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White Cat (Curse Workers Series #1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Magical Con-Artists & More

In Cassel Sharpe's alternate reality, Curse Workers have the power to alter emotions, grant you luck, break your leg, or even kill you with a single touch of their bare skin. Although 'working' was outlawed in the early 1920s, curse workers have continued to thrive outs...
In Cassel Sharpe's alternate reality, Curse Workers have the power to alter emotions, grant you luck, break your leg, or even kill you with a single touch of their bare skin. Although 'working' was outlawed in the early 1920s, curse workers have continued to thrive outside of the law under the direction of mafia-like families of magical users. Cassel hails from a long and impressive line of curse workers and con artists. And while he's not a worker like his brothers Phillip and Barron, he can definitely claim the con artist status. But Cassel is going straight. While his mom serves time in jail, Cassel is attending an exclusive private school and trying to act normal - even if he does run a small-time betting ring to cover his daily expenses. Yet the perfect image he has so painstakingly constructed begins to crumble when Cassel begins dreaming about a white cat asking for his help and sleepwalking at school. Confused with the jumbled snatches of memory from his past and the various versions of truth his brothers offer in explanation for their increasingly odd behavior, Cassel finds himself deep in the tangled web of a mysterious conspiracy spanning years and involving every person he has ever loved.


In White Cat, nothing is as it seems: from the 'public' image Cassel creates of himself, his relationship with his brothers and mom, or to his own perception of himself and his abilities. Compelling and gritty, Cassel finds truth spilling forward at the most unexpected moments from the unlikeliest of sources. I am utterly intrigued to discover where Holly Black will take the Sharpe brothers next. All three have this unique love/hate relationship with each other, tied up in knots alongside their conflicting loyalties and hopes for the future. Not to mention their own skewed perceptions of family and loyalty. It's some truly heady stuff. Then there's Cassel's grandpa who is decidedly old school but who everyone just sees as old. But wowza, the man is a killer. Literally. Although I do wish he wouldn't spend so much time being cryptic with Cassel - his insights could have saved him buckets of time.

How could I not fall instantly in love with Cassel's profusion of con-man lingo and his obvious removal from anything remotely resembling a 'normal' relationship. Familial or friendly. In Cassel's world, a mother wouldn't hesitate to use her ability to manipulate her children's emotions or reward her kids for successfully pulling off a con. Heart-breaking but so incredibly engrossing. In this exceptionally character-driven novel, Holly Black has crafted a world so unlike any other YA book I've come across. White Cat is dark. Gritty. Intense. Just my kind of story.

posted by SeeMichelleRead on June 28, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

...

Before I bought this book, I read all the hype. The positive and negative reviews and decided to buy it. The beginning of the book was less than interesting, the only good thing about the book was that the main character was kind of likable. Other than that I had to for...
Before I bought this book, I read all the hype. The positive and negative reviews and decided to buy it. The beginning of the book was less than interesting, the only good thing about the book was that the main character was kind of likable. Other than that I had to force myself to continue. I was halfway through the book before I decided that I would finish it. I was so sure it would only get better and in the middle it was actually pleasurable. It was the last 50 pages or so that really disappointed me. The whole book he talks about how great a con artist he is and the rules to be a great con artist that he's learned. I was really ticked off when he continually did things that -to me- seemed to be the opposite of what he learned. First, he never knew when to back away from the con. Second, he continually thought he was smarter than everyone else. I understand that you have to be confident in yourself but it stupid to think you're the smartest person in the room. It makes you overly confident and that only leads to failure. Third, the main character became too pathetic and less likable. He seemed to think he was so smart while getting his butt kicked the entire time. The main character came up with and overly complicated answer to a situation that could have been dealt with much simpler. The ending was anticlimactic. I don't think I will be continuing this series.

posted by bookfanaticCP on December 8, 2010

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Magical Con-Artists & More

    In Cassel Sharpe's alternate reality, Curse Workers have the power to alter emotions, grant you luck, break your leg, or even kill you with a single touch of their bare skin. Although 'working' was outlawed in the early 1920s, curse workers have continued to thrive outside of the law under the direction of mafia-like families of magical users. Cassel hails from a long and impressive line of curse workers and con artists. And while he's not a worker like his brothers Phillip and Barron, he can definitely claim the con artist status. But Cassel is going straight. While his mom serves time in jail, Cassel is attending an exclusive private school and trying to act normal - even if he does run a small-time betting ring to cover his daily expenses. Yet the perfect image he has so painstakingly constructed begins to crumble when Cassel begins dreaming about a white cat asking for his help and sleepwalking at school. Confused with the jumbled snatches of memory from his past and the various versions of truth his brothers offer in explanation for their increasingly odd behavior, Cassel finds himself deep in the tangled web of a mysterious conspiracy spanning years and involving every person he has ever loved.


