White Cat by Holly Black
(Curse Workers, #1)
Genre: YA, paranormal
Read: 6/1/2012 — 6/5/2012
Why I Started Reading This Series and Final Verdict
This series had been recommended to me by a number of people. When I got my hands on the audiobook version (for both books 1 and 2 even though I wasn’t overly fond of the narrator), I finally took a chance on it. While I enjoyed the world (it seriously kicks ass), I don’t know if I liked it as much as I could have. I still have not picked up the third book (you’ll notice I listened to both of these books in the summer), but I would definitely like to at some point. I have a feeling I’d like this series better without my apathy toward the narrator affecting my overall enjoyment.
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 criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, 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.
Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself 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. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
My Thoughts on White Cat
I love how seamlessly Holly Black has woven organized crime and magic together. The world in Curse Workers is so real and well-thought out that it is easy to imagine how something like this would play out in real life.
The story itself was a bit twisty turny and it was fabulous. Cassel was an intriguing mixture of both good and bad, and so very fascinating when he is on the con. When he starts to unravel the mystery, just… wow. As Alissa said, it’s intense.
This was a solid start to the series. I will definitely pick up Red Glove, though I will likely not seek out the audiobook.
Audiobook specific: Meh. Not my favorite narrator, and often hard to distinguish between characters.
Red Glove by Holly Black
(Curse Workers, #2)
Genre: YA, paranormal
Read: 7/5/2012 — 7/10/2012
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 Thoughts on Red Glove
Definitely liked the second installment more than the previous. Cassel’s life is starting to get messy. And the messier it gets, the more fascinating it gets. I like that Cassel is both good and not good, and that he is brilliant at the con — for the most part. I like that Cassel actually has friends now, as I think this shows how his character is changing.
As with the previous book, I do love how seamlessly curse work has been woven into mob culture. I think this is one aspect about this series that I really, truly enjoy. Will definitely pick up the next in the series, but not the audiobook this time.