Thursday, August 25, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black {Curse Workers}

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.

Title: White Cat {Curse Workers, book 1}
Author: Holly Black
Publication: 4th May 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
310 pages
This book is the first of a trilogy.

My review

White Cat is the first instalment of a trilogy. It offers us a pleasant read, and it's a rather innovative book. The universe created by Holly Black is quite dark. In her world, which looks a lot like ours, some people want to use magic when some others don't and it is mainly governed by the crime. In the beginning I had a few difficulties to relate with Cassel and sympathize with him, but it didn't last and after a few pages I really enjoyed him and following his discoveries.

The narration is told from the point of view of Cassel, a young boy. It was really interesting to have the point of view of a boy, for once and it changes a little. White Cat doesn't focus on the romance at all, even if there is a tiny pinch, it's really not the main point of the story. The plot focuses on the atmosphere of this world and its discovery by the reader. I totally loved the mythology of this series, it was utterly interesting. Those who get the magic are not always good, on the contrary. Each wizard has a specialty, and they only need their hands, some specialties are more common than others and this gift is quite rare, and not widespread in the population.

The plot is interesting to follow, although it's at times a little too predictable. I really loved the atmosphere and the universe set up by Holly Black. Her writing is pleasant, smooth and it's sometimes tinged with a little humor, especially in the dialogues. Cassel's story is relatively dark and touching. I especially liked the mythology set up by the author. I think it's one of the big strengths of the story. Indeed, I found this totally original, uncommon and enthralling.

The plot is fairly fast-paced. It took me a few pages to fully dive into the world of White Cat, but after these few pages to get used to the atmosphere I was totally hooked and I couldn't put it down. It's totally different from the other young-adult novels that are released those days. The universe is quite dark, the characters are unusual and less wise and the mythology is totally uncommon.

To sum up, I totally enjoyed reading this novel and I especially liked the atmosphere. Even if I struggled a bit at the beginning to relate to Cassel, I particularly enjoyed the second half of the plot. Holly Black's writing is efficient, smooth and she manages to include her reader all along. Finally, White Cat ends on a cliffhanger and a final twist. So I think the sequel will be full of surprises and life won't be easier for our young hero. I'm now really looking forward to reading Red Glove.

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