Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Book Review: White Cat

White Cat (Curse Workers, book 1) by Holly Black.

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.

Just one touch...  White Cat is a fantastic work of urban fantasy reminiscent of the thought provoking science fiction novels of masters such as Philip K. Dick.  Holly Black has created an intriguing world that is frightening and utterly believable.  Those born with the power to work a curse can alter a person's life with the touch of their hand, which is why the government has banned worker activity and citizens wear gloves in public.  The government ban on working curses has created a large and powerful criminal underground of black market worker activity.  Cassel is born into a worker family with crime family connections and grew up learning the art of the con.  His attempts to live a normal life are continually undermined by his family and the ever present discrimination against those with worker ties.  When Cassel realizes that something is terribly wrong, who will he turn to?  Who can he trust?  A fabulous beginning to the Curse Workers urban fantasy series.  One of the most suspenseful, thought provoking books of 2010.

I highly recommend White Cat (Curse Workers, book 1) to readers of  paranormal suspense, science fiction, mystery, crime drama, and especially to fans of urban fantasy.  Though the main character is young, the gritty realism of this book may not be suitable for some readers of young adult fiction.

Source: This book was purchased by me for review.

White Cat on Amazon.
White Cat on Goodreads.


  1. This is one series that I find totally unique and a great read. I can't wait to read the second one. Nice review :)

  2. This is one of those books that I don't know if I would like or not. A lot of people love it and Holly Black, but I don't know...Your review is great, though, so I may just have to go pick up a copy. :-)

  3. I didn't really like this book because of the plot, but I'm glad you enjoyed reading it! :)

  4. Hi E.J.
    Nice review. Thanks for posting it.
    I was thinking of you this weekend. I attended the New England Crime Bake in Dedham, Mass and Charlaine Harris was the guest of honor.
    She was discussing her vampire books and the HBO series that is based on her books.