Saturday, 8 January 2011

Mini Review - White Cat / Holly Black

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. Goodreads.

Review - I love life's grit as presented in youth literature and Black has managed to brilliantly integrate the urban scrounge with fantasy elements.  It makes for a compelling mix especially with her unique voice.  Disregard all the surface elements and world building and you have a story that thoughtfully explores family, isolation, sacrifice and responsibility.  There is a hefty amount of smoke and mirrors which weaves effortlessly around the more universal elements that struck emotional chords.  Black is an author that has eluded my attention previously, however White Cat has created an appetite for her perspective on teen life within a fantastical context.

Recommendation - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with teen boys and magic - love.

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Hardcover, 310 pages
Published: May 4, 2010
Source: purchased
Origin: USA


Allison said...

You've made me want to pick this up, I haven't gotten around to it yet. I definitely appreciate when YA fantasy authors add in some of the grit mainly found only in more adult fantasy novels.

Alex Bennett said...

I've heard mixed things, but I definitely plan on reading it soon!

greenspace said...

I loved White Cat - was captured by the mystery, the questions of who did what to whom and why. great exploration of truth & lies, self-awareness, family & loyalty, and getting what you wished for...

straight after White Cat I read Toni Jordan's Fall Girl - fascinating to see a similar-but-different tale of a family of con-artists.

Rachel said...

I'm looking forward to reading this one, it sounds really interesting. I love having to think, to work out what's really happening, so this'll hopefully be good for me.