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The extraordinary new adult fantasy of magic in our world and the price we pay for it by the author of THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES.

Cassel is cursed. Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker.

Cassel's family are one of the big five crime families in America. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His granddad has been driven to drink, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic.

But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrfying and that's the truth.

The White Cat is a stunning novel of a world changed by magic. In this world only 1% of the population can work magic but they have the power of nightmares.

310 pages, Hardcover

First published May 4, 2010

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About the author

Holly Black

175 books92.2k followers
Holly Black is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over thirty fantasy novels for kids and teens. She has been a finalist for an Eisner Award and the Lodestar Award, and the recipient of the Mythopoeic Award, a Nebula, and a Newbery Honor. Her books have been translated into 32 languages worldwide and adapted for film. She currently lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret library.

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5 stars
12,667 (26%)
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18,402 (38%)
3 stars
11,630 (24%)
2 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 5,263 reviews
Profile Image for Maja (The Nocturnal Library).
1,013 reviews1,917 followers
September 2, 2011
4.5 stars
Holly Black, where have you been my whole life?

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.

But what happens when you are forced to doubt every single memory that makes you who you are?!

This book has definitely made it to my ‘top ten young adult books’ list. It came at the right time and it was just what I needed: angst-free and fun.

Let’s start with the main character, Cassel (whom I keep calling Vincent for obvious reasons). I love it when female authors succeed in creating a strong male voice, a thing that doesn’t happen often enough. Lish McBride did it in Hold Me Closer, Necromancer. Holly Black did it with Cassel. I really felt like I was inside a boy’s head. That’s not to say that Cassel didn’t have emotional moments and uncertainties, of course he did, they were just handled differently. In creating this character, Black followed all the usual conventions, but in a way that was new and refreshing. For example, I just want to be normal is a very common problem for YA protagonists and I usually find it eyeroll-inducing. With Cassel it felt genuine, probably because he didn’t whine about it, but instead acted in such a way that made him look more like other people his age. The desire was present in all his decisions – from the school he chose to attended to the girl he used to date.

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers, people with magical ability (only they call it talent, not magic) to influence other people using minimal skin-to-skin contact. His mother is an Emotion worker currently in jail for working some very rich guy into falling in love with her, his grandfather can literally kill people with a single touch and his two older brothers are extremely talented as well. Cassel is the only one without a real talent, a fact he makes up for by being an excellent con artist and an occasional thief – both skills that are highly admired in his family.

White Cat kept me interested from start to finish. I could read this type of stories for the rest of my life without getting bored. It’s always interesting when your narrator can’t be sure of his own memories or anything else for that matter, but when you have all that in first person, it’s especially confusing and so much fun!

Favorite quote:
I consider kissing her right there on the dirty couch, but some instinct of self-preservation stops me. Once someone’s hurt you, it’s harder to relax around them, harder to think of them as safe to love. But it doesn’t stop you from wanting them. Sometimes I actually think it makes the wanting worse.

The fascinating and detailed world Holly Black created left me wanting more! I can’t wait to get my hands on Red Glove audio, narrated by Jesse Eisenberg.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,990 reviews298k followers
March 30, 2012

4.5 stars

I really, really enjoyed pretty much everything about this book. An exciting mystery, memorable characters and a touch of magic... I can't express how excited I am about reading Red Glove as soon as possible.

Holly Black is an author that never really did anything for me before. I gave up on Tithe after reading just one chapter, and her Spiderwick Chronicles weren't bad children's books but they didn't really stand out from the masses either. White Cat was completely different, I was addicted from chapter one. I loved Cassel - the protagonist - and found his voice believably male but easily relatable for me at the same time. The story is laced with humour from the very first page when we are introduced to our protagonist dangling from a roof in his underwear.

Basically, Cassel comes from a family of curse-workers (those who have various gifts such as memory manipulation, dream manipulation, etc.) and struggles with the burden of being ungifted and, therefore, an outsider even in his own home. Oh, and he happened to murder his best friend three years ago. Despite this, he has managed to build up some semblance of a normal life at his boarding school; well, that is, until the dreams about the white cat start occurring. A white cat that seems to want to tell him something. And then his brothers start acting strange and it becomes more and more obvious that secrets are being kept and Cassel is being lied to.

There's all sorts going off and the story is never boring, and every time the mystery appears to be solved, something else will happen. This is one of those books with many little mysteries to solve so even the most astute reader will find it difficult not to be surprised. I thought the whole novel worked very well and I will be starting Red Glove with a keen interest in what will happen to Cassel next. I'm only giving it 4.5 stars because this series has just begun but it's definitely one of my favourite books of the year.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 10, 2020

Curse workers - hated, feared, beloved.

Some can make you forget your own name. Others can kill you with a single touch. Rarest of all - some can even transform you into something entirely different.

But don't forget, their powers are a curse.

They experience a backlash with every use of their powers. If a luck worker gives you good fortune, they will experience a pleasant kickback. If they give too much luck, they may spend forever in a blissed out state.

The backlash can be unpredictable: if a death worker kills you, part of them will die - a tooth, or a finger, or maybe even their heart. Most curse workers are tied to the black market or other criminal enterprises. Cassel's family is in the thick of it.
Clever as the devil and twice as pretty
Cassel comes from a long line of curse workers and criminals. He's the only one from his family without powers but he does his best to keep up with the family business - whether it be running an illegal betting ring in his high school or scamming tourists with trinkets.
I can't trust the people I care about not to hurt me. And I'm not sure I can trust myself not to hurt them, either.
Oh, and he killed best friend Lila (daughter of a mob boss) three years ago. He doesn't know how, or why, or what could've triggered him to do that. He only remembers that he can't remember.

