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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1) » User review

A brilliant start to a promising new series

  • Jun 7, 2010
Cassel lives in a world where curse workers can alter your emotions, luck, memories, dreams, and well-being by simply touching you. It's a dangerous ability, which is why everyone wears gloves and curse working is illegal, and those who do possess the ability are criminals and con artists. Cassel is an outsider in his family of criminals for two reasons: he doesn't possess the ability to work curses, and he killed his friend Lila three years ago and doesn't remember doing it. He's been attempting to fly under the radar at his normal boarding school, but when a particularly vivid dream has him sleepwalking and chasing a mysterious white cat, he begins to question what really happened to Lila, and discovers that his family is hiding something big from him.

White Cat is an excellent book set in a dark, gritty, and imaginative world with many delicious twists and turns. Black is an exceedingly clever writer and will keep readers rapt, wondering where she'll go next and who can be trusted. Cassel is the best sort of narrator: resourceful, sarcastic, and determined, yet he still makes mistakes and sometimes allows his pride to get the best of him. He also is fascinating in that trust is a large concern for him. He claims he's not like the rest of his family, but yet, like them, he has issues with trusting and feels compelled to lie in order to be self-sufficient--so much so that lying is like a second nature to him. Still, his journey from ignorance to the terrible truth that his family is keeping from him is entertaining and ends up far from where readers would expect.

Black balances everything perfectly--family dynamics, secrets, betrayal, the mystery of Lila's death, Cassel's school and friends, and his feelings of helplessness. Each element of the story is complete and well-developed. And though the truth revealed at the climax of the book is stunning, when looking back readers will see that Black left a good amount of little clues and hints and support Cassel's revelation and convince readers. Everything adds up nicely, and Black's conclusion is frustrating and exciting, and will lead to plenty of drama in book two, which will be very welcome after the very open ending of White Cat.

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More White Cat (Curse Workers, Book... reviews
review by . July 08, 2010
I am a huge fan of Black's, and while I did love this it paled slightly in comparison to her earlier, greater works. The story revolves around Cassel, a young man in a family full of workers who lacks being a worker himself. Workers are much like modern day witches, some with darker powers some with lighter. There are luck workers, death workers, even transformation workers, which is all very interesting to learn about along the way. Because it is unknown by glance who in society is a worker and …
review by . August 03, 2010
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: …
review by . July 19, 2010
Cassel comes from a long line of curse workers--people born with the power to change your memories, emotions, luck, or shape with a single touch from a bare hand. Since curse work is frowned upon, most curse workers are mobsters and con artists. Cassel's family is no different, and even though Cassel isn't a curse worker like the rest of his family, he was raised with the con. It's almost a way of life. But everything changes when Cassel starts to have sleepwalking nightmares of a strange white …
review by . April 25, 2010
Review courtesy of [...].    What's a guy to do when he's the only member of a rare family of curse workers who can't work a curse to save his life? Take after his incarcerated mother of course: block out the past and learn to con everyone he meets, even himself.     "I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air."-Opening line from WHITE CAT    WHITE CAT is written from the perspective …
About the reviewer
Tirzah Price ()
Ranked #276
I have a blog called The Compulsive Reader on which I review Young Adult novels, interview authors, post book trailers, and hold contests. I'm interested in anything YA book related!
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Grade 9 Up—Cassel, 17, is an anomaly as the only untalented one in a family of curse workers. While his mother, grandfather, and brothers make their living by illegally performing death curses, manipulating memories, and casting emotion charms, Cassel relies on his quick wit and con-artist skills to convince his private-school classmates that he's normal, despite bouts of sleepwalking and patchy memories of standing over a murdered friend named Lila. Nightmares about a white cat that resembles Lila, his family's ties to organized crime, and evidence of a mysterious plot against him threaten to pull Cassel into the world he's fought hard to resist. Black has written a dark coming-of-age tale with a likable hero. Teens will empathize with Cassel's desire to fit in and his occasional clashes with his family while rooting for him to unravel the conspiracy. Though readers will enjoy the fast-paced plot, there are points, particularly in the last few chapters, where the action is confusing and clarity appears sacrificed for expediency. Some secondary characters, such as Cassel's grandfather and friend Sam, are three-dimensional, while others, including his brothers and Lila, are less well realized. Despite these minor flaws,White Catwill appeal to readers who grew up on Holly Black's "Spiderwick Chronicles" (S & S) and are ready for something edgier.—Leah J. Sparks, formerly at Bowie Public Library, MD
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ISBN-10: 1416963960
ISBN-13: 978-1416963967
Author: Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
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