Saturday, July 31, 2010

HBIC White Cat Review

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)White Cat by Holly Black
Review copy provided by publisher.

PJVs QUICKIE POV: A different take on magic, Holly Black wove a very compelling and surprisingly believable tale of black magic and crime families. My expectations were high leading into White Cat, and Black did not disappoint. Her characters were richly developed and the back-story well depicted and portrayed. White Cat spun a tale that had me engrossed from start to finish. This wasn’t a cuddly, romantic little YA novel though, and it’s sharp edges had me enjoying the ride even more.

REVIEW: The world of White Cat is set in an alternative reality, where magic workers, or what are called Curse Workers can lay hands upon someone and manipulate them. Whether they can manipulate their luck, their emotions, memories, or even transform them, depends on the worker. Luck workers are the most common, Transformation workers the most rare. The world wears gloves, because a bare hand can end your life...if you run into a Death Worker.

Cassel is from a long legacy of workers. His mother is in jail from an “Assault” that she did during a con. His brothers work for a crime family that employes workers to do their dirty work. Cassel isn’t a worker though, but the criminal gene does run strong within him. So much so, that at 14 he killed. He doesn’t even remember doing it, only that his best friend ended up dead and that some part of him enjoyed it.

This novel tasted like a Scorsese film. Gritty and real, it spread open a vile little view of black magic and shook it in your face until you became comfortable with it and kind of fell in love with Cassel and his neurosis. There were slight hints at romantic interludes, but personally I feel Cassel has to sort himself out before he finds his soulmate. Which is why I want to beat his mother with a baseball bat. Gotta love those crazy interfering ex-con parents.

A great read for fans for YA. If you are in a mood to step away from the cuddly werewolves and sex kitten witches... you might give White Cat a whirl.

RECOMMENDATIONS: There is a more mature theme to this novel, so I recommend it for older teens, 14+. Fans of Beautiful Creatures, The Iron Series by Julie Kagawa and grittier YAs like the Wicked Lovely series should enjoy.

Discussions questions from

1. Blacks characters pay a price for being powerful curse workers and experience a phenomenon called "blowback" whenever they worked someone. If you had a superpower but knew by using it you would experience a crippling side effect would you still use it?

Yup. Always wanted superpowers.

2. Family plays an important role in White Cat (Curse Workers) -- who did you like the most or the least in Cassel's family and why ??

I didn't like any of them and I think Cassel should say "Asta le pasta" to the entire clan.

3. What did you think about the entire world that Holly Black built? The gloves, the curses? Can you imagine a world like this where an uncovered hand could be a dangerous weapon?

I think Black's world was just crazy believable. It was a new spin on witchcraft and the repercussions were well thought out.

4. With family like this who needs enemies right? Is blood thicker than water? Or in this case should Cassel think about getting a name change and moving far far away from his familial bonds?

Cassel should change his name to Smith and move to like Idaho.

5. Do you think this book is a good set up for a sequel? If so, make your predictions.

I think if I'm not mistaken this is a trilogy. Red Glove is the second in this series.  Probably going to deal with his new found "love" and the release of his mother, which I'm sure will play havoc with his life.  Not to mention the discovery of his own powers...

Spoiler Question:

What did you think about Cassel's mother and the curse she worked in the last pages of the book? Cassel finally thinks he is getting some love...and wham-O!

I really wanted to beat the mom in the head.