Tuesday, January 18, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black

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 criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, 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.
Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts to crumble when he finds himself 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. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.
The Beginning: The book opens up with Cassel on a roof wondering how he got there and trying to get down without killing himself. We are plunged into his life with some flashbacks that flesh out his family and memories that haunt him. 
The Middle: I appreciated the way Holly Black revealed Cassel’s story to the reader. I’m not generally a fan of flashbacks, however, Holly made it work. As a reader, I glimpsed enough to understand the relationships and characters, while still leaving the larger mystery hidden. 
The End: I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t guess a lot of things in this book. It might be me being slow, but I put it down to Holly being a great story weaver. There was enough unexpected obstacles to make the story realistic, but not so much that it felt repetitive. 
Overall: If writing a book was like baking chocolate chip cookies, then Holly has the talent to whip up the most deliciously chewy cookie with just the right amount of chocolate chips to make it unforgettable. Sorry about the food analogy, I’m just craving chocolate chip cookies. 
I think this book was great with just the right amount of mystery to keep you guessing without feeling confused. I would loan this to my sister, and I might not bug her to give it back to me if she keep supplying me with cookies. I’m looking forward to reading Red Glove which comes out in April. 

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