Could he have really killed Lila? And if not him, who?
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.
The only issue I had with this book was that the world was more fleshed out than the characters. I craved more details on the curse workers and all their power rather than the (somewhat) plodding plot.

Audiobook Comments
Whoa. Jesse Eisenberg narrated this one - it felt like I was listening to a movie. Very well done narration.

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Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
849 reviews3,877 followers
February 15, 2021

Reread 10/30 : Cassel is still the sarcastic little shit I remembered. I have no other option than loving him even more.

"I hate that I love this. I hate that the adrenaline pumping through the roots of my body is filling me with giddy glee. I'm not a good person."

This book was full of charmsSee what I did there?

Charm ⁂1 : I do love me some liar

Beware of Cassel Sharpe, professional liar and Master of the game of make-believe. You're going to love him.

"Being a con artist means thinking that you're smarter than everyone else and that you've thought of everything. That you can get away with anything. That you can con anyone.
I wish I could say that I don't think about the con when I deal with people, but the difference between me and my mother is that I don't con myself."

Charming, deceptive, untrustworthy, sarcastic, selfish : Of course I loved Cassel, what do you think? Since he was fourteen and well, hmm, killed his best friend and first love, Cassel learnt that to survive he has to become a Master of pretending. All the time.

Friendship? Nothing more than an exchange of goods. Who'd want a killer of a friend? Yeah? No hands raised? That's what I thought.

Love? Yeah, sure. A good way to fake normality.

Family? You mean the curse workers who always kept him in the dark and fed him with snippets of affection? Them?

"I'm not good at having friends. I mean, I can make myself useful to people. I can fit in. I get invited to parties and I can sit at any table I want in the cafeteria.
But actually trusting someone when they have nothing to gain from me just doesn't make sense.
All friendships are negotiations of power.”

Don't get fooled, despite the fact that he basically tries to con everyone, we can't avoid seeing the extreme vulnerability that all his tricks can't hide, and then... Then we 're dealing with a charming and hopeless male-lead we can't help but care about.

Charm ⁂2 : Of course I'm lost! And I love it.

What a multi-layered mystery! Each time I thought I finally got it the truth slipped through my fingers. There are many subplots in this story and that's for the best : we never know who Cassel can trust, damn, we don't even know if we can trust Cassel most of the time! Everything can be a con and this makes every decision or action suspect - try to overtake Cassel's shenanigans and you'll see.

"Marks think they can get something for nothing.
Marks think they can get what they don't deserve and could never deserve.
Marks are stupid and pathetic and sad.
Marks forget that whenever something's too good to be true, that's because it's a con."

As for the writing, I have to point that I was pleasantly surprised by Holly Black. Indeed it's my first book from this author and I must admit that I was really wary at first. What a fool I've been! It was a captivating page-turner that never bored me.

Charm ⁂3 : Why can't I be a curse worker, huh? Why?

Never ever forget your gloves, otherwise you are likely to experience one of these delightful experiences :
✔ To find yourself somewhere without any idea how you came
✔ Be changed in a cockroach. Yeah, that sucks.
✔ To start sobbing in remorse for something you didn't even do.
✔♪♫♬ Beware of the music you hear. ♪♫♬ Just sayin'

Charm ⁂4 : Applaud the cat. Just do it. He's got claws.

For more of my reviews, please visit:
Profile Image for Anne.
4,058 reviews69.5k followers
March 27, 2020
I don't even know why I liked this so much.
I kind of guessed most of the twists, but it still so damn delicious that I immediately downloaded BOTH of the next two audiobooks as soon as I finished this one.


And it was read by Jesse Eisenberg who did a really good job of it. I was sort of surprised that I liked his reading of this thing, but I did.
Profile Image for Tatiana.
1,404 reviews11.7k followers
November 9, 2011
As seen on The Readventurer

Well, well, well. Color me surprised. Just when I decided never to read another Holly Black work again (due to our seemingly conflicting ideas about what good writing is), Emily's review of White Cat convinced me to give the author one final try. And, who knew, I really, really liked it. Actually, this book is one of the strongest YA UF novels I've ever read. I am not exactly sure what made Black change her writing style so drastically, but I won't be complaining. Somehow her characters are no longer repulsive and her writing is a lot more polished than before.

As for the story itself, I thought it was fantastic. It is set in an AU America where certain people have magic abilities (they are called "curse workers"). They can manipulate emotions, change memories, bring luck or death. The magic is "worked" through touch. Cassel, the narrator, belongs to a family of curse workers/con artists. He can do cons too, but has no magic abilities. When he finds himself sleepwalking on the roof of his school dorm, haunted by the memories of a dream where a white cat asks for his help, Cassel embarks on a trip to discover mysteries of his past, present and the white cat.

Even though I'd read way too many reviews of White Cat before starting the novel, I still managed to be thoroughly mystified by its plot. I attribute it to the fact that this book has a bit of Memento-esque quality to it, with gradual unraveling of the mysteries tangled up by various cons and curse works. (Or my usual denseness wherever any kind of mystery-solving is involved.)

