White Cat by Holly Black

white-cat-holly-black

Rating: 4 Stars ★★★★☆

I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles.



Plot

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 criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, 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.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things to, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

Review

This book was a lot of fun to read. I couldn’t put it down. I have a fondness for books about conmen and I love magic systems that are different and White Cat delivered on both.

In this world, curse workers can work different types of magic: for example, they can erase memories, kill people, transform them into something else or they can take their luck. All with just one touch of their bare fingers. It comes at a price, though.

Every time he takes a memory from me or Maura or all the other people he must be stealing them from, he loses one of his own. Blowback.



This is why everyone wears gloves: so they cannot be touched or touch others.

In America, magic was forbidden together with alcohol and it drove the curse workers into the underworld. In that regard, nothing changed. Cassel’s family is a family of conmen and his grandfather was a killer for one of the great criminal families.

Cassel is always working, scheming, trying different things. I really liked that and I liked the mystery of the plot: why did he kill his best friend Lila?

I imagine crushing her throat with my hands and am relieved to be horrified. I feel guilty when I think of killing girls, but it’s the only way I know to test myself, to make sure that whatever terrible thing is inside of me isn’t about to get out.



Most of the mystery was not too difficult to figure out, but the fun dialogues and tension-packed plot made more than up for the straightforward story.

Conclusion

A great world and magic system and a riveting story.

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