Monday 31 October 2011

White Cat review

White Cat
Holly Black
June 17th 2010 (UK)
Orion/Gollancz (UK)

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.
Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.
You know how sometimes when you finish a book, and you have to sit back for a minute and just think about how awesome the book you just read was? Yeah. White Cat. 
I'm not gonna lie, this is the second time that I've tried to read this book, the last time being last September, and both times I found it pretty hard to get into, Back in September I just sort of stopped and read something else, but I really regret that! After getting through the first 50 odd pages, I was really into it, and I was starting to connect a lot more to the story and Cassel.
I think Cassel is one of my favourite characters of the year. Or at least one of the best realised. I could completely believe every turn his mind took, and every reaction he had to what he found out over the course of the book. He wasn't perfect, he wasn't anywhere near, but he was incredibly believable. And, he was exactly what I like in a character because he was his own person, because sometimes with first person the MC is so bland that it doesn't seem that they're even meant to be a character at all.
I also really fell in love with the world Holly created, with the big Mafia influence, and I liked learning about all the little differences between our world and this one, where Workers exist. I thought all the Worker info was really interesting too, and the crime families! I loved the whole plot with the crime families and lies and cons and magic, it was just awesome! And so different.
Lila was a really fascinating character too. I won't spoil anything, but she's been through some shit, and I liked the combination of her manic pixie dream girl side, and her hurt and pain from the past 3 years. Philip and Barron were both great! They weren't essentially good guys, but I don't think anyone is in this world of cons and mobsters is. I loved all the themes of family, and who they would put first out of their real brother or the mafia, and their relationship with Cassel and each other was really interesting...
White Cat is an awesome book about cons, criminals, magic and mobsters, brotherhood and family and a whole other load of awesome. I need to read Red Glove!


  1. Great review! I've been wondering about this book for awhile but definetly sounds like one to add to the wish list. I love Holly Black's writing :)

  2. I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It was one of those where I thought "why did I wait so long to read this??" I agree that Cassel is a totally awesome character

    The Cait Files

  3. Gah, we keep hearing about Holly Black and this series. Your review is making us bump her/it up the list.


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