And can I say Yay for mafia and con artistry? White Cat gave me what All These Things I've Done couldn't - just enough crime, backstabbing and cons to keep me glued to its pages/my iPod.

Can't wait to get my hands on the sequels. Cassel's mom is up to no good. And what will he do about Lila?

I guess the lesson here is Never say never?
Profile Image for Navessa.
Author 11 books7,634 followers
May 19, 2013
Buddy read with Angela and JennyJen

Seeing as how everyone and their mother has pretty much already read and reviewed this book you don’t need a long rehash from me as to what happened. Instead, I think I’ll talk about my reading experience.

This story for me was like being in a fistfight.

First it opens with a scene so intriguing I dub it an insta-hook. It hit me more like a right hook.

Just when I began to really feel bad for the main character it sucker punched me.

Dirty move, I know.

It was okay though, because it pulled the next few punches as the story really began and I learned about the MC, Cassel, and his curse working family. Damn that false sense of security. I was blinded by all the world building and didn’t realize the threat of a beat down was still looming.

And then…and then…it hit me right when I thought we’d finally come to terms with each other.

Oops, wrong type of wham…


At this point the blows started coming fast and furious and it was all I could do to get my hands up to protect myself.

Then at the end it scissor kicked me.

And I went:

Profile Image for Kristalia .
394 reviews615 followers
October 4, 2015
Final rating: 2/5 stars


“The thing is that it’s really hard to stop discrimination when something’s illegal,” the girl says. “I mean, everybody thinks of workers as being criminals. Like, people use the word ‘worker’ to mean
criminals. And, well, if we work a work, even once, we are criminals. So most of us are, because we had to figure it out somehow and that was usually by making something happen.”
“And there are lots of workers who never do anything bad. They go to weddings and hospitals and give people good luck. Or there’s people who work at shelters and they give people hope and make them feel confident and positive. And that word—‘cursing.’ Like all we can do is bad magic. I mean, why would you even want to do the bad stuff? The blowback’s awful. Like, if all a luck worker ever does is make people have good luck, then all he has is good luck too. It doesn’t have to be bad.”
“Magic,” the girl says. “It’s just all magic.”

I don't get whats up with the hype about this book? It definitely sounded promising but...there are lot of buts around. This is a story about a guy[Cassel] who killed his best friend [Lila], and the white cat who is stalking him. Sounds weird but ok......(right?)?

Anyways, the paragraph above explained the status of so called "workers", and i was wondering why the author didn't put it in the beginning in the first place. It just made the story pointlessly confusing at times. Not to mention that lack of fast revealings got the story quite slow, and add to it loooooooong chapters and there you have it. I thought about dropping it in the middle, but i decided to stick till the end (because i can't just drop it before i read it all, not my style xD). So, the last 1/4 was extremely entertaining - actually really awesome >:D, while 3/4 of the book were confusing and quite boring. Which is why i am gave this 2 stars.

Not to mention, first 3/4 of the book were absolutely predictable . I could already connect that:
1. ,
2. ,
3. the brothers were actually hiding the fact that .

I didn't predict though that the brothers Philip and Barron (MAJOR SPOILER) .


Not to mention, i didn't like any of the characters.

Cassel :

Cassel is totally boring guy. I usually love when books are told from first person view but only when it is the guy who is the narrator, but Cassel, Cassel just irritated the hell out of me. I don't think i succeeded in having sympathy for him at all. He is the type of the teenage girls in whose story everybody is keeping secrets and she doesn't know anything about it. Oh, and everyone here are keeping secrets from Cassel, under the "you are not worker so we can't tell you anything".
So.......he is the non-worker in worker family. Check. He doesn't have powers. Check. Boring. Check. Irritating. Check. Not to mention: average. Check.

The white cat:

i can't really say anything about it, except it is an object of horrors. Hahahhaha.


Meet Lila:
Ironically, i was watching anime "K", where there is a girl called Neko, which has strikingly same appearance as Lila from the flashbacks (except for the length of her hair). Cute.
And that is all i am going to say about her. Except, i don't like her so much.

Everyone else:

All of them were annoying me. Except Cassel's mother. She didn't have time to annoy because the whole book she was in Jail. Barron and Philip - i wanted to slaughter them. But as they say, everything for the family.


Characters were very much annoying, and the plot was cofusing and boring at times, but it does have strong ending. Therefore, only the ending was enough for me to not drop this series. I just hope that the second book will be better than White Cat. I really hope so.

>>> My review for Red Glove (Curse Workers, #2) <<<

This review can be found on my blog: infinity-of-time.blogspot.com also known as...

Profile Image for Hilly &#x1f390;.
709 reviews1,324 followers
April 19, 2020
3.5 stars

Your average 2010 YA but with some modern perks. Holly Black was ahead of the game even back then 🤧

This book was surprisingly dark and twisty. I really enjoyed following Cassel around in his search for clues. I didn’t find the world building mindblowing, but it was fun to read about some kind of parallel reality in which everyone wears gloves to protect themselves and others from magic.

My main issue with this book is that for a good 60% not a lot happens. I was almost halfway through and I was considering dnfing it, but I’m glad I didn’t. What made me keep going was Cassel. He’s a lovely main character, and if I had read this around five or six years ago, I would have had a crush on him lol! The cool thing is that he’s funny and sometimes very naive, but he also just cons people like that and he doesn’t care a single bit. Man, I love his duality.

