Book Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Last month, I went to the Cincinnati Joseph Beth bookstore (one I wish I could go to more often so I could support independent book sellers, but it’s so far away!) to see Holly Black and Sarah Rees Brennan at a book signing. It was so fun and enlightening!

Both authors have great personalities, they’re hilarious, interesting, and interested in their fans. I hadn’t read anything by Brennan, but I picked up her first novel, and I’m about 2 chapters into The Demon’s Lexicon.

Holly Black is the author of The Spiderwick Chronicles, as well as the Modern Tale of Faerie Series, including Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside. This book tour was for her newest book, White Cat, the first book in her Curse Workers series, which I just finished.

In White Cat, the world is not much different than ours. In fact, the only major difference that you could notice from casual observation is that everyone is wearing gloves. Anyone could potentially be a curse worker, and working is done through touch. A person can affect emotions, dreams, transformations, luck, memories, or even death, through the slightest touch. The unpredictability of working means that it quickly became illegal, relegating working to crime families and the mob.

Everyone in Cassel’s family is a worker, but he isn’t. His family is very involved with the Zacharov crime family, and Cassel goes to a private school because he’s not able to participate in their activities. His mother is in jail for emotion-working, and his brothers are knee deep in criminal activities. Cassel is one of the best con-men there is, though he has a dark, traumatic past. He killed the love of his life.

The book opens with a great scene: Cassel wakes up, standing on the roof of his school dorm in the middle of the night. He dreamt of a white cat and had followed it wherever she went. This wasn’t the first time, and that cat seems really familiar.

Working isn’t magic, per say, there’s not really a deep mythology, or even a reason behind it, though I hope it’s explored more in the sequel. It’s a really interesting concept, that anyone could affect a person’s dreams, emotions, even their appearance through transformation, by a simple touch. Not wearing gloves is equated with holding a loaded gun, and is perceived as such.

I loved this book. It has a completely unique premise. I’ve always loved Holly Black’s voice. She creates great characters, deeply fleshed out and interesting. I was drawn in right from the beginning, and she kept me the whole time. There are great twists throughout, and a solid lead-in to the next book. I can’t wait!


4 thoughts on “Book Review: White Cat by Holly Black

  1. Based on the cover of the book owned by the library, I would never have guessed correctly as to the plot of “White Cat”. I also didn’t realize Holly Black had written the “Spiderwick Chronicles”. This book actually sounds really interesting and unfortunately, I suppose I have to add another book to my “To Read” list:-/


  2. Pingback: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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  4. Pingback: Book Review: Black Heart by Holly Black « Elementary, My Dear Reader

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