel’s mind, it was a refreshing narration and the world behind it all was very unique. I like how the working was kind of in the background, not too glaringly in-your-face but always influenced Cassel in different ways. Totally recommended to those looking for a clever novel with great twists, mobsters, mysteries and family. B+
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