Monday, October 11, 2010

White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black.
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry.
Pages: 310.
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.
In this magnificently crafted world unlike any other, magic is portrayed as a well-known weapon among the characters of the book and is used to instill a sense of mob and crime, making White Cat one of the most unique novels I’ve ever read.

Admittedly, this was my first Holly Black novel, but it certainly won’t be my last. White Cat was a fast-paced mystery that very much reminds me of the crime investigation shows that I grew up watching as a kid. Clues are unraveled and things are foreshadowed and everything weaves together to make an extremely enthralling book that never bored me.

Cassel was such an entertaining protagonist. He’s witty and sarcastic and definitely a smartass, but as the story deepens and we learn more about his history with Lila, a girl that he believes he had murdered, his layers kind of strip away and he comes more serious. More determined. Not only does Holly Black write amazing worlds, she also does a pretty nifty job with the characters she puts in them.

The only thing I can really complain about was that after awhile, it did start to become confusing. A lot of different names and memories are thrown at you, so if you’re not really focused on the book, you’re going to be scrambling to flip pages back to figure out what you missed.

Overall, I really enjoyed White Cat. The Curse Workers world is one that I can’t wait to dive back into, especially with the sudden, and somewhat bizarre, ending that the first book left us with. This is a new kind of paranormal and a new twist on magic, so I definitely recommend it!


  1. Great review! I really want to read White Cat! Also, I really like your Halloween layout! I love how you made Jack read The Hunger Games (:

  2. This sounds really interesting... I can't wait to read it!

  3. Great review. Like you, this was my first Holly Black book but it won't be my last. I like how she created this slightly alternate world - with US history changing just enough to fit the Curse Workers.
    Alison Can Read

  4. I loved White Cat!! Reading your review almost makes me want to read it again!

    By the way, I LOVE your new look!! The header is amazing!!

  5. I read her Fearies trilogy, and I'm a bit on the fence reading this one. But I love cats, so I really want to read it now. Great review!