This was a fun mystery and honestly, compared to other YA books published in those years, it stands out. The plot isn’t a given right away, and the book definitely uses tropes, but not blatantly. For example, there is something that resembles a love triangle but it’s not the usual one because it’s layered. The chosen one narrative is there too, but the main character relies on his cleverness instead.

So, I quite enjoyed this book, but I don’t think I’m ever going to read book 2. I should’ve read this when it first came out, I’m sure it would have been one of my favorite series.
Profile Image for Janina.
214 reviews526 followers
December 9, 2011
Okay. This book has the word “cat“ in its title. How could I ever hesitate to read it?

Simply put, I was rather less enamoured of Holly Black's Modern Faerie Tales series and actually couldn't see myself picking up another one of her books. I had given her two chances, and she hadn't convinced me. Don't get me wrong, Tithe and Ironside certainly weren't bad, but I'm normally looking for something better than not bad. Positive reviews abound made me look closer into White Cat, though. And I didn't regret it.

Cassel comes from a family of curse workers, magicians wielding their power by touch. Curse work is illegal, so basically, Cassel also comes from a family of criminals. His mom can work emotions (and doesn't hesitate to use this talent to her advantage), his grandfather death – only Cassel can't work anything. Yet, there is something mysterious going on with him. He keeps dreaming of a white cat and a girl he once knew but tried to erase from his memory. He sleepwalks. He can feel that there is something wrong, but nobody will talk to him about it …

This story is fresh and new. It is set in a world that is so similar to ours, yet strikingly different in certain aspects and features a main character that is broken, feels left out, clearly shows criminal talent, but never crosses the border into unlikable. There are clans of curse workers dominating the underground – reminiscent of the mafia – and a family that definitely deserves to be called problematic: A mother in jail, two brothers associated the most feared worker in the whole country and more than one skeleton in the closet. And on top of all that, there is a very special cat.

I loved this book's atmosphere. In parts, it had something of an old black-and-white movie, quiet and mysterious – gentlemen with leather gloves pulling out guns, secret meetings in dark places. Yet, it was also firmly rooted in the modern world. Cassel's friends from school added a certain light-heartedness to the story and Cassel's subtle humour in general really suited me. I just immensely liked his character and felt extremely close to him despite our many differences.
Additionally, Black never felt the need to explain her world to me. It was just there the way it was, and she left it to me to figure things out. I love to be introduced to a new setting that way and hate nothing more than detailed explanations as to why certain things are the way they are. It makes me feel like I'm not taken seriously as a reader.

All in all, a series I look forward to continuing. This book was full of surprises and unforeseeable twists, shady villains and sometimes even shadier allies. It is definitely one of those stories where you can't trust anybody to tell you the truth (not even the narrator), but I for my part really enjoyed the suspense this created.
Profile Image for Maria Espadinha.
1,027 reviews374 followers
December 8, 2019
🐱 Cãofusão com Gata 🐱

Se esta estória fôsse com 🐶, seria uma perfeita "Cãofusão".
Mas sendo ela com uma 🐱 que afinal nem 🐱 é, persiste em ser uma "Cãofusão" , só que com 🐱 e não com 🐶 !

E... meus caros amigos e colegas leitores... nada mais tenho a acrescentar a esta (im)perfeita Cãofusão, a não ser uma pequena advertência:
O precedente parágrafo, aparentemente desprovido de nexo, alberga um Mistério que só será desvendado, mediante uma leitura atenta do livro 😉

Preparem-se pois... para uma leitura enigmática, plena de surpresas e imaginação, que se absorve duma assentada e sem bocejos 👍
Uma misteriosa Cãofusão, com 🐱 em vez de 🐶!!! 😉😉
Profile Image for The Burning Rose (Jess).
162 reviews371 followers
July 21, 2017
Oh my god. It was so good. So so good.
Cassel is a character I'll never forget.
The whole book was perfect. And I finally broke my reading slump! I feel so good right now.
And the end was absolutely amazing. Love it.
I need the 2nd book.
February 11, 2015
*4.5 Stars*

Lie until even you believe it-that's the real secret of lying. The only way to have absolutely no tells.
Too bad I'm not quite there yet.

When I try to think of a word that reminds me of this book, the most forthcoming is just this: Weird. This book was all kinds of weird. But, when I take the time to really delve deeper and actually peel back the layers of this intricate story-line, I begin to 'see' so many more words pop into my mind: Haunting, clever, mesmerizing, addicting...sweet. There are so many ways to look at a story and if you filter all the mystery out of the words, then it does, in fact, come off as a super weird book. But when you totally immerse yourself and ask 'Why is this happening?', 'What triggered this?', 'Where the hell is this going?', I swear that you'll find yourself racing through the pages and before you know it, you'll be closing the book. It's that kind of story.

I don't want to be a monster, but maybe it's too late to be anything else.

Cassel is one of those characters that really gets under your skin. You don't quite know why you like him, but you find yourself laughing at his sarcasm, feeling pain for this kid who grew up feeling like the most insignificant member of his family. You find yourself smiling at his charm and your heart breaking when he thinks of Lila, his childhood best friend (and only friend), and the girl he killed years ago. This sounds shady as fuck, I'll give you that, but in this world, everyone wears gloves to hide their 'curse' and to prevent their touch from doing irreparable damage by making contact with someone's skin. This is a world where children grow up around con workers as mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers. Even if you aren't involved with the con work, there's still a chance you've been 'cursed' and are considered a worker. This simply means you might have a touch that causes selective memory loss, luck, death, etc. But with each of these 'gifts' there is ample cost-No gift in their world comes without a price.

