White Cat (Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black (2010)
YA Fiction | Fantasy | Crime & Mystery
“Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.
But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.”
pooled ink Review:
Surprisingly, and I mean very surprisingly, this book was just “okay” for me. Seriously the description, the characters, the magic, the criminal grit, the entire concept of this book is right up my alley and yet for some reason by the time I actually got around to reading it I found it difficult to lose myself.
My favorite books are ones that can transport me into the very story, where I lose all sense of time and place in the real world. Good books are ones that can submerge me into their world for only moments of time but I am still reluctant to put the book down. Okay books are ones that cast only a weak spell, powerful enough for me to enjoy the ride but not irresistible enough to keep me from setting it down mid-paragraph to grab a snack or run some errands.
As awesome as this whole book’s concept is for me it felt only “okay.”
No clue why. I really don’t want to dissuade anyone from giving this book a chance and I know plenty of people who absolutely love it. But for whatever reason this book couldn’t work its magic on me. I was entertained and impressed but not overwhelmed or enchanted.
The protagonist, Cassel Sharpe, is a likeable character. He manages to be someone we like, we admire, we fear, we pity, we root for, and we shy away from. As we get to know more about Cassel, Cassel begins to find out more about himself and that includes unearthing some seriously dark secrets about his life.
That’s something this book did really well. It said it was going to be about big crime families (so basically the Mob but with magic) and it took that goal seriously. The big crime families have both honorable intentions and very very dishonorable intentions. Black didn’t try and defend nor defame them. The fact of the matter is that there are good people and bad people and both kinds fill these pages. The criminals in this book don’t go soft just because they’re in a YA Fiction novel. I liked that though. It made it seem more plausible.
There were plenty of interesting characters, twists, and revelations. The writing was well done, the plot constantly developed and transformed keeping the story on its toes, and the book’s concept was really quite imaginative.
Really the only thing keeping me from raving about the book and giving it more stars is the fact that for whatever unfathomable reason it didn’t connect with me. It’s weird how certain books can reach some but not others. It drives me crazy when a friend isn’t head-over-heels for a book that has swept me off my feet. But it happens and I guess now it’s my turn. So no, this book didn’t knock my socks off, stop my breathing, or make me forget about mealtimes. Regardless, I’d still recommend it to anyone interested in stories of gangs and fantasy.
White Cat is gritty novel that weaves between crime, mystery, magic, murder, and mayhem. Flicking its thin tail amongst the players spinning its web tighter and tighter until with a twitch of its whiskers a bomb goes off propelling the story into an irreversible path. Real, impossible, but always the teeniest bit hopeful, this book is sure to intrigue.
Purchase here: White Cat
Meet Holly Black!
Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, the Magisterium series (with Cassandra Clare), The Darkest Part of the Forest, and her new series which begins with The Cruel Prince in January 2018.
She has been a a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award, the Mythopoeic Award and a Newbery Honor. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door.