Thursday 15 July 2010

WHITE CAT by Holly Black

Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker.

Cassel's family are one of the big five crime families in America. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His granddad has been driven to drink, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic.

But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth.

Wow. This book was so awesome that as soon as I picked it up, I couldn't get it out of my mind.

It's no secret that Holly Black is an amazingly talented storyteller. She weaves fantastical stories that leap off the pages and captivate you so much that you can't put them down. And her latest--book one of The Curse Workers series, is just that: brilliant.

Cassel Sharpe lives in a world that's a lot like ours, except that it's also inhabited by Workers. People who can do things to others with a touch of their hands. It's the reason why everyone wears gloves and having your hands uncovered looks obscene and dangerous.

He's your average student at Wallingford Preparatory, or at least he pretends to be. He acts the way he's supposed to, even if he has a little betting business on the side. Being the only one in his family who is not a Worker is hard enough, without adding the fact that he once killed a girl and his family helped him hide it. His father's dead, his mother's in jail, and who needs enemies when he has brothers like Philip and Barron? Plus, he's just been kicked out of school because they think he's suicidal after being found on the school's roof.

But that's the least of his worries, because when he ends up with his grandfather cleaning the old family home, Cassel's life begins to unravel. He starts to dream and see a white cat--the reason why he was sleepwalking and ended up on the school roof--that reminds him of a girl he used to know and love. The girl he killed.

Haunted by the cat, he starts to wonder if he's been cursed, which leads to figuring out that things aren't as they seem in his family. And so begins his journey into the truth. What he finds out is both wondrous and woeful. The amount of secrets that are being kept from him are huge and have some very serious circumstances. Including showing what he's really like to a couple of people at school, something he's never been brave enough to do before.

White Cat is a riveting page turner of a book, with a great cast of characters and a whole lot of surreal and amazing situations. I got sucked in from the very beginning. Actually, I read it in three sittings because I just didn't want to put it down.

This is one awesome book! Loved it. Looking forward to reading more stories set in this very dangerous and unstable world.

White Cat, June 2010, ISBN 978-057-509671-4, Gollancz Paperback

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