- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (May 4 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1416963960
- ISBN-13: 978-1416963967
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.8 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 399 g
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #527,268 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1) Hardcover – May 4 2010
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This novel is eerie and dark, with terrifying secrets and evil plots. Black weaves a beautiful world where magic exists and is feared. You'll see how backstabbing your loved ones is just as easy as loving them. This starter to a sure-to-be-a-hit series shouldn't be missed.
Summary: Curse working is illegal, and curse workers are branded as scoundrels and con artists. Cassel is the only one in his family who's not a curse worker. Although he's the "straight" kid in a cursed family, he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago. How he's having terrifying dreams of a white cat and suspects a secret plot between his brothers. He'll have to unravel his past to out-con the people he thought he knew best. — ROMANTIC TIMES BOOK REVIEWS, May 2010
* "Beautifully realized dark fantasy" - Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "Urban fantasy, con story, coming of age--whatever you call it, read it." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
About the Author
Holly Black is the author of bestselling contemporary fantasy books for kids and teens. Some of her titles include The Spiderwick Chronicles (with Tony DiTerlizzi), The Modern Faerie Tale series, the Curse Workers series, Doll Bones, and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. She has been a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award, a finalist for an Eisner Award, and the recipient of both an Andre Norton Award and a Newbery Honor. She lives in New England with her husband and son in a house with a secret door. Visit her at BlackHolly.com.See all Product description
Top Customer Reviews
Kirkus Reviews Best Books List for Teens (2010), ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2011 List, ALA Amazing Audiobooks List, and Andre Norton 2010 Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Black has created an alternate reality where people called "curse workers" exist. A curse worker is someone who has the ability to make things happen by touch with a bare hand. Some workers can manipulate emotions, while others can transfigure objects and even cause death. A worker will experience something called "blowback" after using their skills, which is a reaction that affects the worker. For example, a memory worker's own memories might become compromised. Curse work has been banned, and everyone wears gloves. Some people are not even aware that they have the ability to do curse work. Because of the nature of their abilities, curse workers are often employed by the mob.
At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a 17 year-old boy named Cassel Sharpe. He attends Wallingford Preparatory School in New Jersey. He has had a dream of a white cat and awakens to discover that he is on the roof of the school. Students and teachers assume that he is contemplating suicide, and he tries to explain that he must have been sleepwalking. The headmaster bans him from the dormitory and, to protect the school from a liability, insists that Cassel provide a clean bill of health from a doctor before he is permitted to return to the dorms. Cassel has to return to his childhood home, which has been vacant a long time since his mother is in prison. His grandfather stays there with them.
Cassel is the only member of the family who is not a curse worker, so he feels a bit like the odd man out. His mother is an emotion worker, and she can make anyone trust her. She can convince people they are in love with a stroke of her hand. His brother, Phillip, is a body worker and can break someone's leg with a touch of his finger. His grandfather is a death worker, and the blowback has caused some of his fingers to blacken and fall off. He discovers that his family is hiding something, and Cassel must use his wits to survive.
Cassel is fantastic male protagonist! He is smart as a whip, and he runs a gambling ring in the school and takes bets from students on silly things, such as whether the dormitory mouse will get stuck in the glue trap or survive another day. He is witty, sarcastic, and has a snarky sense of humour that I really enjoyed! The addition of paranormal abilities and the danger of the mafia made this a thrilling read!
Black is a new-to-me author, and I really enjoyed this book. The premise of the story was unique, and I can't wait to read the next one in the series, Red Glove.
Narrator Jesse Eisenberg did a bang-up job of capturing the attitude of Cassel. He was a pleasure to listen to, and I hope he narrates the rest of the series.
White Cat is gritty novel that weaves between crime, mystery, magic, murder, and mayhem. Flicking its thin tail amongst the players spinning its web tighter and tighter until with a twitch of its whiskers a bomb goes off propelling the story into an irreversible path. Real, impossible, but always the teeniest bit hopeful, this book is sure to intrigue.
Read my FULL review here: [...]
Having sparked off the teen-girl-encounters-faerie-world craze, Holly Black easily slips into a very different kind of urban fantasy in "White Cat," the first book in the Curse Workers series. The idea is a pretty simple one, but Black twists and knots it into an elaborate, many-shaded fantasy story, with plenty of blood, mystery and magic.
Years ago, Cassel Sharpe killed his best friend Lila -- he doesn't know why or what happened, but he knows he did. And after Cassel sleepwalks onto a roof (and into Youtube fame), he ends up suspended from his school and back in the junk-filled family mansion. As he waits to get back in, he encounters a white stray cat hanging around the barn -- the same cat that has been in his dreams recently.
Other strange clues begin to crop up: a memory charm, strange behavior from his sister-in-law, and the gaps in his own memory. Little by little, Cassel begins to realize that the cat is Lila -- someone with the rarest kind of power has transformed her into a cat, and to change her back he'll have to find out who it is. But as he tries to figure out who transformed Lila and why, he discovers the secrets that have been painstakingly removed from his own head -- and the elaborate, deadly scheme that he's being forced into.
It's pretty obvious from the beginning of "White Cat" that there is more going on than meets the eye, and Holly Black spends most of the book delicately unwinding the various tangled schemes and secrets. The world she conjures up is pretty much like our own, except that there are some people who have magical powers -- it's gritty, prejudiced, and has some real dangers for Cass.
She also comes up with some pretty cool ideas, such as the curse work -- by touching your skin, the workers can instantly break your bones, manipulate your memories, enter your dreams and even transform your body. Fortunately, the "blowback" keeps the workers from seeming all-powerful.
And Black's prose slips onto the story like a worn leather jacket -- the story is gritty, grimy and jaded, and there's always shadows lurking around the corner. But there's a raw beauty to it, especially during scenes like Cass's "pebble" ritual. And she threads the story with the luminous, bright flashbacks of Cassel's time with Lila (think golden cat-globes, ear-piercing and vintage movies). The dialogue is snappy and darkly humorous, and Black knows how to add twists you'll never see coming.
Cassel is that rarest of characters -- a teenage anti-hero. He's a likable, pleasant kid who dislikes the amoral con jobs and brutal mob work that his family engages in, but he also has a weakness for a brilliant lie or a little clever gambling. He's perfectly matched with the luminously quirky Lila, who hangs over the book like DuMaurier's Rebecca (although not as evil or absent).
"White Cat" is a clever and unique urban fantasy, with some shocking twists and a grimy, dark atmosphere -- definitely Holly Black at her best. Can't wait to see what happens with the Curse Workers next.
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Most recent customer reviews
Cassel is from a family of curse workers and is the only one that doesn't have the magic touch.Read more
I am not going to lie, this is the most complex/ complicated book I have read in some time (and by complicated I do not mean "the author...Read more
Set in an alternate reality almost identical to the Earth we live in with one small difference, some people are born with a...Read more
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