Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Hi all!

The usual YA again :)

Author: Holly Black
Title: White Cat
Series: Curse Workers  #1
Release date: 4th of May 2010
Published by: Simon & Schuster, Inc
Imprint: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 309 in Paperback
Source: Bought from the Bookdepository


Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen.


I liked this book, it was different from the YA I usually read, having a male protagonist and being quite original with its plot and characters. It was also darker than your average YA, more brutal in content both physically and emotionally. There wasn’t anything that hard to stomach but a couple of scenes, plot devices and descriptions had me cringing. BUT, that just added to the crooked atmosphere of the whole story.

I loved the overall theme that nothing was as it seemed and there were enough twists to keep things fresh – what was behind the facade of different characters, their motives, what is actually happening in the grand scheme of things, etc. While slightly confusing during unraveling everything made sense in the end I didn’t feel that there were significant questions left hanging without adequate answers.

Con nr 1: To me the romance element is a must in the majority of stories I read and in this it remained quite ambiguous, it WAS there but not it the format I usually prefer. I predict more development/focus/explanations for it in the coming books though.

Con nr 2: Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with most of the characters and several weren’t even likeable, everyone was in the circle of tolerable but still remained foreign and unpleasant. BUT, I adored Cassel and he basically makes up for what others lack, also the plot contributed to me overlooking other faults.

Nevertheless, I liked the idea and realization of the plot and, of course, the hero Cassel.


Cassel was very flawed and somewhat broken in various ways. Confused, sneaky, somewhat reckless, stuck to bear his family’s burden and unable to free himself of all their complicated/shady/criminal affairs he involuntarily becomes and is part of. I really liked him as the protagonist and as an interesting character. He’s not black or white and him not knowing or not caring that he is neither is even better, he isn’t ashamed and doesn’t hide his not so “pure” of straight-laced actions or trail of thought. He is what he is and that makes him authentic and likable. Due to all this he has to go through many trials and nothing is completely safe but he has the determination and smarts to overcome anything. I look forward to his on goings in the other books of the trilogy and hope life is a little kinder to him there.

Lila was seemingly the main focus of the book, but we in reality learn a fraction of what she’s about or what’s going on in her head – the story doesn’t delve into her character much, even tough, she is the catalyst to many story lines. As much I did get to know her, she didn’t strike me as someone very likable, nevertheless, she was quite intriguing and maybe she will grow on me in the second book.

Cassel’s family – what a bunch of crooks – dangerous, odd and secretive. I appreciated the fact that they held the idea and connections of family in high esteem – family above all else -, but did they really? The two older brothers Phillip and Barron left me suspicious in the beginning and shocked at the end, the mother was meddlesome and came across as an unruly teenage girl, the grandfather was cool though – reasonable, grounded and nice with his fair share of mysteriousness of course. Poor Cassel, it tough being surrounded by such unstable and not always completely trustworthy people.


An interesting series, with an interesting plot and story line. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like that much, but overall this is a solid book and the pros, luckily, are strong enough to leave the cons far behind.

4 stars!



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