    In White Cat, nothing is as it seems: from the 'public' image Cassel creates of himself, his relationship with his brothers and mom, or to his own perception of himself and his abilities. Compelling and gritty, Cassel finds truth spilling forward at the most unexpected moments from the unlikeliest of sources. I am utterly intrigued to discover where Holly Black will take the Sharpe brothers next. All three have this unique love/hate relationship with each other, tied up in knots alongside their conflicting loyalties and hopes for the future. Not to mention their own skewed perceptions of family and loyalty. It's some truly heady stuff. Then there's Cassel's grandpa who is decidedly old school but who everyone just sees as old. But wowza, the man is a killer. Literally. Although I do wish he wouldn't spend so much time being cryptic with Cassel - his insights could have saved him buckets of time.

    How could I not fall instantly in love with Cassel's profusion of con-man lingo and his obvious removal from anything remotely resembling a 'normal' relationship. Familial or friendly. In Cassel's world, a mother wouldn't hesitate to use her ability to manipulate her children's emotions or reward her kids for successfully pulling off a con. Heart-breaking but so incredibly engrossing. In this exceptionally character-driven novel, Holly Black has crafted a world so unlike any other YA book I've come across. White Cat is dark. Gritty. Intense. Just my kind of story.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 18, 2010

    "The Con is Everything" - Holly Black's White Cat

    The main character of Holly Black's new book is named Cassel Sharpe and he's a liar. At the beginning of the book and even as the plot progresses there is no other way to describe him. He belongs to a family of 'curse workers' who don't exactly care too much for the law, and neither does Cassel, who runs a betting pool at his boarding school. With this kind of main character you can expect a fun ride down dark alleyways and seedy places. Readers will definitely be able to appreciate the grifting and conning skills he is developing.
    However, if you're expecting the mysticism and eerie magic that permeated Black's other books, you better think again. Compared to her previous works such as Tithe and Valiant, this book seems to come in from left field, or right, or no field at all. As far as her writing goes, Black has seemed to deviate from a usual style that she had adopted to write Tithe, Valiant and Ironside (I have yet to read Poison Eaters.) to move in a different direction with a brand new first-person voice. While this adds a new element to the prose, I believe that it minimizes the magic that her previous works held, at least for me. Aside from this unfamiliar feeling and seemingly foreign territory, the main character's, Cassel Sharpe's, thoughts are entertaining and something that most teenagers can relate to. I found his character as well as other's to be interesting and Black did well to not reveal too much to quickly, or conceal the truth about some characters. It has to make the reader wander how the characters will develop over the series.
    Black is very skilled at dropping subtle hints in her stories, adding details that the writer may or may not notice which will impact the story later. Every writer who has more than just a basic, linear plot line will have these. In White Cat, Black played up the twists and turns but not unrealistically so. By page 100, I believed I knew exactly what was going to happen. I admit to being mistaken on a few accounts, but the rest was obvious to figure out (I won't reveal anything, don't worry.). I'm not sure if any readers felt the same way, but I wasn't cheated out of a good plot at all. The secret wasn't the story but how the characters coped with them.
    Black's prose has always been original and edgy in form which I think is what attracts readers, but with every young adult author trying their hand at darker prose and the vampire epidemic, it's hard to find two books that don't sound alike. I struggled to cope with how White Cat seemed to conform to this idea of teen-who-doesn't-fit-quite-right who turns out to be some kind of special thing. It's a proven formula. Make a teenager special and you'll give some hope to teenagers everywhere that they're special too. It's not a bad thing, but a very overused concept. ( Think of books like the Harry Potter series, The Demonata series, the Pendragon series and the Mortal Instruments trilogy.) This book follows that idea but Black presents the setting and characters in an original way.
    Though this may appear to be a negative review, it's not. I read White Cat in one night. As an ardent advocate for her books on the fey, I am a little biased in my opinion but I feel that this book deserves the attention of Holly Black fans everywhere. It's a perfectly fine book for a rainy afternoon and you just want to watch a teenage boy dupe some people with some pretty impressive grifts.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Highly Recommended

    I was surprised how much I ended up liking this one. The cover was kinda cheesy and to be honest I wasn't expecting much from it, I was also totally thrown by Jessie Eisenberg being the narrator. But it all worked.

    I thought the whole idea of 'curse working' was very interesting, and they did a great job of filling you in on this world without it turning it into a long lecture.

    Although Cassel seems to think he's a bad guy, I actually really liked him. He has loose morals when it comes to cons and scams, but never consciously did anything that would really harm someone. And considering his background, that's saying a lot. Anyway, I tend to get annoyed with characters who are too goody-goody.

    But on the flip-side of goody-goody... uhg his family. Without any spoilers... UHG! And while he has his little scams, I was torn on where I wanted the story to go with regards to the mafia-esque group. He has strong connections to it but I almost wanted to be able to protect him from them, because they are some serious bad-guys.

