Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Review: White Cat

White Cat, by Holly Black. The GoodReads summary:
The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty--he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas--and a plan to con the conmen.
Reading this book was a slightly weird experience for me. I feel like I started reading it, then it just flew by, and it was over before I knew it. Usually I’m pretty aware of where I am in a book and how fast I’m reading it, but not with this one. It completely sucked me in a strange way--not strange in that it wasn’t a good book, just strange because it isn’t necessarily my normal kind of book. I feel like I’m totally rambling and not making sense here, so I’ll just skip on to the review.

I did really like the book. I really thought the whole curseworkers thing was well executed (there’s some small portion of the population that can work a very specific individual type of magic if they touch bare skin with their hands). I like how the author was able to make the curseworking such a normal part of the story’s society. It’s an alternative reality, but it felt like it could be real, and I really appreciate when an author is able to make something completely incredible completely credible.

For once, having a male narrator didn’t bother me (I KNOW. Alert the press!). I guess it was partly because Cassel just seemed like a normal, likeable guy, but it was probably mostly because I got so caught up in the story that I forgot to be annoyed that I was reading a book with a male main character. I just really got sucked in by all the curseworker/mob/con/family drama/mystery going on. In a vague way, it kind of reminded me of Heist Society/Uncommon Criminals, by Ally Carter. I think it was the whole con aspect. Except it’s more serious in this book; less . . . lighthearted, I guess.

I will admit that quite a few of the plot points were predictable, and I pretty much always could guess where the story was going and how. But I think it was all executed well enough that it didn’t bug me as much as it usually does.

Overall, I thought this book was really well done. I didn’t really know what to expect going in to in, but it ended up hitting the spot for me. I don’t even know what genre I would put it in--it’s kinda a drama-y/mystery-ish/magic-y story? Whatever. The point is, it was good, and if you looking for a break from the fluffier YAs, I’d definitely recommend this one. I might even read the sequel.

Rating: 3.5/5


  1. I think I read the first few chapters of this one and then stopped. I don't know what it is about reading from a male POV lately, but they just haven't been done well enough to really hold my interest. Except for The Piper's Son by Melina Marchetta...

  2. I want to read this but I'm thinking of trying it in audiobook form. Jesse Eisenberg from The Social Network does the narration and I've heard he portrays Cassel as a likeable nerd.

  3. I really like this series. I like the male POV. Red Glove is really good. I can't wait until Black Heart comes out.


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