Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Book Review: White Cat

 Here it is, the review for White Cat and waaayyyy earlier than I expected. Most of the time I don't start searching the various library catalogs until a new book has been out for say, four months? But I'm certainly not complaining that I found it at my college library this early but I would love to know what goes on in the book selection committees nearly every library has, I just can't figure out what they're requirements for a new book are (and I'm certainly not saying they made a bad choice with White Cat, I just don't see any rhyme or reason to the choices) .
White Cat by Holly Black
No real thoughts on the cover, it just does what it needs to do here, just the fact that the copy I got out of my library looked like it had been attacked by a gang of angry zippers. Thankfully they just ate up the clear plastic cover the library puts on all the books but it still had me puzzled what this book had been through.

Summary: Even if Cassel manages to con those around him into thinking he's a normal teenager his family certain isn't. Born untalented into a family of "curse workers," people with magical powers that can kill, bring luck, or many other things with a touch of a hand, Cassel is trying to escape that decidedly dark past and move on in the world. But he doesn't seem ready to give it up entirely and eventually realizes that things are even less clear than previously thought and that he seems to play a big role in the whole mess.

The Good: This had a pretty rich setting and I loved how it was set up (a little exposition-y but considering it showed little details like how Australia has a higher percentage of curse workers due to it's former penal colony status and that this also resulted in much less organized dab hand crime I'll live with it gladly). In fact, when it looked like Cassel was going to be emo and not have any interaction with the world around him I wanted to yell at him if he knew how lucky he was and how many characters would love to have a setting where the author put some additional depth in it. And in my continued love for side characters I really liked Sam, Cassel's roommate, who came off as wonderfully three dimensional (some of the other side characters also did and some didn't and this is really a book where Cassel is the only "main" character even if there are one or two other central ones).

The Bad: Okay, the deal with the white cat, was that honestly supposed to be a plot twist? Forget figuring it out after a few chapters, I guessed that when the first synopsis came out. To be completely truthful I didn't expect that to actually happen BECAUSE it was so dang obvious and nearly beat my head against a wall when it happened. Also, when I started reading it I was thinking "a non-magical character in a magical(ish) world? SWEETNESS." Then I kept reading and after only a few chapters realized that no, he's gonna be magical after all too and it's probably going to be some super-special-awesome power to boot. I understand that both of these aspects are vital to the book (and probably the whole trilogy) but they didn't feel original or subtly done at all and that just bugged me.

So, I enjoyed the book when I was reading it but only certain points of it stuck with me. I'm already forgetting many of the characters names, disgruntled at how some characters were too shallow and how other things were too simple in the book but it was certainly worth the read. It's the first in a trilogy, The Curse Workers, and I believe the second book (Red Glove) is due out sometime next year.
Hmm, maybe I can fit in another review today, I hear a certain British detective just calling my name...

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