I hate that I love this. I hate that the adrenaline pumping through the roots of my body is filling me with giddy glee. I'm not a good person.

You're probably still wondering about how he murdered his best friend and the girl he's always been in love with, right? I didn't know how I'd feel about it, personally. But, for whatever reason, I found myself identifying with him, sympathizing for him, hoping it was all a misunderstanding and that he had been worked. See, Cassel is the only one in his family without a gift-he is the only non-curse worker. I think this made him a really sweet and relatable character, and all the more identifiable as someone who had significantly screwed up in his past. And, more than that, it was devastating to see how much he just wanted his brothers to love him and accept him, but instead they grew up stomping him under their foot as if he was an insignificant piece of trash, just because they could. Now, I can't say nothin' about anythin' but I will say this-If you grew up with a deplorable family that did deplorable things...what keeps them from conning you?

Marks think they can get something for nothing.
Marks think they can get what they don't deserve and could never deserve.
Marks are stupid and pathetic and sad.
Marks forget that whenever something's too good to be true, that's because it's a con.

At times I found this to be very dark and even somewhat disturbing, but that was more at the beginning. Once I began to see everything unwind, it all started to make sense and I became fully immersed in figuring out what was wrong with the distorted picture we were being given. Lies upon lies, and betrayals on top of betrayals, we don't get a clear picture until the end-and even then it's like looking through fractured glass. It was excellent.

The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.

Altogether an amazing story that I couldn't put down even for a minute. More than once I was covering my mouth with my hand to stifle a gasp and begging for a better end than what was coming for Cassel. In a way, this book was almost told through an unreliable source's eyes and we are left wondering what's reality and what's make-believe. I loved this aspect. Each time we learned something, we realized there was so much more to the story and it never really stopped growing as a plot, it never really and truly ended. So, I absolutely cannot wait to start book two. If it's even half as good as this one I will be ecstatic...but more than that, I can't wait to see what becomes of Cassel and his new-found 'friends.' He's still trying to figure all that out. And that cliffhanger-agh!!!

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Emma.
2,506 reviews855 followers
April 25, 2018
Absolutely loved it! I’ve read a few Holly Black novels recently and love her take on the fae world. This novel was not about the fae but a whole new magical setting. The first third was pretty good and then it really took off. An original world of magic and workers, where everyone wears gloves so their skin never touches, a family of con artists. Casserole was a really believable character. Really looking forward to the rest of the series. Recommended.
Profile Image for Ceilidh.
233 reviews577 followers
April 29, 2011
Holly Black is the anti-Cassandra Clare. While Black’s series has been using cover quotes from Ms Clare (a good friend of Ms Black) to promote the series, Black’s writing stands leaps and bounds beyond anything Clare has ever written and “White Cat” is a brilliant read on pretty much every level.

It’s not often these days that I’m surprised by a YA book. Maybe it’s the market itself, maybe it’s my own YA oversaturation, but whatever the case may be, when a YA comes along that I find entertaining, creative, exciting, witty and mysterious and makes it all seem so effortless, I can’t help but get excited. (The book is classified as YA by some and adult sci-fi/fantasy by others, but since it was in the YA section of my library, I’ll classify is as such.)

Even if crime based novels aren’t your thing, I highly recommend this book. Taking the concept of underground crime families and adding magic to the equation, Black has created an exciting, detailed world full of depth and intrigue, populated by a wide variety of interesting characters and genuine surprises. There’s a definite Sopranos-style vibe throughout the novel, as double crossing and black market jargon are casually discussed, but it fits in wonderfully with a well crafted and extremely readable mystery. How refreshing to see this sort of story in YA where the stakes are genuinely high and things are at true risk. The pacing is quick and smooth, even during quieter moments where Black skilfully manages to avoid turning discussions into info-dump sessions. The way the crime world is intertwined with the magic element is almost seamless and I was particularly fascinated by the different types of magic workers and how their gifts are also curses. Black’s writing style is very much suited to this type of story; it’s crisp, often sparse, very witty and avoids any sort of unnecessary visits into the town of purple prose.

The narrator of this tale, Cassel Sharp, is a joy. That sounds like an exaggeration but hear me out. One, he actually sounds like a man. Two, he manages to be tortured and scared without ever becoming whiny or overwrought, which is no easy feat. His familial interactions are interesting and never quite what they seem (The Sharps themselves are a colourful bunch, all with their own secrets and problems with so much at stake.) Three, he actually grows and develops as a character! He’s a witty, sneaky and extremely intelligent man but he’s also confused, scared and haunted by his past. His family are hiding things from him, he’s hung up on his ex-girlfriend, he’s desperately trying to con his way back into school and then there’s those dreams that plague him. Everything is handled with skill and wit. He’s definitely one of the best protagonists in YA right now. It’s also incredibly refreshing to see the small romantic element of the story not completely overwhelm the plot. It’s something that’s definitely on Cassel’s mind but he’s got other things to worry about and he knows how to prioritise! Outside of Cassel, I had a huge soft spot for his grandfather as well as his mother. She’s only featured a few times and only ever in phone call conversations but you can feel her presence throughout the book. She’s definitely the head of the clan and it shows. I can’t wait for more of her in the sequel.

