Tuesday, May 11, 2010

White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black

Summary/Image from Publisher website:

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.

When I was younger I read Holly Black's The Spiderwick Chronicles and absolutely loved them, so when the time began when I read YA novels, I couldn't wait to read her A Modern Faery's Tale series. Unfortunately I could never got into the first one, so as you can probably guess I was hesitant to read White Cat when I first heard of it, especially after hearing a lot of mixed reviews about it. Though when it ended up in my hands, I decided to put the negative things I heard about it aside and just see for myself what it was like. I mean it did look pretty great!

And while White Cat definitely was a lot better then I expected, I did have some problems with different aspects of it. 

One part I did enjoy was the whole premise behind White Cat. The idea of Curse workers was fascinating and something that I was always eager to learn more about. Since from the different kinds to where it got it's beginning to the political tension surrounding it, it always provided a new aspect to have me, as the reader, intertwined in the world of White Cat. At the same time, though, I felt there wasn't nearly enough explained about the whole idea and that bothered me in a way that brought down my overall enjoyment of this novel.

The characters were okay, not my favorite nor my least favorite. Cassel was someone who I could never personally find a connection to, but I can still see some readers relating to him in the way he always felt like the black sheep of his family. I liked his two friends- Sam and Dani- and Lila because they were somewhat fierce; sadly they were never fully developed, as were most of the characters in this book.

The plot always had different questions running through your mind. Such as 'Was Lila still alive' to 'Was Cassel more than he thought he was' to 'Would Cassel ever find a way to smart out the so-called villains in this story', and because of that, always had me flipping through the pages, eager to find out what was going to happen next. But after a while, I had the whole plot basically figured out because of predictability it had, which yet again brought down my enjoyment of the book. And while mentioning this, I often felt that Black's writing was somewhat choppy, always jumping from one scene to the next with no real transition.

As you can probably tell by now, I found a lot of different flaws within White Cat, though at the same time I did enjoy it in a way that will have me reading the next addition. Since in essence it's a good in between read that while has huge flaws, continues to have you entertained for the most part with some of the better aspects of it. And who knows, the next one could end up amazing me to no end.

Grade: C

White Cat is now out!

Source: Around The World Tours

Book Trailer:


  1. Wait, I don't get the title a bit. So, there are these Curse Workers, that's the series? Then White Cat is the first book?

  2. Great review Lauren, I've heard some mixed reviews for this book and I think yours can be included in that lot but I'm still hoping that this one peeks my interest, thanks for the heads up!

  3. Great review, though I really adored Tithe, so I'll probably end up picking up a copy of this. Black's style is very 'Do-or-Die' in terms of garnering fans. A friend of mine hates her stuff with a passion, but I always enjoy the pacing and the characters. Good to know that I may be less than thrilled with this new installment in her work. :)

  4. This is a very interesting review Lauren. I've been hearing mixed things about White Cat, though most people have said they'll still read the next one. I'm looking forward to seeing what I think!


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