Sunday, July 18, 2010

White Cat by Holly Black

White Cat by Holly Black
Publication Date/Version: May 2010/Hardcover
Publisher: McElderry Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Received From: Around The World Tours (Thanks!)

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.

Cassel is part of a curse worker family. They can block your memories, change your emotions, and cause you physical pain. Cassel, however, cannot. He resorts to lying and conning, as does the rest of the family because curse work is illegal. Little does he know, his best friend, the one he thought he killed, may not be dead, and he may be a part of a con larger than any he's ever known.

While I loved Holly Black's Tithe, and while White Cat had all of the makings of a great book, it didn't have that special something that made me love it.

Cassel is an obviously intriguing character with lots to hide and plenty of ways to do so. His family history is rich and creates a great setting. While it may seem hard to connect with a compulsive liar, we were allowed access to his feelings and thoughts, so I quickly felt for him. The story's beginning had me a bit confused, but that's to be expected from a book abut conmen.

Cassel's family consisted of a whole cast of characters, from kooky mom, to loving grandfather, to shady brother. I enjoyed Cassel, but the other characters, except for his grandfather, fell somewhat flat for me. I didn't connect with them on any level, and I didn't enjoy hearing about them, as many seemed cold and without emotions.

The plot itself was exciting and really kept me guessing. It's the type of story I love - it reminds me of Ocean's 11, 12, 13, and The Bourne trilogy, my favorite set of movies ever. It had all of the makings of a book I would love, but it didn't have that special something to make it shine and stand out from the rest, which, as you can imagine, really upset me and is still irking me as I write this.

I don't know what more to ask for from this book, but it didn't have that one, elusive something to make it special. It's still a solid read, but not one I'll be going back to. I may pick up the sequel, if there is one, but I don't know how much I'll pursue this series.

Overall: Really interesting plot. Flat characters. All the makings of a great book, but missing that special something.

My Advice: Borrow it. It's a solid read.

Cover: I love Cassel's face and hair. He looks absolutely gorgeous. I wish we could see his eyes, but at the same time it's incredibly smart when compared to the book's subject, because conmen read eyes and the emotions they show. So, it makes sense that his eyes would be covered. I don't like the title or name treatment, though. It takes up way too much space.

*This was read as a part of the 100+ Reading Challenge


  1. This is in the mail to me and I can't wait to start it!

  2. I haven't read this yet, but I've read many mixed reviews. Hmm. Maybe I'll save it for a while. Thanks for being honest!

  3. great review! I enjoyed reading your thoughts, and am glad to know about the characters. I'll definitely keep that in mind. For me, I couldn't stand TITHE, so I'm a little uncertain about this one, but I already own a copy so I guess I have to read it. I'm glad that you found the plot original! Maybe that'll make the flatness of the characters not so bad?

  4. Great review! I liked this book and am actually going to get to meet Holly next week... super pumped! Happy reading!

  5. Great review! I just gave you an award over at my blog!

    Here's the link to it. :)

  6. I was wondering just HOW good this book was. I hope my library will get it :) Oh, and I love the Oceans & Bourne movies too!
    I've never read a book by Holly Black actually–do you recommend that I read this one first or her Tithe series? I'm not really into gothic fantasy, but I'm thinking about trying one.


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