If I was to criticise anything about this book, it would be this small thing. The cons are described in great detail, which is fascinating, and Cassel frequently tells us, as do many other characters, how great they are at the job, but then they immediately screw up. It got a bit repetitive but luckily didn’t spoil this wonderful book for me.

I heartily recommend “White Cat” to everyone, especially those of you who, like me, were getting a sick of paranormal YA. It’s not quite an accurate label for this series but Black excels in her field with this series, creating an intricate world with intrigue, complexities and fascinating characters, and I am thoroughly excited by the prospect of getting my hands on the sequel.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,357 followers
August 30, 2016
It's safe to say that it's not the cover that attracted me to this book. I was actually quite surprised to see its many great reviews. Yes, I'm a book judger. Oh well. I picked this up as an audiobook and actually liked it a lot.

Some people are born as workers in Cassel's world. Workers can "work" people with their hands. By touching someone, they can alter their memory, kill, give good luck, bad luck. You name it. Cassel is the only one in his family who is not a worker. He's been getting these weird dreams that make him sleepwalk in very unfortunate scenarios.

I found the plot of this book very original and quite fun. I loved Cassel, the protagonist. I loved that it was a male lead. They're so rare but they're great. No girly angst. Cassel was charismatic and I quite enjoyed the narrative by Jesse Eisenberg. His voice was very fitting for Cassel's character. The plot twists aren't too difficult to figure out. But it didn't hinder my enjoyment of the story. It was still fun to walk through it with Cassel and see him figure it out.

The book isn't dark. But i think it may be heading that way. Cassel is very innocent in the start, so I think it contributed to the lighter, fun read. By the end, though, we saw glimpses of grimier times with conspiracies and intricate politics.

I'm happy that I gave this one a chance regardless of the dreadful cover. It's not what I expected at all. I was also told the sequel is just as good. This is one to not pass up if you like paranormal.
Profile Image for tiffany.
301 reviews95 followers
May 16, 2023
dnf at page 46

i really didn't like this book; it was extremely boring, and i was slightly confused at what was happening.

buddy read (kinda) with Maica!
Profile Image for Lucie V..
1,012 reviews2,050 followers
April 16, 2022
✅ Magic / Powers
✅ Intrigue
✅ Betrayal
🆗✅ Characters and relationships
🆗✅ Pace

In this series, workers are ordinary people with extraordinary abilities. They look like anyone else, but one contact from their bare hand, and they can control your emotions, your dreams, bring you luck or bad luck, hurt you, kill you or even transform you into something else entirely. This story is full of lies and betrayals, and poos Cassel has no idea who wants to help him, and who wants to take advantage of him or use him.

“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.”

It was different for me to read a story where the main character is a young boy and I liked the way Holly Black made me feel in a boy’s head, yet there were emotions, uncertainty, and everything that comes with being a non-gifted teenager in a family of gifted people. Cassel is from a family of curse workers and he is the only one without an ability. Still, he is cunning and clever and makes it up by being a good con artist that people tend to underestimate. That is until he starts to realize that things are not what they seem and that he can't even trust his own family or his memories.

“I can't trust the people I care about not to hurt me. And I'm not sure I can trust myself not to hurt them, either.”

Cassel's family is so messed up, but I loved it! He can't trust them (even if he wants to), and they are ruthless enough for him to be wary and on his guard with his own mother and brothers.

The intrigue in this book is wonderfully presented. We can't really see the big picture until it is revealed at the end. It had me hooked up from the beginning until the end. I admit that I am not in a big rush to read Red Glove because there is no big cliffhanger at the end of White Cat, but I will definitely read it in the near future.

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Profile Image for Alice.
229 reviews43 followers
March 30, 2018
2* dnf: idk because I skipped ahead, but around 18% I think

Lame and boring. I thought the main character was going to be schemey and smart, but no he's just a stupid kid. Cassel sucks.
Profile Image for Nieves ✨.
954 reviews1,114 followers
February 21, 2022
3'75 🌟 Tenía muchísimas ganas de leer a la autora porque he escuchado auténticas maravillas de otra de sus trilogías. Ha sido un buen inicio con la autora, he disfrutado leyendo está historia y asimismo, nunca había leído nada de este estilo y me ha dejado muy buen sabor de boca. Es verdad, que las primeras páginas me han costado un poco porque no llegaba a entender lo que sucedía hasta que me metí de lleno en la historia y ya me enganche, sobre todo, he disfrutado a más no poder con los últimos capítulos porque explotan muchos secretos y el final te deja con ganas de continuar leyendo. Si os apetece leer una novela original repleta de magia, secretos y traiciones os recomiendo que os adentréis en esta historia 🥰

"Gata Blanca" es la primera entrega de la trilogía Los Obradores De Maleficios. El inicio de una trilogía con una trama muy original donde la magia, las traiciones y los secretos son los ingredientes principales. Una lectura amena con unos cuantos giros inesperados 🐱💎🔮✨

Reseña completa: https://aprovechalavidacadadiaa.blogs...


Profile Image for Cami L. González.
1,157 reviews395 followers
March 3, 2022

No sabía qué esperar del libro y la verdad es que lo disfruté bastante. Me recordó un poco al tono de Half Bad, con este protagonista que se siente tan alienado de los demás y que no sabe en quién confiar.

