6.17.2013

Flash Reviews: White Cat//Red Glove

Clever as the devil,
and twice as pretty.


White Cat by Holly Black
Publishing Date: May 4, 2010
Publisher: McElderry
# of pages: 320
Genre: Urban Fantasy

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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 criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, 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.
Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself 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. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Even with several reads the world building in this book still holds up and is still some of the best I've ever read. What's really nice about White Cat is that it introduces its world and characters without bogging you down with meaningless piles of text block. It's all just as cleverly introduced as the main character, Cassel. It doesn't take long to pick up the syntax of the world or how it works, easily sucking you in while astounding you with all the backdoors Cassel manages to find and/or create.
The ending was wrapped up way too quickly and things happened a little too conveniently for my taste, feeling like Holly Black was just running out of time and needed to just quickly wrap things up. That's a lot what it felt like, the story just ran out of time.
A good read if you want something for a one-sit read and feel clever enough to untangle shady characters with shady motivations.

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Changing is what people do
when they have no options left.

Red Glove by Holly Black

Publishing Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: McElderry
# of pages: 325
Genre: Urban Fantasy


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 criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn't got magic, 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.
Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself 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. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

With how much I enjoyed the first, I was really looking forward to this. But like anything else, the hype you set up for yourself usually makes it end in disappointment. There was a strong focus on romance this time around with Lila re-entering the picture but alas! She has been worked so the love is not real. It was really bothersome to see the romance get in the way of world and plot development. This time around, the curse workers world focuses a lot more on rights with riots in the streets and protest. That to me was so much more interesting than the whole Cassel/Lila fiasco. Mostly because at the end of it all, I have no idea where Lila stands. I don't know if she actually cares for Cassel, if she actually did care for him, if she really wants to be a part of her father's "business." Ambiguity abound. The world that Holly Black has crafted was what drew me in the first place; the world is a character of its own and it got shoved aside from all the ~drama~. 
Still, Cassel remains to be as crafty as always, even if his loyalty does change in the book. His narrative remains to be enjoyable. How this all gets wrapped up? I have no idea! I think the plot is starting to really unwind and faces the threat of going nowhere in a world that offers so much.

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And that's it for these reviews. I'll probably get around to finishing the third and last book in this series this summer. If you guys have read it, let me know how it is! And leave me any thoughts you have on these two books. 

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