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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 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 March 22, 2014

    I was bored with this. Took awhile before I could even figure ou

    I was bored with this. Took awhile before I could even figure out what exactly was going on. Did not understand the whole scam, magic, workers, etc. Just did not come together for me.

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  • Posted December 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Way I summarized the book to friends in four words: Cat-girl and

    Way I summarized the book to friends in four words: Cat-girl and magical mafia.

    It's true.

    I'm not going to say the book was bad; I enjoyed learning more about the workers and the world that Holly Black as created. The dynamics of the workers - how working is illegal, why the worker families have control over so much, the different types of working - was all really fun to read about.

    Cassel is a somewhat interesting character - I couldn't really connect to him, but I liked reading about him. Cassel's grandfather and Sam were probably my favorite characters, and I liked the scenes where all of Cassel's family was together. Family dynamics are always fun.

    But the world took a very long time to set up. I predicted what would happen with the white cat, with Cassel, with Sam, with the love triangle. One of the main characters was a bit of a bully who, though an interesting character, I didn't like. Characters were introduced that seemed to have no point (though they may have a point later on in the series.)

    It was something I could put down easily and not think about until I had a spare few minutes, which is probably why it took so long to finish.

    It was just... meh.

    Also, don't forget to read who Holly dedicates the book to. It's, sadly, my favorite part of the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2012

    I have read better...

    Hi, im 13 i got this book for my ride to California. Unfortunately this book was extremely hard for me to get into. I prefer books that i can't put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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