Monday, September 19, 2011

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat (Curse Workers, #1)
Holly Black
First published January 1st, 2010

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.

It's safe to say that it's not the cover that attracted me to this book. I was actually quite surprised to see its many great reviews. Yes, I'm a book judger. Oh well. I picked this up as an audiobook and actually liked it a lot.

Some people are born as workers in Cassel's world. Workers can "work" people with their hands. By touching someone, they can alter their memory, kill, give good luck, bad luck. You name it. Cassel is the only one in his family who is not a worker. He's been getting these weird dreams that make him sleepwalk in very unfortunate scenarios.

I found the plot of this book very original and quite fun. I loved Cassel, the protagonist. I loved that it was a male lead. They're so rare but they're great. No girly angst. Cassel was charismatic and I quite enjoyed the narrative by Jesse Eisenberg. His voice was very fitting for Cassel's character. The plot twists aren't too difficult to figure out. But it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story. It was still fun to walk through it with Cassel and see him figure it out.

The book isn't dark. But i think it may be heading that way. Cassel is very innocent in the start, so I think it contributed to the lighter, fun read. By the end, though, we saw glimpses of grimier times with conspiracies and intricate politics.

I'm happy that I gave this one a chance regardless of the dreadful cover. It's not what I expected at all. I was also told the sequel is just as good. This is one to not pass up if you like paranormal.

4/5 hot espressos