It’s Monday again and by the time you start reading this I’ll have already been at work for at least an hour. Yes, the life of a working student is drab indeed but somehow I find it oddly thrilling at times. Today, I’m going to review the book I had intended to review last week. For those of you who remember, that’s right! It’s time for me to look at White Cat by Holly Black, a book I felt intrigued to read mainly because of its male protagonist (not that the blurb wasn’t good but when I saw that the protagonist was a boy I got rather excited). So here goes.
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 behaviour 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.
(Picture and Description compliments of Goodreads)
So I read this book two weeks ago and right now I’m sitting here completely unsure of what I thought. Let’s be methodical. It was a good story, a pretty good plot actually. I quite liked the characters and the weave of the plot. Just at this point I don’t have it in me to gush… But wait. Male protagonist? Good story! HUZZAH! I also know that I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Red Glove. Unfortunately, I felt like I knew the story of the white cat and what Cassel truly is before it’s really revealed. I know it possibly couldn’t be helped but at the same time I was saddened by how early I realised what was going on.
Author’s Voice/ POV:
The author’s voice here wasn’t full of the excitement that I’m used to. I don’t want to say bland because it wasn’t. Reading a few sentences won’t convey anything but the real movement comes from the characters and I like how unassuming the words are individually and I love how together with the characters they make the story truly come alive to me. It might not make sense to you but it does to me, which I guess is the most important thing? You really need to read this book to see.
Cassel Sharpe is the first male protagonist I’ve had a chance to meet this year. He should feel special but he probably doesn’t so I’ll feel special enough for the both of us. So as I said, I was quite excited to read the book just to see how such an experienced author handles a male character because I recently received a comment about how a male character of mine sounded like he was written by a girl. It had never truly occurred to that male characters that were written by women had the potential to sound like they were written by women. Well, it had never actively occurred to me. Cassel seemed insecure to me and rather angst-ridden but it was in a more subdued way than I am used to. I quite liked the way he cares for people so much and I liked how he dealt with the huge betrayal in the book (can’t say more because it would be a huge spoiler). He is quite a smart boy and somehow that comes as a surprise even though I watched him commit several cunning cons.
This was quite possibly, the best part of the entire book. The looking at magic as curse work and using the idea of the mafia and then placing it in such a normal scene. I loved how well Holly Black wove reality in with the fiction of her novel. I loved how people wear gloves as part of their everyday lives and that people speak of discrimination of curse workers. I thought it was more than well done. I also love how Cassel is such an integral part of the tale and how at one part he’s the bad guy and then suddenly he’s actually the victim but at the same time he’s still done bad and he doesn’t know how to make it right. I love how perfectly the betrayal was woven in, it did take me longer to see it coming even though nothing else could really make sense. The only thing I don’t love about it is somewhere near the end how things are handled with his brothers. The conclusion with Philip was acceptable, but the conclusion with Barron? While it made sense, I was left feeling a little unsatisfied.
In a word: Good. I thought the cover was really quite compelling and although I did not read a blurb (kindle version) the descriptions on Amazon and on Goodreads made me feel very interested.
I think I will give White Cat a review of 3.5 out of 5 stars. I’m probably going to re-read the book and do another review if I feel like I really didn’t do the book proper justice.
I’ve always wanted to read something by Holly Black. I read all the articles on her website religiously when I was just a tad younger and I’ve always read her book descriptions but I had accepted the fact that I might never read one of her books. You wouldn’t believe my joy at finally being able to get my hands on one. Especially one that was so in my comfort zone. Now I’ll bit you all good bye. Because it is actually Monday now and I have work.
Read, read, read!
K, the Popinjay.