Thursday, March 15, 2012

White Cat by Holly Black

17-year old Cassel (Cass) Sharpe has grown up believing that he killed his girlfriend Lila when he was 14 years old and that he had no abilities like the rest of his family of so called curse workers. Since curse work is illegal in this alternative universe America, Cass comes from a family of criminals who work closely with the mob.

Cass is a student at Wallingford Preparatory School where he runs his own con games as well as a fairly productive bookmaking business while trying to stay under the radar because of his family ties. One night while Cass dreams that a white cat has stolen his tongue, he somehow finds his way up on a ledge where he suddenly awakens after a bout of what is being called somnambulism, or sleepwalking.

The story itself is Cass’s awakening call to the fact that his entire family has been using him, lying to him, and erasing his memories to keep him from knowing that he has a very rare and powerful gift that everyone is after. Imagine Cass’s surprise when the truth about what he has done in the past comes out.

As for the rest of Cass’s family; his brother Philip can cause physical damage, while his brother Barron is a luck worker as well as being able to remove and distort someone’s memories. His grandfather Desi Singer is a retired death dealer and his mother is in jail for working emotions and con jobs on rich men.

I have never read the Spiderwick Chronicles or any other title by Holly Black to my utter bemusement. Imagine my surprise, after reading reviews by GR friends, that I actually found myself loving this story. Naturally, there is one negative and that is the obvious lead in to the next book which is a huge cliffhanger as well as leaving questions unanswered about Cass's mother and Lila's fate.

This is a YA urban fantasy story without the whole 3 way love triangle which for me is a plus. The story and world building is original and unique. White Cat takes place in an alternative world where a small percentage of individuals are born with the ability to work one of seven different forms of magic through touch. Cass’s ability makes him pretty much the only person able to do the things he can do.

Cass is the main story here, but the sub characters like Audrey, Sam, and Daneca (Dani) are all interesting enough and likable enough that the story doesn’t lose its focus or suffer because of their inclusion.

Next up:
Red Glove (April 2011)
Black Heart (April 2012)

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