Book Review: The Curse Workers: White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat (The Curse Workers #01)
by Holly Black
9781416963967, $17.99, Pub. Date: May 2010

Introducing the beginning of a new Holly Black series! So dark, so complicated, so witty - so wonderful.

How to explain this book to without giving a page-by-page detailed explanation? Okay, let's begin with setting. The time is now, or sometime mirroring now, with the cars, phones, technology, etc. that we have. The difference is the existence of curse work. Some people have the ability to work curses, magic, by touching other people with their bare hands. There are different types of curse work - memory curses, emotion curses, and transmutation curses. Curse working has been outlawed and everyone wears gloves to avoid touching each other with bare hands.

Enter Cassel Sharpe. He was born into a family of curse workers, and though he's an excellent con artist, he's not actually a curse worker. That doesn't mean there isn't something a little magical going on. Cassel keeps dreaming of a white cat, and waking up not in his boarding school dormitory bed. His dreams tend to center around one event he'd like to forget: the night he killed the girl he loved, Lila Zacharov. She was the daughter of the powerful head of the Zacharov crime family. The only reason Cassel is still alive is that his older brothers, all powerful curse workers, covered up for him.

While this all sounds strange in its own right, the part that's more bizarre is that Lila's curse magic was an ability to turn into other animals, and a white cat was her favorite. How is Lila controlling Cassel's dreams if she's supposedly dead? As the complex plot unfolds, Cassel begins to realize he can't trust anyone or anything - not his own family, and worst of all, not even his own memory. Someone has been curse working him. Now if only he could figure out who and why...

Throw in a dysfunctional family, a girlfriend who just dumped him, the beginnings of actual friends for the first time in his life, and you've got one heck of a teenage life to get through.

The Odyssey Bookshop welcomes 
Holly Black & Cassandra Clare 
in a duo-author event on 
May 11th at 7 p.m.!

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