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Sunday, July 31, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black (REVIEW)

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 took me a good 100 pages to get into this book. Now, mobster-like stories aren't exactly my thing, but after hearing so many good things about the TITHE series, I had to give this book a shot. I could tell immediately that the writing was great. It is told in the present tense with great description and detail. The plot just didn't excite me much. I pushed this book to the side several times but then I told my self, "Hey, you have to read this." So I pushed through the rough parts and was pleasantly surprised.

This book really picks up and gets exciting towards the middle. By that point all the questions you have about 'workers' are pretty much answered. This book has so many unexpected twists. Right when you think that you know what is going on, what do you know, you really don't know what is going on. There are betrayals and deceit beyond what anybody could even fathom.

This book doesn't have a tremendous amount of romance but it has just the right amount to not subtract from the action and make the romance-lovers like myself pleased.

Holly Black obviously knows how to weave clever worlds and words that are so natural they could be real. There are a lot of instances, I've discovered, where withholding information from the reader does not work when it comes to suspense, but Holly Black does an excellent job with that. I found myself munching on my nails and wondering how in the world Cassel was going to get him out of certain situations. Cassel does some things that don't seem to make sense at the time, but then are later explained and I thought, "Ahhh. Clever boy."

I ended up staying up until 3 AM finishing this gripping tale and longing for the sequel.

Reasons I liked it:

  • The Premise. Holly Black has created a world where you cannot trust anybody, really, not even yourself. A world where it is easy to doubt who you really are as a person even when you think you know yourself inside and out. A world where not even your memories are your own. A world where absolutely nothing is as it seems. 
  • The protagonist. I've always loved male protagonists because they have a darker and seemingly more realistic outlook on life. Cassel can't ever seem to keep his mouth closed even when he knows he needs to. He's clever and determined. He is a character very easy to sympathize with when you discover what he thinks he's done, what he really has done, and what he is going to do. I felt myself aching for the boy every step of the way.
  • The cons. They were clever, necessary, and amusing.
  • The twists. Need I say more?

My Rating:

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on my blog! I love to hear from my readers, whether they agree or disagree with my opinion :) I do my best to get back to every commenter, though I am not always successful. Heh...Anyway, I look forward to hearing what you have to say! :D

~ Gabbi