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

like the movie Momento meets Maggie Stiefvater's Ballad.

  • Apr 25, 2010
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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 of seventeen year old Cassel, a compelling protagonist, full of doubt, self-loathing, and lots of bravado--not to mention a wicked skill set when it comes to working a con. Whether running a gambling pool at school, or contriving elaborate false personas to rescue a friend, Cassel is more comfortable creating artful lies than he is with reality.

In addition to a strong lead voice, the present tense of the writing is extremely effective and creates a nice contrast to the past tense passages when Cassel is remembering pieces from his life. The mystery of what exactly happened to Cassel is sometimes predictable, but there are enough surprises that I was thoroughly entertained by WHITE CAT.

The world building in WHITE CAT is subtle, but no less strong. A very, very few people ( like 1/100 of 1%) are born with the ability to work magic, but at a steep price. For every curse worked, there is a blowback on the Worker. Death workers will loss fingers-or worse-when they touch a person with death. Memory workers loose chunks of their own memories when they remove the memories of someone else. There are also workers of emotions, luck, and even dreams.

The best way I can think to describe WHITE CAT is that it's like the movie Momento meets Maggie Stiefvater's Ballad. And that's high praise in my book. Red Glove (Curse Workers, book 2) does not yet have a release date, but I'll be keeping an ear out. This looks to be the start of an excellent new series--don't miss it.

Sexual Content: (YA titles receive a more thorough breakdown)Kissing. A sense of mild sensuality. References to sex. Ritualistic body mutilation.

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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 . 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 …
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Abigail ()
Ranked #585
I am a 20-something book lover with an obsession for all things urban fantasy. I cut my teeth on the paranormal genre withBuffyandTwilightbefore discoveringPatricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews. Suffice … more
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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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