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

Compelling and Rich YA Urban Fantasy...

  • Aug 3, 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: 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.

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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 . 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 . June 07, 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 …
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 …
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Rachel ()
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Book reviewer, reader, artist and overall paranormal junkee. Also known as Parajunkee and owner of parajunkee.com     
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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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