Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Review: White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black Synopsis:
Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.

I thought there wasn’t much room left in the YA genre for a completely new prospect but I eat my words. I have not read anything like this, full stop. Holly Black has written a unique and beautiful novel that I loved a lot more than I expected!

The start was admittedly slow because since it’s the first in a series there was of course world-building; and while it wasn’t bad/boring, it was hard to get into the story and connect to the characters but it quickly picked up and from then on never let up. I loved the ever present humour and the start was brilliant, with the male protagonist hanging from a roof in his boxers… A very clear indicator that this would be a fun book. The world of Curse Workers where people can change your emotions, or turn you into a cat, or remove memories with single touch is incredibly interesting, and there’s a lot more that can come from it.

As far as characters went I thought Cassel’s family was shady to say the least. Cassel’s the only non-worker in the family and with that came a lot of secrets and dodging around the truth like it was the plague. They never gave straight answers and as con-artists were very good at lying; it all came with the job of being a Curse Worker because the second someone realised they were being Worked everything would go up in smoke and they’d be carted off to jail (Cassel’s mother learnt that the hard way, but God only knows if she learnt her lesson).

Cassel was easily my favourite part of the book because it was easy to see him as a real person: likeable but flawed (it was easy to forget it’s written by a female, so well done Black!). He’s the laid back guy who prefers to hide in the shadows where drama still manages to find him; and what’s most surprising is that he’s not the type of person you expect to rise up and be a hero, but he does even when he doesn’t think can do it himself. I really wanted things to work out for him but of course if that happened there would be no story! Instead he faces complicated obstacle after obstacle trying to cling onto what parts of himself he still had left untouched by poisonous lies.

Now while I’m not usually a romance fanatic I think it needed something more than Cassel’s memories of a girl he loved that to be honest sounded really spiteful and just plain bitchy. He didn’t drone on about her *phew* and she was mentioned plenty enough for me as is, but perhaps someone else could have added something to the story? Just an idea, but still this was a great book and if you’re dubious about it like I was just have a go and stick with it. You won’t regret it and you just might end up loving it…
Favourite Quotes:
“Apparently you can do lots of things very skilfully while asleep, Mr. Sharpe, but attending my class does not seem to be one of them.”

“Once someone’s hurt you, it’s harder to relax around them, harder to think of them as safe to love. But it doesn’t stop you wanting them.”

“The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.”

“We are, largely, who we remember ourselves to be. That’s why habits are so hard to break. If we know ourselves to be liars, we expect not to tell the truth. If we think ourselves as honest, we try harder.”

“Marks forget that whenever something’s too good to be true, that’s because it’s a con.”

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