    I'm always torn on the 'twists' issue. On the one hand, I am super proud of myself when I figure it out before hand... but than I think, but I shouldn't have been able to right? So I did see most of these surprises coming (except that last DOOZEY!), but it wasn't so obvious that I was entirely confident I had it all right.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

    ...

    Before I bought this book, I read all the hype. The positive and negative reviews and decided to buy it. The beginning of the book was less than interesting, the only good thing about the book was that the main character was kind of likable. Other than that I had to force myself to continue. I was halfway through the book before I decided that I would finish it. I was so sure it would only get better and in the middle it was actually pleasurable. It was the last 50 pages or so that really disappointed me. The whole book he talks about how great a con artist he is and the rules to be a great con artist that he's learned. I was really ticked off when he continually did things that -to me- seemed to be the opposite of what he learned. First, he never knew when to back away from the con. Second, he continually thought he was smarter than everyone else. I understand that you have to be confident in yourself but it stupid to think you're the smartest person in the room. It makes you overly confident and that only leads to failure. Third, the main character became too pathetic and less likable. He seemed to think he was so smart while getting his butt kicked the entire time. The main character came up with and overly complicated answer to a situation that could have been dealt with much simpler. The ending was anticlimactic. I don't think I will be continuing this series.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Love it

    First off, I want to give my props to Holly Black because White Cat was pure genuis. Cassel is the youngest in a family of workers struggling to fit in. Cassle starts to sleepwalk making thing dangerous for the facade he so perfectly perfected. He starts to notice that things aren't right with his memory. He is still haunted by the death of his best friend Lila.




    After a series of events and sneaking around, Cassel finally comes to the conculscion that someone is working him. Cassel, not a worker himself, has come to know the ways of working someone without magic. With Cassel quick wittiness and cunniness, Cassel begins to fit the pieces of the puzzle that has haunted him for years.




    With his friends, Sam and Daneca, the only people he can trust, Cassel begins to formulate the revenage on those who hurt and betrayed him. And what's worse? The people who hurt and betrayed him are the ones he trusted the most.




    The adventure of reading White Cat was absolutley astounding. I enjoyed every minute of reading it. Holly Black wrote such a great story with an awesome plotline. I have never read something so enticing, so exciting that I was giggling with giddiness while reading it. I loved how the story was something unique, nothing repeated like other books out there. This was a great read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Cant wait for Red Glove

    This was my first book by Holly Black but it definitely won't be my last. White Cat is an exciting read that you will not be able to put down until you hit the last page. Imagine living in a world where an ungloved hand is like holding a loaded gun. That is the world that Holly Black has created in her new series (The Curse Workers). Curse working is illegal and some may say that it is for good reason. Curse workers can change your emotions, your memories, your luck, and more with only the slightest touch of their hands.

    White Cat is the first in the series and follows Cassel Sharpe. Cassel comes from a family of curse workers; unfortunately he is a non curse worker. Cassel has learned to survive in their world by becoming a talented conman. He has come to love everything about the con until he starts to suspect that he is the one who has been conned all along.

    Three years ago Cassel murdered his best friend Lila. He can't remember the details of that night but he does remember standing over her dead body with the bloody knife in his hand. He is haunted by that night and what it means. The only way that he knows hoe to cope is to blend into the crown and be as "normal" as possible.

    His careful façade comes crashing down when he almost sleepwalks off the roof of his dorm following a white cat. Why is this white cat haunting his dreams? What is the cat trying to tell him? Sent home to deal with his sleepwalking problem, Cassel first objective is to get back to school and his routine (away from his family). Cassel knows that his brothers work people but waking up to their whispered conversation leads him to believe they are hiding something more. Cassel is determined to figure out what is going on. What are they up to? How is Cassel involved? Is everything that Cassel thinks he knows a lie? Could his whole life be a con? What really happened to Lila? Could she still be alive? Finding the answers to these questions will change everything...but will it be for the better.

    Talk about cliffhanger ending. All I am going to say is that I am very pissed at Cassel's mother. Very very pissed! I mean why does Cassel always get the shaft?! Read it and you will know what I mean. I can't wait for Red Glove which is due out May 2011.

    http://bringmeanotherbook.blogspot.com/

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    My form of a drug

    This book is like an addictive drug. I cannot tell you how much i want there to be a ten zillion stars button. Everyone should read this book! It is really hard not to be a total spoiler when you've read this book! READ

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    White Cat is Red-Hot read

    i bought this book after hearing it mentioned in reviews associated with Cassandra Clare (my all-time fav!) I picked it up and was blown away with the awsome characters and amazing action. I felt for the characters and even laughed along with the book, something i dont do much. It was an amazing read with a just as good sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    BEST BOOK EVER!!!

    simply amazing!there's so many twists and turns that it keeps u on the edge of ur seat! i definitely recommand it!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2011

    A different kind of magic

    I love this book!! White Cat has such good characters, Cassel is such a good narrative voice. Even the characters, who are bad are made to be likeable. The whole cat concept blew my mind. You really have to pay attention to it. As for the tense you really don't notice it. The magic is really cool, and it seems real as its set in New Jersey but there's magic as if in the real world. Read it! Its excellent and a good story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent, and very different from most books.

