Emma's Reviews > White Cat

White Cat by Holly Black
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Mar 18, 2010

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Read in April, 2010

Hands can become dangerous weapons with the right training. But what if the lightest touch was enough? What if a finger placed on bare skin could change a person's luck? What if it could make a person fall in love? What if it could transform them? What if it could steal a memory? What if a single, slight touch was enough to kill?

In a world where curse magic is real a bare hand is more dangerous than any weapon.

Working is illegal, of course, but that doesn't make it go away. Instead, the curse workers are just driven underground, tied to crime families and working from the shadows to protect themselves--or maybe everyone else.

Cassel Sharpe comes from a long line of con men, gangsters and workers. Except for Cassel. He might know the art of the con better than most, but he isn't a worker. He is a killer. He killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago. He loved her, but he killed her anyway.

Cassel thought Wallingford Prep--a normal school away from his criminal family--would be a place where he could become the person he wanted to be, or at least convince everyone else he was the person he wanted to be. That is until the white cat shows up.

It might want to tell him something. Or kill him. Maybe both.*

As Cassel tries to unravel the white cat's intentions the facade of his normal life starts to crumble and nothing is what he expected. Cassel knows that being a con artist means thinking that you're smarter than everyone else and that you've thought of everything. But what happens when it starts to seem like you're the one being conned? That you can get away with anything. That you can con anyone. What do you do when it looks like you're the one getting conned?

Cassel's about to get even in White Cat (2010) by Holly Black.

White Cat is a total mind bender. Part mystery, part con game, part suspense, Holly Black has created a world like no other. The plot is filled with twists and unexpected turns but enough structure that readers will be able to keep ahead of (some) of the curves.

The story, much like its narrator Cassel, is simultaneously gritty and charming. Bare hands are simultaneously menacing and erotic. And lest being a worker seem too easy, every curse carries a blowback that turns on the worker itself, sometimes with devastating results. White Cat is a complex book that will likely leave readers with mixed feelings. Many of the characters, even the protagonists, are not nice people. Much of the ultimate resolution is messy. But life is not always nice nor neat, which is why White Cat is such a startlingly real fantasy that will leave readers wanting more.**

View the excellent trailer here: http://www.thecurseworkers.com/

*I greatly appreciate this book supporting my personal opinion that cats are scary. I also madly love the cover. Edgy, sinister, and fabulous.

**Always a good thing for the first book in a trilogy. There is no official date for the second book yet, but I can confirm from Holly Black's livejournal and Sarah Rees Brennan's twitter that the second book will be called Red Glove. Watch for it.***

***Any Cassandra Clare fans should also watch for a quick reference to Jace in this book ;)

Possible Pairings: What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Money Wanders by Eric Dezenhall, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Leverage (television series), White Collar (television series)
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Quotes Emma Liked

Holly Black
“He's the kind of liar who totally forgets what he told you the last time, but he believes every single lie with such conviction that sometimes he can convince you of it.”
Holly Black, White Cat

Holly Black
“It feels like the whole world has turned upside down. There aren't any more rules.

Hey,' I say to Sam, because if the world's gone crazy, then I guess I can do whatever I want. "Guess what? I'm a worker.”
Holly Black, White Cat

Holly Black
“We are, largely, who we remember ourselves to be. That's why habits are so hard to break. If we know ourselves to be liars, we expect not to tell the truth. If we think of ourselves as honest, we try harder.”
Holly Black, White Cat

Holly Black
“I drive him to school, then I break back into Barron's house. I'm the best kind of thief, the kind that leaves behind items equal in value to those he's stolen.

Then I go home and shave until my skin is as slick as any slickster's.”
Holly Black, White Cat

Holly Black
“Yesterday when we went over the plan again and again, I never thought about Grandad showing up. Because I'm an idiot, basically--an idiot with poor planning skills. Of course he's here. Where else would he be?

Seriously, what else could go wrong?”
Holly Black, White Cat

Holly Black
“The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.”
Holly Black, White Cat

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