Friday, June 24, 2011
Curses and Cons
Magic and the Mob
In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.
Holly Black’s latest novel, Red Glove, is even more amazing than White Cat, (book one in The Curse Workers series). Cassel Sharpe is back at Wallingford Preparatory for his senior year with his best friend Sam, and Sam’s girlfriend, Daneca. Lila Zacharov, the mob boss’ daughter, has also enrolled. The harder Cassel tries to stay away from her, the harder it gets.
Red Glove dives right into the story, back into the world I fell in love with in White Cat. A place where people are born with the ability to curse, but since no one knows who’s a curse worker and who isn’t, everyone is forced to wear gloves. A bare hand elicits terror from those who fear being cursed… which seems to be pretty much everyone.
Cassel Sharpe is one of my favorite male characters in any YA series. He’s also the narrator. That’s another thing I love about this series: first person, male point of view. It’s something we don’t get a lot of in young adult literature. Personally, I like most of the characters in this series. The characters all interact and respond in a way that is completely believable. They stay true to themselves. Despite this being a world where magic exists, it feels very real. It’s a world I’m glad I don’t live in, to be honest.
The curse working makes this book stand out against the other young adult urban fantasy, where we get a lot of vampires, witches, faeries, etc… It’s a nice way to shake things up, read something different. And another thing I love about this series is the “blowback”. Blowback is what happens to a curse worker after working a curse. It’s retribution for what they’ve done… Karma… And I love that it’s worked in here because I think it doesn’t happen often enough that people have direct consequences for their actions.
Amazing novel, Holly! I seriously can’t wait until book three, Black Heart, hits shelves.
Be sure to check out The Curse Worker’s site for a short story called Lila Zacharov in 13 Pieces, a fantastic book trailer, and extras!