Take The Sting, The Godfather and The Big Sleep, mix together, marinade in magic, and serve in a YA-shaped dish.
Everyone loves Holly Black and her Curse Workers series, and I’m no different. My only complaint is that Red Glove is not available in the UK yet. So I must content myself with re-reading White Cat.
I’m a big sucker for alternate realities and alternate histories. The world of White Cat is broadly the same as ours. The big difference is that a subset of people can work magic with a touch of their bare hands. Working magic was made illegal in the 1920s.
Cassel is a great protagonist. He is on the outside of everything. Only non-worker in a worker family. A crime family kid in a school for rich folks. Also he’s a bookie, a conman, a murderer and you still really like him.
The book is very skillful in that it is told from the first person point of view of the conmanb, yet when the cons unfold there’s always a surprise in it for the reader. Despite the reader having seen most of the set up. White Cat manages to achieve this without the reader feeling that details have been deliberately or unfairly held back.
A couple of the big plot points were poretty obvious from early on. But there was enough texture and murk (of the who’s playing whom and how variety) to keep things gripping throughout.
This book is great as a self-contained read and has a good hook at the end to pull you into the next in the series.
I liked: How fully realised all of the characters are.
I disliked: The use of dream sequences to impart information. (That’s a personal preference peeve.)
Would I read it again? Yes. Third time through already.
Would I recommend to a friend? Yes. But not if it means lending out my copy. I might want to re-read it at any moment.
What did you think of this book? Let me know in the comments.