Sunday, July 1, 2012

Book Review: 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 mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, 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.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts 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, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

My thoughts
White Cat is a paranormal Young Adult book. The book tells a story set in our world, yet a small part of the population are born as workers. They can literally work people with their hands, by touching them they can change memories, bring good luck or bad luck, kill, and some other not quite average things.
The concept is new, or at least something I've never read before myself. Not only is it new, it's intriguing, mysterious and amazing.
Holly Black's writing style has a lot to do with this as well. Black has a rare talent for making you as a reader symphatize with a character, no matter what terrible crimes they have commited in the past. You can't help but feel sorry for a murderer, even though he deserved the hurt. 

I loved the main character, Cassel. It was refreshing to read a book with a male protagonist for once.
Cassel is a murderer, one of the bad guys. Cassel is manipulative, a murderer and very charismatic. He's a saint compared to the rest of his family, murder and theft is nothing extraordinary. And yet I felt sorry for him, I hoped he was innocent and everything was just a big mistake.
Cassel's character developed a lot during the book, he changed as he found out more and more things about himself and his family. Most happenings are predictable, but instead of being bothersome it only made me feel more connected to Cassel. At times I felt like yelling to Cassel what to do, so he wouldn't get hurt or something similar. I just hoped he would figure things out himself.

Despite the heavy subject and crimes, the book isn't dark. I do think the story is heading that way though. At the beginning of the book Cassel was an innocent young boy, at the ending he's deeply involved with the maffia and in great danger.

If you like paranormal books, you should definitely give this one a try. It's a unique read, I guarantee you.

Don't let the dull cover scare you. I don't get why this cover was chosen, it's in no way connected to the story in my opinion. 

My rating of this book

I borrowed the book from the local library. 

Other links
Find this book on Goodreads
Visit Holly Black's website here

~ Sylke


  1. I can imagine a male protagonist must be nice once in a while. And Holly Black's writing style sounds promising. In the synopsis I thought, for a minute, that it said 'course work is illegal' and I was violently nodding my head until I realized it was 'curse work'. Thanks for sharing! Hop on over to my Analysis of 'The Heart Asks' by Emily Dickinson :)
    Juli @ Universe in Words

  2. I love this! I like reading books with a male protagonist! :)

  3. I have been meaning to listen to the audio of this one day :)

  4. Yeah, male protagonists are cool! :)

    Great review!

  5. Yes, it's great to read a book with a male protagonist every once in a while.
    You should definitely listen to it Blodeuedd!


Thank you for sharing your thoughts =)