In honor of the release of Holly Black’s latest book, The Darkest Part of the Forest (which I finished, review coming) I thought I would highlight my favorite series of hers: The Curse Workers.
White Cat, Red Glove and Black Heart follow Cassel, who is a bit of an outsider. He comes from a long line of magical con artists and grifters but he himself has no powers. So he doesn’t really fit in with his family, who are all curse workers. His brothers work for the mafia and his mother is in jail because curse work is illegal. He doesn’t fit in at school because of his family. His classmates all know who they are and what they are. Cassel is also pretty guilt ridden because he killed his best friend, Lila.
Cassel may not have the ability to make people forget like his brother or manipulate people’s thoughts like his mother but he’s not completely without his talents. Growing up in a household of con artists, he’s picked up a few things here and there. He’s the resident bookie at his swanky boarding school. He knows how to get what he wants. If only he could get over the guilt.
Cassel starts to have dreams about a mysterious white cat and things are starting to fall apart around him and not making sense. He’s starting to wonder what really happened the night Lila was killed. Maybe she isn’t dead after all. In looking for answers, he discovers a plot for more power, he attracts the attention of both the FBI and his brother’s mafia boss (who also happens to be Lila’s dad). Congress is planning on new legislature on curse workers, making things even more tense in his family. Oh, and Cassel may not be without magic after all.
I really enjoyed this series for one reason, Cassel is Mr. Sassy pants (Kate can attest to that)(speaking of Kate, did you read all three?) The characters and the settings are believable. It is a mixture of crime story, who-dun-it mystery and magic. Cassel is a good guy, who wants to do the right thing but that’s not always easy when your family members are criminals and everyone else is willing think the worst of you because of them. Cassel uses all of his guile and con artist tricks to solve problems and get him, his family and his friends out of trouble. You can’t help but root for him.
And speaking of Ms. Black, you should also read her vampire book, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown.
This is one of the best vampire stories I have read. It’s very modern and with the times. Vampires were content to staying under the radar until one went rogue and started spreading the disease of vampirism rampant. The government, in response has quarantined cities where it was the most widespead. No one was allowed to go in or leave without permission, even if they weren’t infected. Vampires however, discovered the internet and live feeds and made the forced quarantine into reality shows and full of stars.
Tana lives not to far from a Coldtown, what the quarantined cities are called. One morning she wakes up after passing out in the bathtub after a night of partying. She finds everyone else dead from a vampire attack, her ex-boyfriend tied to a bed and a very hungry looking vampire also tied up. With the help of the imprisoned vampire she tries to rescue her ex but gets bit by another vampire in the process. She can’t go home and risk her family so she, Gavriel, the mysterious vampire, and the Ex go to Coldtown. Tana is strong in that she is determined to help those she cares about, even if that means leaving them behind. The Ex is kinda of annoying but that is why he is the ex but Gavriel is real book boyfriend material. I definitely recommend it to anyone whether you like vampires or not.