Title: White Cat
Author: Holly Black
Series: Curse Workers #1
Series: Curse Workers #1
Publication Date: 4th May 2010
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
The Curse Worker trilogy has just recently finished with the April release of the final instalment, Black Heart. I had seen many people say great things about the series but it was just one of those that I never got round to reading.
White Cat was definitely not what I expected, reading the blurb or hearing summaries using the word ‘magic’ does not really capture what this story is about, it’s more to do with curses, ones that can potentially back fire. What was really interesting was how it changed society – to perform curse work you have to touch someone with your bare hands and therefore everyone goes around wearing gloves and it’s seen as taboo to have bare hands – that was a really interesting concept. I found it to be an incredibly new take on magic in general, I liked that they couldn’t just get away with doing these evil things without having something happen to them in return – Karmic retribution if you will.
I also really loved that it’s set in our world but with an alternative history – everything is the same as our world but with curse workers, all the historical events happened such as the Wall Street Crash in 1929 but also the ban on curse working; which as a history nerd I found to be a really cool idea. I also loved that it’s kind of has a mafia/ old school gangster feel going on with families and initiations and big parties and also organized crime and killings – it was fascinating and not something I’ve ever read before.
However it took quite some time to get into White Cat, I can’t explain why but it wasn’t one of those books that I had to devour all in one sitting. I think the story took quite some time to develop and to pick up speed. I loved the ending, the twist was great and I did not expect it! 100 points to Holly Black for being completely sneaky. I loved the double – crossing kind of aspect of the plot and how you don’t really know whose on which side.
As for the characters I loved all the ‘evil’ ones! It’s so very rare in YA that you get believable ‘villains’ that have done legitimately bad things, instead of nasty blonde popular girls saying horrible things it was murder, so I really loved all the characters that were involved in the darker side of the family and all of it’s dodgy dealings. Cassel seemed very believable I liked how he was struggling to be an outsider, how he learnt about himself throughout the story and realised that he wasn’t actually who he thought he was in more ways than one. My favourite discovery was that he thought he was an amazing con – artist and liar and I found it really intriguing to see him trying to discover if he truly was and whether he wanted to be. Also he kind of wrestled with the idea of what was right and wrong about that, especially since from a young age – lying and stealing and all things that are traditionally seen as morally corrupt were the norm to him.
I liked White Cat and would definitely recommend it to anyone who, like me, hasn’t gotten around to reading it - it is a truly unique read. I’m definitely going to give Red Glove, the second in the trilogy, a shot as soon as I can get my hands on it.