Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Review: White Cat, by Holly Black

First line: I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down.

Cassel lives in a world where magic is real and everyone knows about it. A person who works magic can change your luck, your emotions, your memories, your very form, just by the brush of their skin against your own. It's powerful. It's dangerous. Perhaps that's why they call is curse work.

Cassel grows up in a family where everyone is a worker - everyone, that is, except for him. He's the outsider, the one who doesn't belong, the normal guy. Normal, if you ignore the fact that he killed his best friend, Lila, when they were fourteen. At his private boarding school he has worked hard to maintain the image of "normal guy", but his facade begins to unravel after he wakes up on the roof of a school building and realises he's started sleepwalking again.

Removed from school and forced to clean up the old family house, Cassel starts to notice that some things don't sound quite right anymore. His brothers are keeping things from him. People are forgetting things. Why can't he remember what really happened to Lila? And what does the white cat - who keeps appearing in both his dreams and real life - have to do with all of this?

Cassel has one card to play in this game of lies and magic: he may not be a worker like the rest of his family, but he's learned the art of the con - and he's willing to con anyone in order to learn the truth.

I LOVED "White Cat". It was so different from anything else I've read lately, so refreshingly unique. Holly has created her fictional world perfectly: All the details come together and match up and make sense and you can believe, while you're reading it, that that's the way the world really is.
And that's how all fantasy writing should be.

Visit the Curse Workers website to find out more.