TITLE: White Cat
AUTHOR: Holly Black
SERIES: Curse Workers (#1)
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Mystery, Romance
RATING: 3.5/5 Stars
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.
What I Liked:
- So despite the fact that I was thrown in at the deep end (I'll get to that), I loved the plot for this book! The world-building was really well thought out and I loved the concept for 'Curse Work' and the way it works (human skin contact, blowback, etc.). It felt really original and fun to read. There were plenty of twists to keep me guessing and I only managed to work out a couple, so Black definitely had a good element of mystery going on. The main reason that I finished this book in a day was that I was totally hooked, there's no denying it.
- The characters in this book were really likeable. Cassel was a great hero to start with. He was witty, smart and streetwise, and a fun character to see the story from. I liked the characters that surrounded him too (both good and bad), especially Sam and in the end, Daneca too! One of the most interesting character groups to read was Cassel's family. The fact that there powers were different, combined with their personalities made for some great dynamics within the group!
What I Disliked:
- I did not enjoy the first few chapters quite as much as the rest of the book for one reason. I was completely dropped into the action without having a clue what was going on. One minute Cassel is having strange dreams, then he is on a roof, then he's being kicked out of school! I didn't know whether I was coming or going. What's more, I see all these characters talking about being 'touched' and 'curse work', but no one was explaining what on earth that all meant. It left me feeling a bit lost, though once Black explained it properly, the book was much easier to get into.
- The problem with Black's books that I always seem to find I have, is that I feel like I am having to read them much faster than my brain can comprehend. I get a lot of 'blink and you miss it' moments, meaning that I have to reread passages to ensure I've read something correctly and not missed anything important. While I didn't feel this happened as much in 'White Cat', it still did happen and it was a little irritating. Especially as I was so into the story and wanted to keep going, not go back.
The best thing about this book was the plot, by far. It gripped me so much that I genuinely couldn't put the book down all day and finished it within 24 hours as a result. It's quite a feat for a book to have me that absorbed. The characters were really good too, and I developed a real soft spot for some of them. The writing is fast-paced and hard to keep up with, and I felt a bit lost at the beginning, hence the slightly harsh star rating. But thanks to that cliffhanger, I know I will be back for more from this story. I can't wait!