Cassel es el único no obrador de una familia de obradores, el único incapaz de lanzar maleficios. Sin embargo ha aprendido a hacerse su propio camino con un negocio de apuestas en su internado. Por desgracia, cuando aparezca en el techo a punto de saltar, será expulsado y descubrirá que alguien ha estado obrando maleficios en él. ¿Será su madre que sigue en prisión? ¿Su hermano que trabaja para la mafia? ¿O el hermano que le quitó la chica a la que quería?

"En gran medida, somos quienes recordamos ser. Por eso cuesta tanto abandonar un hábito. Si sabes que eres un mentiroso, no decir la verdad es lo más normal del mundo. Pero si te consideras sincero, haces un esfuerzo"

Es un libro extraño, pero principalmente por el tono que tiene, ya que es el mismo Cassel quien nos va narrando lo que sucede. Entonces, es su voz desconfiada, asustada y que no sabe qué hacer es la que aporta ese tono inquietante a la historia. Por lejos, ese tono es lo mejor del libro, porque ayuda a aumentar la continua sensación de no saber en quién confiar que tiene el protagonista.

El libro juega muy bien con las mentiras y las pérdida de memoria, pues sospechamos de todos los personajes al menos una vez mientras el protagonista intenta aclarar lo que sucede. Además, es interesante el equilibrio entre desconfiar de su familia, pero seguir sabiendo que son todo lo que tiene y que la sangre siempre manda. Lograr que aquello resultara creíble y no forzado no es sencillo, aun así el libro lo logró.

"Las mentiras más fáciles de contar son las que deseas que sean ciertas"

Todo el tema de los obradores y los maleficios está bien, no es algo en especial complejo y hay varias cosas bien justificadas, casi explicadas de forma científica que me gustaron porque aterrizaban el sistema de magia. Aunque todo se sintió bastante simple en general.

Cassel es interesante como protagonista, pues él mismo sabe que no es bueno. Tiene una flexibilidad moral inculcada por su familia que es entretenida de leer, además de ser muy inteligente y hábil para llevar a cabo engaños.

Gata blanca es una historia que funciona bien por sí sola, presenta un mundo en el que hay personas capaces de lanzar maleficios y es algo aceptado por los humanos. Una historia llena de mentiras y engaños que hace difícil saber quién está mintiendo y quién no.
Profile Image for jade.
52 reviews18 followers
March 4, 2015
I had low expectation about this book because urban fantasy could be hard for me to get into. Besides, it’s not encouraging that the book is in a male voice by a female author. Therefore, I had only intended to take a look at the first page. However, first page turned into second page and so forth. I couldn’t put it down. All the while I was reading, I kept trying to stop and switch to the book I had in mind. Well, I never did. And here I am, eager to finish the whole series.

It's surprising how real and likable the male voice, Cassel, is. You'd never mistake him as a girl. Cassel is a con artist with a conscience. At 17, he has a terrible past and has gone through quite some hardship. He struggles to find his place but never wallows in self-pity. Instead, he meets the challenges head on without getting overly sentimental. There's a sense of humor even in a really bad situation. He has that vulnerability and self-depreciation to make you root for him, and to see him out-smart powerful adversaries is such a satisfying feeling.

The book has the obvious Sopranos vibe going on but it's mostly within YA range. And the mystery! It's fascinating to connect the dots. Clues are dropped here and there, while the world-building is effortlessly weaved into the story. There's never long passages of info dumping, which is quite impressive given how detailed and creative this magical world is.

Though this book may not be a heady emotional ride that tugs at your heartstrings, it is nonetheless a cleverly written, engrossing story with rich world-building and likable characters. I'll definitely continue with the series.
Profile Image for Cecilia.
Author 1 book396 followers
April 11, 2022
Empecé esta novela sin ninguna expectativa, entregada a mi primera experiencia leyendo a Holly Black, y debo decir que me sorprendió gratamente. Disfruté mucho leer esta novela, que pese a sus capítulos largos, tiene varias pausas y es muy ágil de leer, además de adictivo debido a los misterios y la intriga que va generando la trama.

Nuestro protagonista, Cassel Sharpe, maneja el arte de las estafas, los engaños, los timos y la mentira, a la perfección, pero su don es aún mejor de lo que pudiera imaginar. A lo largo de su vida ha aprendido a desconfiar de los demás pero en este momento se verá obligado a confiar en sus amigos para descubrir un gran secreto familiar.

En esta novela encontrarán: mentiras, mafia, muerte, intriga, estafas, magia, esoterismo, amistad, un toque de romance y una familia muy particular.

Espero se animen a leer la primera entrega de esta trilogía de fantasía oscura juvenil contemporánea.

4,5 estrellas
Profile Image for Grüffeline.
1,108 reviews103 followers
February 19, 2019
Auf das Gedächtnis kann man sich nicht verlassen. Es beugt sich unserer Weltsicht und passt sich unseren Vorurteilen an.

