Thursday, 10 March 2011

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black
Publisher: Gollancz
Released: June 17th 2010
My Rating: 5 stars out of 5

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. (from Goodreads)

Prepare for gushing. Because White Cat was amazing. Not even amazing – ahmayzing. Absolutely brilliant. I haven’t loved a book this much in a long time. It was just so engaging! I said to myself when I started it that I’d read a little bit before I went to bed, but I ended up staying awake until half three to finish it. I literally could not stop reading. You find out one thing and you’re like, “What? How?” Then you have to keep reading for more explanations and ah – it was just so, so good. 

Cassel – he was the epitome of cool. I mean, even his name. Cassel. It’s just so cool. I don’t know how Holly Black made me like him, but I did. Even from the very start, even though he admitted himself he was a murderer that enjoyed the con too much, I couldn’t help liking him and rooting for him. He seemed so tortured yet at the same time he was hilarious. He wasn’t one of those whinging ones that was all “no-one understand me” all the time. I loved his humour, and he was really smart too with the way he pieced things together bit by bit (plus, where would we be without Google? :P). I couldn’t help feeling sorry for him at times – he’d been treated so unfairly, I just wanted to climb into the book and give him a big hug. And the ending, oh. I’ll just say that Red Glove cannot come fast enough.

Another character I really liked was Cassel’s granddad – he was in my good books ever since the beginning when he said to Cassel, “You don’t want to be some kind of useless pretty boy.” I burst out laughing at that (and keep in mind this was the middle of the night) and from that point on I started rooting for granddad too. He was so funny as well; you can see where Cassel inherited his humour from, and I loved a scene at the end where Cassel and his granddad had to work together. I can’t wait to see more of them in the next book.

*spoilerish paragraph - highlight to read* 
One character I didn’t like was Lila. She was so bossy, demanding and downright bitchy. I couldn’t understand why Cassel even liked her. She got on my nerves half the time! But though I didn’t really like her, she was a very interesting character, and of course, she was vital to the (totally awesome) storyline. So she had her uses, I suppose. And I did feel sorry for her, as well; I mean, who wouldn’t after all she’d been through? So I guess I could understand some of her hostility (but she was excessively annoying sometimes). The ending too...ah! 

Another character (who was more on the sidelines in the story) I liked was Maura, Philip’s wife. She kind of creeped me out, truth be told, but she was intriguing and her constant change in mood was so weird I really wanted to find out more about her. She was definitely one of those characters that stayed in the back of your mind, and I really hope we see more of her in the sequel, because I’m sure there’s more to her that we’ve yet to see.

The plot of White Cat is completely twisty-turny. You might think you’ve got something figured out, but you’re probably wrong. When Cassel finally realises his brothers are up to something, and they won’t let him in on it, he tries to find out what’s going on himself. And boy, you will be shocked at some of the things he uncovers. Be prepared.

In conclusion, White Cat was a megasuperawesome book that everyone needs to read. I really do recommend it to everyone, even if you despise magic books, just read it just so you can say you gave it a go. You never know, you might like it! Holly Black has just created such a fascinating world; the way she made curse-working such an integrated part of society was brilliant, you can really imagine such a world exists. It’s practically the same world with curse-working sewed into the fabric of its history. I am so excited for Red Glove, it’s unbelievable.


  1. I can't wait for Red Glove, too. :)

    I loved this book so much-- the combination of con men and supernatural powers was just mindblowingly awesome. Great review!

  2. Hey Liz, I've heard so many good things about this book and your review makes me want to read it even more. Lol. I think I may have to pop on over to Amazon. Donna :)

  3. i've been wanting to read this for awhile! Thanks for the great review!

  4. I really need to get on to the Holly Black wagon... I mean, no. I already am on the wagon! Just The Curse Workers wagon, I guess.

    WHITE CAT is actually sitting on my shelf right now... I just have too many things to read first! I really do want to get to it soon since I've heard only positive things and it sounds interesting but... *sigh* TBR list is crazy - 'nuff said.


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