White Cat by Holly Black is the first in the Curse Workers trilogy and introduces us to a world where everyone knows that magic is real, but generally controlled by several families mob-style in the USA. I’ve been meaning to read this trilogy for over a year ever since I met Holly Black at a signing, and I’m so glad that the audiobook was available and of solid quality so that I can finally fit this great series in! If you enjoy the idea of an alternative history mixed with a dash of magic, definitely check these books out and maybe even the audio versions ;-).
White Cat by Holly Black
Narrated by Jesse Eisenberg
(Curse Workers #1)
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on May 4th, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 320 pages
How I got my copy: Purchased
Amazon - IndieBound - Book Depository - Goodreads
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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.
- White Cat is told from the main character, Cassel’s perspective, so having a male narrator who mostly stuck to his natural voice worked out well. I found myself easily imagining Cassel telling me the story of this period of his life over drinks ;-).
- I looooooved the magic system since it involved some powers I haven’t read much with before and “blowback” when you use your power. If you use your power for good to give someone good luck or make someone happy, you get good luck or happiness yourself. If however, you use your death curse or physical curse to hurt others, a part of your body suffers the same consequences.
- Another cool part of White Cat that I hadn’t realized is that it doesn’t take place in some far off fantasy world, it takes place in a version of the US where curse work has always been known to exist and is currently going through various stages of being banned and tested for and unbanned as with any other cause. I am pretty in love with these sorts of “out in the open” urban fantasy settings with alternative histories and everything :D.
- The plot of White Cat is concise and flows quickly. I enjoyed the twists even though I guessed some from having accidentally read the blurb for the second book once, but I was pleased to find that I never felt things were dragging along even with some nice world-building thrown in.
- The crime family twist in White Cat is a whole lot of fun. I’ve never been that in to stories with the mob, but the idea that the mob would be run by curse workers (for very good reasons too!) instead of our world’s incarnation makes me love the twist in White Cat. I especially love that the formation of the crime families makes complete sense with the alternative history that is touched on and that the families use curse workers the same way that tough guys are used in our crime families throughout history.
- I generally prefer narrators that have separate voices for each character since it makes it easier to keep characters straight during dialogue. The narrator for White Cat doesn’t do this, which I was generally fine to let go since like I said, White Cat is told in first person. However, it did make it a little confusing the follow the dialogue at times when he started to use a different voice and then didn’t stick with it.
- There are a lot of cool secondary characters in White Cat, but the book is just too short for them to get properly fleshed out. There are certain characters that I hope to get to know better as the trilogy goes on, but I definitely wasn’t satisfied with their portrayals in White Cat just because of the length.
- I was in a weird place mentally when I started listening to White Cat (remember that weird week where I just needed to read happy things?) and the beginning was a little too dark for me in that mind set. That darkness doesn’t continue too much though, so I ended up being fine once I got past the beginning. Just to warn you though, no pretty butterflies here ;-).
White Cat is a great start to a trilogy I know many readers have loved. I’m really excited to have finally jumped on the Holly Black fan bandwagon and I highly encourage you all to do the same! If you like audiobooks and don’t mind a narrator that doesn’t do individual voices, I do recommend White Cat since it is pretty short and you could easily listen to the whole thing in a week or two!
Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
White Cat by Holly Black
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