White Cat by Holly Black

The Curse Workers #1.Margaret McElderry(Jan. 2010)Library
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.

Okay so White Cat felt so out of the box for me. Con artists, gangsters, and a completely new world where magical powers were real. Those magical powers might have been real, but people with them were not accepted. Mostly "curse workers" were hated and feared which is nothing new with fantasy books. The idea of curse workers on the other hand is a wholly new idea that could get really crazy. There are curse workers and some certain magical items that are sold that can manipulate anyone they want. Curse working felt like a much more dangerous form of magic because this story came to life so much for me under Holly Black's guidance. Also, I was always worried about Cassel and was invested in his character. There is so much that happens to our main character, Cassel, that you just want to hug him as well as shake him roughly by his collar. The reason you want to shake him isn't necessarily because he does stupid things; it's that he does stupid things because he cares and he wants to know the truth. He drove me insane with worry.

Before I get into more of what I thought about White Cat I want to explain the story. Cassel is the only non-worker in his family. His mother is in jail for curse working. I'm still not sure if it's exactly illegal to curse work, but you have to be careful when you use your ability. Her ability is to manipulate others in believing what she wants them to believe. So she can talk you into giving her all your money if she wanted to or fall in love with her so you'll do anything for her. There isn't much of her around, but I'm sure we will see more of Cassel's mother in the next books to come.

Cassel has two brothers, Barron and Phillip. Barron has the ability has to do with luck I believe while Phillip can break a bunch of your bones without even trying. They are both gangsters for the Zacharov crime family. Their grandfather is a death worker. He touches you, you're dead. You know how magic always comes with a cost? The same thing with curse working. You get a "blow back" of your ability so you need to be careful when using it. Anyway, this family is the most dysfunctional family I have read about in the longest time. Most of who Cassel surrounds himself with are horrible people except two normal people with him at school. He also has flashbacks to this girl he used to like, Lila, who he killed so...yeah. Well Lila, wasn't a very nice kid growing up yet he had a crush on her. I don't know why Cassel likes to surround himself with crazy people, but I hope he learns quick because honestly he may be rough around the edges (he runs a gambling ring at his school and the whole killing thing...), but he is so much nicer than everyone else. I couldn't understand his motivations really. I know family is important, but sheesh...

Cassel's family are so sneaky and untrustworthy. There are things taking place that don't make sense to Cassel so much so that you can't look away. I was constantly wondering what is going to happen with Cassel. What on Earth is going on!? It became a reoccurring thought whenever a new twist was revealed. White Cat can be such a dark book in a way yet it's so captivating like I had to read this in one sitting. I spent all night reading White Cat because I needed to know what was going to happen next and will Cassel be okay. What is the truth and what are the lies? If you are looking for something that's not your typical read and you enjoy stories dealing with magic, you are sure to enjoy the whirlwind that is White Cat.


  1. Ah yes, poor Cassel. He has such a crappy family! But yes, I definitely appreciated how unique this one was compared to most other fantasies I read these days.

    1. I really hope he gets some sense and keeps the nice friends and one family member and dumps everyone else in his life.

  2. This story sounds intriguing! I've always wanted to read a Holly Black novel, and this one sounds like my kind of book
    Great review Adriana!

    1. I've been the same way with Holly Black books. I've always wanted to read them but haven't until now. I want to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown be her real soon. I hear that's fantastic.


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