by Holly Black
Curse Workers series; book II
I really liked White Cat, but I don’t know why I was so hesitant about reading the second book. But after this review, I knew I was missing out.
Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.
My Expectations: Not that high to be honest, I don’t really know what to expect and how I’d react.
Delivery: Definitely surprised me by how good it was. SO GOOD.
It’s like Holly Black is running an inside joke on me or something, because it felt like as I was reading this and as curveballs were thrown at my face, she was looking over me with a smirk and an aura of cleverness. Because this book is smart. Smart in the way that I don’t appreciate enough, in the way that when I look back at the dropped clues that I couldn’t figure out (I’m usually good at stuff like that) and admiring Cassel, the way the plot moved, and the characters involved… to say I’m impressed is an understatement.
The characters of the novel are incredibly well done. I loved Cassel’s persona of the worker trying to do the right thing when the choices handed him form a Morton’s Fork, and when the girl he loves has been worked to love him back and that just sets off all sorts of moral alarms. I loved the way Black portrayed our protagonist and the authentic and delightfully complex relationships he had with his friends and family. Cassle Sharpe does make it to my most memorable characters list, and he can be joined by the equally awesome Lila, Sam and Daneca.
To continue with things that was unsuspectingly awesome… the plot! It’s exciting, twisted and clever, and it tricks the reader into thinking the opposite of what was happening. Supported by some shady yet brilliant characters, the mysteries and murders of the curse workers were shaped to form a precise and complex plot. The world-building by Black is also phenomenal because it feels so utterly convincing yet effortless, if that makes sense. The author doesn’t spend time explaining the way her world works, yet it just works.
Cassel’s voice is captured extremely well by Black’s writing; he makes one of the most authentic male characters in YA. I loved how he doesn’t fit into any stereotype because he’s so far from perfect, but there’s this charm to him that made me root for him and become invested in what happens.
Red Glove is an exhilarating sequel that taught me not to underestimate this series, I’ll be itching to find out how Cassel’s story continues in Black Heart.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: Everyone! This series has great appeal because it's just so... awesome.
Acknowledgements: I recognized so many names! :P 3.5/5
8.8/10 – because it’s fast-paced, smart and exciting in the best possible sense. The plot rolled along easily as Cassel navigated the tricky position he was in with everybody trying to get a piece of his skills. The world created with the workers and the ethics surrounding them was done in a manner that entices thought and discussion as well as being entertaining. Cassel is a truly fantastic character and the diverse supporting cast made up of friends, the Feds, mob bosses, shady families and so many secrets makes the book just shine.
my review of White Cat (book 1)
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