Kater Cheek's Reviews > White Cat

White Cat by Holly Black
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Jun 03, 10

Read in June, 2010

I meant to go to bed early last night, really, but I'd started reading White Cat and wanted to find out how it ended. I've read Black's Faerie series, and the Spiderwick Chronicles, and enjoyed them, but I think this is her strongest work so far.

The story deals with Cassel Sharpe, the only non-magic-working person in a family of "workers" who can curse people with the touch of their bare hand. It's urban fantasy, in that the world is much like ours, with a few minor changes. The existence of these "workers" has made some countries create draconian laws outlawing them, and in other places the "workers" have ascended to entrenched places of power. In Cassel's America, they're illegal, so those with worker power are also involved with crime.

The novel begins when Cassel finds himself dangling from the roof of his dorm room, having somehow sleepwalked his way up there. He keeps dreaming bizarre, strange dreams about a white cat. In some novels, these bizarre dreams would have been completely metaphorical and symbolic in a way it would take an entire English class to decipher, but in WHITE CAT, all the elements eventually make sense.

Because Cassel's family are all con artists, this novel is at one level a heist story. I love heist stories and would have been content with that, but since Black also introduces memory curses, it's also a subtle exploration of guilt and culpability. WHITE CAT has a good story, with interesting and complex characters, and a logically-structured and well built world. I am already looking forward to the next one, RED GLOVE, and will probably pre-order it. But in the mean time, I may actually do something I almost never do.

I might read it again.
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