White Cat by Holly Black

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Title: White Cat (Curse Workers #1)
Author: Holly Black
Release Date: February 8, 2011 (paperback, first published in hardcover May 4, 2010)
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 320
Source: Bought

Overall: 4.5 Stars

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. 

My Thoughts:
The first thought that popped into my mind when I finished reading White Cat was, "Why didn't I read this sooner?" Because oh my, this novel blew me away with how awesome it was! Now before I start raving, I'm going to point something out. I wasn't a huge fan of Holly's Modern Faerie Tales trilogy so I went into reading White Cat not expecting too much in case I got my hopes up. You'll have to imagine my warm surprise then when I found myself immensely enjoying every single page! 

In a family of curse workers, people who have the power to change your luck, memories and more with a single touch of the hand, Cassel has always been an outsider with his lack of magical skills. He's a pretty normal guy unless you count the fact that his family is made up of criminals, he's pretty good at conning people when he wants to... and oh, he murdered his best friend Lila when he was fourteen years old and his older brothers had to cover it up. Normal, right? But when Cassel begins to have dreams about a white cat and his brothers act like they're keeping something from him, Cassel suspects there's a larger game being played and it all leads back to the night Lila died...

While I was reading White Cat, I might have developed a crush on Cassel. He's part bad boy, not afraid to break the rules when he needs to... but he's also got his heart in the right place. He's still grieving about Lila and it torments him that he still can't remember exactly how she came to die by hands. His memories of her death are filled with holes, so uncovering them alongside Cassel in the novel left me eager for answers. He really doesn't give himself enough credit though!

I absolutely loved the originality of Holly Black's storytelling in this novel. It's unique, fresh, a bit dark... and easily manages to stand out completely on its own! The combination of mystery and thrills to be found mixed with a bit of magic worked so well and left me riveted as I tried learn more and more about this world of curse workers. Not to mention, I'm a bit awed as well by the intricacies of the plot-line and how Holly manages to leave you breadcrumbs along the way so that you can piece details of Cassel's past together with ending results that will leave you surprised! 

White Cat was an absolute joy to read... and missing out on reading it would have been a mistake! It left me actively engaged, continuously wondering which characters were to be trusted and which were lying through their teeth as Cassel sought to learn answers. The added touch of a world with crime families exploiting the abilities of curse workers simply fueled the intrigue. So while I would say that White Cat is Holly Black's best novel yet... I have a feeling that Red Glove, the second novel, is going to be even better! (And it's a good thing it's now out in stores too!)

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  1. Oh I know wasn't White Cat fabulous?? I loved how Holly came up with such intricate jobs and it all came together so smoothly. Can't wait to see what Cassel gets himself into next :P

  2. I started reading this one last month or so, but I just couldn't get into it. I know a lot of people love it, so I'm sure it's a good book... I'll probably try picking it up again sometime in the future.

  3. I'm so glad you liked it! I agree, her storytelling is just amazing. With all her scheming, she'd probably do well as a con artist herself ;) I loved how easily I could relate to Cassel, which doesn't happen with male characters that often for me.
    Red Glove is amazing as well, you should go read it :)

  4. Totally just got this from the Library!! So glad you liked it, hope I like it that much too. I've never really read any Holly Black yet, so I'm pretty excited to check it out :)

  5. It's about time you picked up White Cat!! It's simply amazing. Incredible world and characters. Cassel, oh Cassel. I have a major crush on him. And he only gets better in Red Glove! I reviewed Red Glove on Monday. It was just as good as White Cat! Holly Black has outdone herself. GO READ RED GLOVE!

  6. I felt the same way as you. I wasn't blown away with the Modern Faerie Tales books so wasn't all that interested in reading White Cat.Now I love this series. Wait till you read Red Glove its even better.

  7. I loved White Cat. Just finished reading Red Glove last night!

  8. *Sigh I really need to read this series ASAP!!!! Gosh I really need to catch up on my reading as soon as finals are over with! Thank you so much for your honest review!! I cannot wait to pick this one up!

  9. Don't worry, I'll be reading Red Glove as soon as I can for sure!! :)

    Ashley- If you can give White Catt as second chance, do it! I was kind of confused in the beginning but things got clearer as I went along so then I was like, "Ohhhhh! I get it now!" lol

    Lucy- I know what you mean about finals! I'm only reading what I really have to and then I'm focusing on my exams... can't wait for school to be over with so I can read!

  10. Liz, I also developed a crush on Cassal. How could you not? lol I always fall for the bad guys that you just know have a good heart. The beginning was super confusing and that left me completely frustrated at first. However, once I broke through the clouds, the rest of the novel was all sun – it was that good!

    The only other Holly Black I've read was her Poison Eaters short stories. I'm only half way through and I had to stop because I was not feeling them. I'm going to finish them and hopefully they will pick up.

    Red Glove started off amazing, so I'm really excited to finish it :) Great review!!


  11. I loved this one too, it was great. I had a bit of a Cassel crush myself, for all the same reasons. I loved that he wasn't afraid to break the rules but it was always for the right reasons - he always had his heart in the right place.

    Great read.
    Megan @ Read It, See It