The Tainted Poet's YA Book Review:

A YA book review blog for anything out of the ordinary-- Paranormal, Supernatural, Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Complete with Reviews, Interviews and Contests-- So stay and have a look!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black

Rating: 4.5/5.0
Release Date: May 4, 2010
Age Level: Young Adult 14+
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Pages: 320

Recommend? I recommend this to readers who want something supernatural and awesome, but at the same time something completely different.

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.

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.
My Thoughts:

White Cat was awesome. Holly Black weaved a mysterious world where people, with just the touch of their hand, could kill you-- instantly. The idea of workers, in my opinion, is super creative on Holly's behalf. It's using magic, but with a completely different feeling to it. These people, with the touch of their hand can control your death, luck, dreams, emotions, memory-- they could even physically damage you with a mere touch, or change you completely with transformation. If you like supernatural YA fiction but are tired of reading the usual kind of thing, White Cat will be a breath of fresh air.

What really made White Cat so awesome was Cassel. He was such a real character-- someone who isn't bad, but not completely good. He's human. A con artist, but one with a conscience. It definitely made things interesting. I felt that some of the side characters like his brothers and even Lila weren't developed too deeply, but I have a feeling that that's all going to change in Red Glove, the second book in the series.

I like how Holly Black used the Mafia in White Cat. If you really think about it, this is the kind of thing the mafia would want a part of-- especially since 'working' is illegal. It's not something I would have thought of, but brilliant all the same. Also, the fact that everyone wears gloves, not just workers is pretty neat. Like, showing your hands is indecent. It's an interesting concept since when you think about it, your hands touch everything-- and direct touch could be something very personal.

Again, I want to stress how much I love the idea of workers: how they are oppressed, their tendency to work for the Mafia families, and how only about 1% of people born in America are workers. It goes so deep that I could write a whole paper on it! I feel like I could go on and on about the whole worker system, but I feel it is best explained in the book-- So you should definitely read it!

White Cat is the first book in Holly Black's series The Curse Workers. Red Glove, book two, will be released April 5th, 2011!


Cover: 5.0
Plot: 4.5
Characters: 4.0
Writing: 4.5

Source: Received from Publisher for Review.


  1. Sounds like it's a fantastic read! I can't wait to read it!

  2. I agree, the whole idea of workers and crime families and everything was very intriguing. I cannot wait until Red Glove comes out!

  3. I'm so angry my friends did not peer pressure me into reading Holly Black sooner. I read Tithe and The Good Neighbors this past summer, and ever since I've been salivating for more, more, more! I've only heard good things about White Cat; I hope to find it just as enchanting.

  4. I like how you used the word "real"

    HB's books, I notice, are always very "real" (even with the faeries and such)

  5. 4.5! I need to read this! Beautiful review. :)

  6. I LOVE this series! It only gets better with Red Glove! And I, too, love how vast and deep the world is! Holly is awesome!!

  7. Great review! I definitely agree that White Cat was a refreshing breath of fresh air in YA supernatural because there's been an influx of vampires and werewolves lately.
    I loved Cassel also and the whole mafia angle also. Perhaps the most intriguing part of the whole series was how personal an ungloved touch was.
    Can't wait to read your review of Red Glove!

  8. I don't usually start reading new series because then I have to wait for *years* until they finally end, but I just might make an exception in this case. :) Thanks for a great review...

    By the way, I think you meant to use the word "conscience" - not "conscious" in this sentence: "A con artist, but one with a conscious."

  9. This sounds great! I've been debating whether or not to pick this up but I think I will!

  10. I REALLY want to read this!! It has been on my to read list forever.

  11. I'm so intrigued by the Curse Workers. So clever.

  12. Yep, I agree 100% on everything stated here - I LOVED this book (I actually should be writing up my review right now...). The whole gloves and taboo hands thing was so cool for me and just the entire concept was great. Loved this one!

  13. I haven't read any books by Holly Black. This sounds really good.

  14. Great review! I agree that this book has a really original premise.

  15. Great review! So glad you enjoyed this one so much. :) I have it on the shelf here and do need to get to it. :) Thanks!

  16. Graat review. Love to read this book. Thanks for the good reiew

  17. This sounds pretty good. I like what i've heard about Cassel so far.

  18. Your blog is really good and helpful! Defiantly picking this one up .

  19. I read some books by Holly, her books are great and I really want read this book! Your reviews is great :) I love your blog!

  20. I've never read any book by Holly Black, so I'm adding this to my wish list! Thanks for your detailed review.

  21. These series sounds great...putting it on my TBR list

  22. I've never heard aboust this book before but This book sounds interesting. Thanks for the review.

  23. This series sounds really good, I have a big pile of books I still have to read. Somehow I always end up buying too many lol.
    But thanks for the review, love your blog! :)

    Check out mine, I just started it

  24. I absolutely adore the cover... I adore the man in black .. I adore the white cat ... :D would love to exchange with the cat :))) Must be a great story... I´m just a beginner in reading in English, as it is not my native language but I would definitely buy one day this title.-..

  25. I really want to read this book! Since i first read what it was about, i was so curious about it, because it sounds very original, and all the reviews are so good! Can't wait until i get my hand on a copy :)

  26. Oh I cant wait to read this book I am so obsessed with anything Mobster related right now!!!


  27. Makes me want to read just for the fact, that it doesn't deal with vampire. I hope. I love vampires, but I need a break from them also werewolves. I been having this book on my wishlist for a while.

  28. I loved this book too! It was so unique, from Cassle's character to the whole idea of curse workers. Great review! :)

    - Alyssa of Redhead Heroines
    Book Review of "White Cat" by Holly Black


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