    The story is a little complex from the start, and it was a little hard to get into without figuring out the facts first. After getting the story straight though, it's a very interesting concept and idea and thought this was definitely a different and unique read. Several characters are thrown at you, so keeping them in line is also a bit of a challenge but it's nothing to throw you off of your reading.

    The plot was really good and Cassel is the guy to cheer for. He's not your typical angsty teenager with a huge chip on his shoulder. Which is something I really did like. He's calm, cool, and collected, but also determined to figure out what's going on with his life and why he's been sleepwalking and having strange dreams. Another thing I loved about this book. No love triangles! it's about time! I've read countless of YA and it just seems standard to have a love triangle. You won't find one in this book. (Thankfully.) I really did like the idea of the curse workers being something akin to mafia crime families. That was certainly different and an idea I have not come across before. It did fit in nicely with the overall plot. Plus the scheming, plotting, and conning made it even better.

    Following Cassel through the hurdles provided a really good read, and towards the end you'd think everything would go well. Until there's a giant twist and the ends in a cliffhanger ending. However that seems to be the constant theme throughout the novel as Cassel starts to put the pieces together and as the twists get bigger, the plot takes several shocking spins. It made reading the book really exciting and made the pace go fast.

    If you love scheming, shocking twists, and con artistry at its finest, pick this book up. It's a perfect blend of magic, and mafia crime families in one nice package. Combine this with fabulous writing and it's an excellent book to read through. Can't wait to read the second book of this series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Follow the white cat down the rabbit hole!

    Holy smokes, there was a lot to digest in WHITE CAT - and the ending, dear Readers, is one surprise of the bittersweet sort! Betrayal, con artists, quirky friends, mysterious cat - Holly Black has the recipe to keep us in awesome suspense! I got a little confused about the curse-working, but I think that it's starting to make sense now. Definitely keeping an eye out for RED GLOVE when it comes out!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 11, 2011

    Enjoyed this twist on the teen lit paranormal genre

    This book was a refreshing read for the teen lit paranormal genre. So many books are only about falling in love, and reading about a male protagonist's search for his identity was a nice change of pace.

    Author Holly Black writes a very convincing world where magic exists through a finger's touch. The book's lead, Cassel, finds himself embroiled in his family's drama through no real fault of his own. They're a family of con artists, so the book abounds with twists and turns.

    Once I picked this book up I had a hard time putting it down. I'm very much looking forward to the second book in this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2011

    Great book for lovers of fantasy and or YA.

    I started White Cat yesterday, and ended up finishing it in the same day. Though at some points (as others have said)the plot flows slower than you might want, Black makes up for that with a compelling narrative. Cassel is an intriguing main character, and has a wit like a razor blade. The book is both funny and sad in alternate parts, and I couldn't put it down. It would be good for those who have interest in organized crime as well as fantasy lovers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2011

    Great plotline and very thrilling!

    I loved the story of the three Sharpe brothers and their grandfather. It's an intriguing world with a rivetting plotline. I loved the descriptions of the 'con' and what it means to be a scam artist!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Mixed Feelings

    I am extremely divided on what I think of this book, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt since it is only the first in the series. I found it to be a great new idea that I loved reading, and the only issue I had with it was where it left us at the end. I'll certainly pick up the next book in the series just to see where it goes.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 2, 2010

    Highly Recommend!!! I <3 Cassel!!!

    I loved the whole idea of being a curse worker. This book was so creative a great change from all the vampire and fallen angel books I've been reading lately. This book is fast-paced and the twist in it I did not see coming. I loved how it wasn't predictable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 2, 2010

    Wow!

    I at first was a bit skeptical about reading this book,but when I did I absolutely loved it:) It's a great read and i JUST LOVE THIS BOOK:)

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Clever as the devil and twice at pretty...

    I thought at the beginning of this book it was a little confusing, but after a few chapters I started really liking it. I guess I didn't know much since I have never even heard of the word curse worker, but wow! Holly Black has some out standing ideas! The characters were fantastic, but it was also very shocking. Just gets to show you, never to outcon a conman.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting series, different from other magical series

    This book was excellent. The start was a little slow but once everything started to unravel that's when it got really good. I can't wait for the next one and see what adventures Cassel has in store.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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