White Cat by Holly Black
Release Date – May 4, 2010
Publisher – Simon and Schuster
Pages - 310
My Rating- 9/10
Here is the GoodReads synopsis -
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.
This was the first novel by Holly Black that I had read. I found her writing style to be easy to read, and she has great pacing. I was immediately immersed into her story and the world she created
Cassel was my favourite part of the story. He’s the likeable bad boy that you can’t help but root for. He’s flawed but you want to forgive him. It can sometimes go very wrong when a female author tries to write from the male point of view, however Holly Black get its oh so right. It may be that I have a soft spot for the bad boy but Cassel was mesmerizing, charming and interesting. I found myself feeling angry on his behalf at how much he had been lied to. I am not ashamed to admit that I would most likely be conned by him.
The other characters in the book that I liked were his friends Sam and Daneca. They helped show a softer side of Cassel and show that he was capable of having a real friendship with someone. I found his brothers interesting and loved reading about them (even if they are not characters I “liked”).
The fact that the story deals with cons, secrets and people who can take your memories away often results in twists, reveals and surprises. I found myself thinking I had things figured out only to be proven wrong a little later. Once you understand the world the author has created some of the twists are easy to figure out, but there were also a few nice surprises.
As curse work is illegal a majority of what happens in the novel takes place in the “underground”. The story has a very “mobster” feel to it. It’s dark and gritty. A lot of the characters are flawed and this makes the book even better. Some people may have issues with the characters as some of them have very little redeeming qualities but this somehow made it work for me. The type of environment the story takes place in would absolutely have these people inhabiting it.
The ending of the story left me wanting more. I am now itching to get my hands on Red Glove and may have to run to the bookstore and grab it. I am hoping to see more of Cassel’s mother as she seems like someone I am going to love to hate.
If you are fan of complex, well developed plots and characters I think you will enjoy this novel