White Cat by Holly Black (Canada) - (USA)
The Curse Workers, Book 1
Pages: 310 pages
Finished: May 14, 2010
First Published: May 4, 2010
Publisher: McElderry Books
Genre: YA, urban fantasy
I woke up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Simon and Schuster Canada.
Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of the author.
Set in an alternate reality almost identical to the Earth we live in with one small difference, some people are born with a special ability which is called a "curse". One must touch another's skin for the effects to take place. These "curse workers" are a minority of the population and their curses range from luck to changing emotions to causing death. In this world everyone wears gloves to keep everyone safe from "curses". No one knows who may be a "worker" but working itself has been deemed illegal.
In this world Cassell finds himself the only non-worker in a family of workers. His family, along with others who have a strong heritage of workers, are what we would call organized crime families, mobsters and con artists. Since Cassell can't "work" he at least has honed his skills as a con artist. But his life starts to unravel when he finds himself sleepwalking, having dreams sent from a white cat and beginning to notice some unaccounted for events in his life. His brothers act strangely when he asks them about it and Cassell begins to feel that perhaps he is the subject of a huge con himself.
I loved every word of this book! I was hooked from the first sentence and couldn't continue with my regular life until I had finished the book. The world Black creates here is very dark and dangerous. One wonders if any character can truly be trusted and the main character himself is not exactly an honest citizen. The direction the story takes is surprising and makes compelling reading. The unexpected actions of characters, including Cassell himself, are shocking and yet as one gets to know them not out of character at all. In this world of dark magic and crime the back stabbing characters are always at each other and it's as matter of magic against magic and wits against wits. The ending is absolutely brilliant and so appropriate! Don't expect any happy, happy, joy, joy ending here! I can't wait for book two!