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Coming Soon:
~Review: The Killing Woods
~Review: The Waiting Sky
~Review: A Certain Slant of Light
~Review: Timepiece
~Review: Infinityglass

Friday, September 17, 2010

Review: White Cat

White Cat by Holly Black
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pub. Date: May 4th, 2010
Pages: 310

Series: The Curse Workers, #1
Age Level: 14+

Synopsis via Goodreads
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.

Magic, crime, family, betrayal, deceit, love, and hate; White Cat by Holly Black had it all, and though I thought there were some things that could have been done better, this book still turned out to be quite the page-turner.

At first, I was a bit disappointed in Cassel's character. He was a bit two-dimensional and totally oblivious to to the things unfolding right before his very eyes. Thankfully, things changed and he developed into a more clever, realistic, well-rounded character that I grew to not only form a connection with, but to like as well. When it came to his relationship with his oldest brother Philip, I felt that I could actually relate to him a bit. I won't say why or how but just that I could, that's the important part. This made the connection I felt to him even stronger. As for his two brothers, Philip and Barron, I hated them; however I can not deny that they were indeed great characters. It was very essential that they were the back-stabbing jerks that they were. Otherwise, this book just wouldn't have had that same gut-wrenching quality that really helped make this book; there's nothing like a little brotherly betrayal to make things interesting. As for Sam, Daneca, and a certain white cat, I thought they were all good supporting characters, especially the white cat.

The idea behind White Cat was a very unique concept though I thought it could have been more efficiently executed than it was. I spent the first part of the book feeling like I'd been left out of the loop about something; in my opinion, Black really should have provided me with more background information about curse workers during the beginning. I think that one thing could have really made this book get off to a more improved start for me. Also, there wasn't really a lot going on but I still felt strangely compelled. About the middle of the book, things started getting more intense and exciting, even if a lot of the plot was predictable. By the end, White Cat had picked up speed and managed to have at least one surprise left for me. Really the last third of this book was the best part; had the rest of the book been as good as that, White Cat could have been amazing. Don't get me wrong, this book did have some great things going for it. Once it got going good, there was suspense and action, not to mention the overall imaginative idea and dark, rawness that this story possessed.

I thought the writing was good overall but not as good as it could have been. The pacing was a bit off but Black did do a good job of keeping me turning the pages and, even when the book wasn't at it's best, evoking emotion in me through the keenly wrought story.

I thought the ending was very well done; it left me thinking and looking forward to the next book and tied up all the things that needed tying up, which still wasn't everything. After all, this is a series.

In the end, I did have some issues with White Cat but I really feel that the positive won over the negative. There were still so many things that I felt Black did right. The story was gripping, unique, and a surprisingly deep, even emotional read; at least for me. I do recommend this book, especially for those looking for something a bit on the darker, grittier side of things. I do plan to read this book again in the future and I have every intention of reading the next book in this series.

Characters: C+
Writing: C+
Plot: B-
Ending: B-
1st in Series: C+
Enjoyment/Likability: C+
Recommendable: B-

Overall: C+

Cover: A


Sandy said...

I'm glad White Cat had more good than bad for you. This one has always been on my to-get list at the library so I'll keep your review in mind :)

Nely said...

I've had this one for a while now but still haven't read it. I think it might be the mixed reviews that are giving me mixed signals over it... I'm glad you somewhat enjoyed it.

Anonymous said...

Huh, I'm not sure I like the cover. Besides the point, I know, but I am interested in reading this. But, I think I will have to do this one through the library first.

Jessica B said...

Good review. I've heard very mixed things about this one but I'd still love to read it.

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Hello all! My name is Briana, I'm 20, and I live in the beautiful state of Georgia. I love reading and photography.

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