Review – White Cat (The Curse Workers #1) by Holly Black


White Cat (The Curse Workers #1)

By Holly Black

SummaryCASSEL 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 criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, 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.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things to, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to outcon the conmen.

Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic, where a single touch can bring love – or death – and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

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Source: I purchased a paperback from my local indie bookstore.


I’m a huge fan of Holly Black’s novels, so when I saw White Cat at my local bookstore on a day I decided to browse, I immediately picked it up. The synopsis was intriguing, but I knew little about it. As a blogger and Bookstagrammer, I feel like there are very few books I’m unaware of, especially by some of my favorite authors, so I was excited to dive into a book I knew nothing about. When I bought it, it wasn’t even sure if it was YA or not. 

I really enjoyed White Cat. It was an interesting story set in a world where some people were curse workers and had abilities like affecting memory, breaking bones, creating luck, transforming people and items, etc. At one point, these workers were banned from using their abilities and, like prohibition, it created a haven for mobsters and crime families to erupt and have an underground trade. Cassel’s family was one of those crime families, though Cassel himself had no abilities.

Cassel was in school, trying to live his life after a major mistake he made. He found himself waking up on a roof and everyone thought he was trying to commit suicide or ask for help, but he felt like he was sleepwalking. The event spun out of control and his family suddenly had him under his wing out of concern for him, but what was really going on?

I loved White Cat. It was dark, a bit gritty, and Cassel was such a great character. He was who he was and I felt like he was a likable character who was honest. The author is a woman, but she nailed Cassel’s character and his narration, which is something I don’t see very often. In a book where the main character is supposed to be part of a crime family and isn’t special, he could’ve easily come across as soft or too introspective or whiny and I think Holly Black captured his naivety and impulsiveness in a way that felt real. I’m so impressed by Cassel’s character and her portrayal of him and his whole family. 

I highly recommend White Cat. I had so much fun, it was entertaining and dark and so intriguing. I love how Cassel conned people and loved it and still held grudges against his family for conning other people or using their abilities. I loved the family dynamics and being in Cassel’s head. I don’t know whether to continue the trilogy because I absolutely loved the book and I don’t know that I want to face the possibility of a second book syndrome or anything awful. White Cat is an absolute must read for fans of urban fantasy. 

Star 5


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