Das Buch war gut geschrieben und auch die Charaktere waren toll, allerdings schwimmt man in der Welt, die Holly Black hier entwirft, doch recht lange einfach mit, ohne zu verstehen, was vor sich geht. Ich bin nicht unbedingt Freund von seitenlangen Einleitungen und Vorstellungen der Welt, in der Bücher spielen, aber kleinere Erklärungen nehme ich immer gerne an.
Die Geschichte war auch "spannend", im Sinne von: ich hab es gern gelesen und habe mich absolut nicht gelangweilt oder Ähnliches, aber leider konnte sie mich nicht groß überraschen. Erst gegen Ende kamen ein paar Wendungen, die ich nicht vorausgesehen habe. Alles andere war sehr offensichtlicht. Aber ich freue mich dennoch auf den Rest der Trilogie. Bereit liegt er schon.
Profile Image for Giulia.
156 reviews237 followers
July 17, 2017
I expected to like this book the same way you like to watch baking shows or cat videos on Youtube. That said, I didn't expect to love it as much as I did.

White Cat was absolutely mind-blowing. 5 stars was the only possible way I could rate it because honestly?, I have nothing to complain about (which I know, is so unlike me, but here we are). It took me literally five hours to finish the book, because it was completely impossible for me to put it down. Everything about it was exactly as I wanted it.

I think that one of the reasons for which I connected so strongly with this book is that I could see myself in the MC, Cassel. I know that's probably not the best reason, but he usually did things as I would have, and his mind wasn't so different from mine.
This is a book about a charming liar: someone who can flash a smile, say the right words at the right time and fool you while you don't even understand what's happening. But Cassel is not only an excellent actor, he's also human and vulnerable, and I could feel his very own emotions as if I were the one experiencing them - his guilt, his regret, but also his fury. He isn't the kind of person that just waits for things to happen, but he was the one moving the plot forward, and I liked that he was smart, but not unbelievably so. He was very intuitive, but there were still times when he had no idea what was going on, and I liked that.

The writing was very good. It wasn't particularly flowery, but I enjoyed it nonetheless, and I think this series has the potential to be a new favorite of mine. I like mysteries and I like magic, and the book was slightly creepy at times, which is always a plus. Also, I'm well known to have a weakness for books that explore family dynamics, especially when they're about difficult sibling relationships.
And, well, this book has organized crime in it. I know what you're thinking: so what? But, guys. Martin Scorsese is my favorite director. I know every line of Goodfellas by heart, and I think The Departed is a masterpiece. So yeah, crime families are definitely my kind of thing.

I'm going to stop right here, because this review is honestly just me fangirling like crazy over this wonderful book. But I honestly can't wait to get my hands on the second one!
White Cat is one of the best books I've read this year, probably one of the best books I've read period. I read it on my Kindle because I'm lazy and didn't have a lot of money to spend, but I think I'm going to get the physical copy of it as well, so that I can place it on my shelf and sigh contentedly whenever I pass by it.
Profile Image for Nuusreads.
32 reviews123 followers
January 20, 2022
Para Cassel es imposible pasar página. No consigue olvidarse de que asesinó a Lila, su mejor amiga, aunque no es capaz de recordar porqué. Se esfuerza en ser una persona normal, ir a un colegio normal, ser un novio o un amigo normal, al menos todo lo normal que puede ser alguien que no posee una gota de poder dentro de una desestructurada familia de obradores de maleficios. Pero es evidente que dentro de la familia Sharpe, hay más secretos de los que Cassel puede imaginar.

Me ha encantado este inicio de trilogía, me parece perfecta para alguien que quiera adentrarse en la fantasía oscura. La narración es muy ligera, pero no por ello le falta detalle a la historia.

Para mí, el sistema de magia es lo más interesante de esta historia, espero que en los próximos libros se le de mucho más protagonismo y se explique todo con más detalle. Pero de momento lo que nos ha dejado ver Holly Black sobre los obradores de maleficios en este libro, me tiene totalmente dentro de la historia.

Que el centro de la trama sean los secretos familiares e incluso algún que otro asesinato ha conseguido que devore este libro y no quisiera separarme de sus páginas.

Cassel, el abuelo de la familia Sharpe, Sam, Daneca… todos ellos están bastante bien dibujados, especialmente teniendo en cuenta que es un libro bastante cortito. Todos ellos me han encantado y adoro cómo se siente la dualidad en los carácteres de los personajes a los que la autora nos tiene acostumbrados. Siempre manteniéndolos en una línea muy difusa entre el héroe y el villano.

He de decir, que esperaba un final de infarto y ha quedado bastante cerrado. Igualmente, quedan bastantes tramas pendientes de resolver con los personajes secundarios, así que sigo necesitando el segundo libro para ayer.

En definitiva es un buen inicio de trilogía, que creo que promete MUCHO.

Profile Image for Louie the Mustache Matos.
1,006 reviews74 followers
June 28, 2022
Holly Black usually specializes in this mix of fantasy, young adult blend that works for her exceedingly well and seems to be very popular, nowadays. Here, in White Cat she has this alternate history (acceptance of witch culture), science fiction, urban fantasy, YA mashup that I enjoyed quite a bit. Cassel is the youngest member of a magic family of con artists that exist for the grift. Everyone in his family has magic abilities that help their cons, but he doesn't have powers. As the weakest member, and because he killed his best friend, he is constantly protected by his two older siblings. Lately, he has been sleepwalking and he soon realizes that instead of protecting him, his brothers may in fact be conning him. Because of certain clues, he has decided to get to the bottom of the secrets that lie buried in his past, and in order to do that, he must now con the curse workers in his family. Wow. I really did not know what to expect, but this was a unique bit of Fantasy, Alternate History, YA that has plot twists galore. I thought it was going one way, and boy was I wrong. When that happens, tip your cap.
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