May 23, 2012

Review: White Cat, by Holly Black

Author: Holly Black
Title: White Cat
Series: Curse Workers (#1)
ISBN: 9781416963967
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (May 4th 2010)

Buy your copy: Kindle | Paperback | Hardcover

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas—and a plan to con the conmen”
GoodReads’ blurb

Do I really have to rate this book? It’s so hard! I think at the moment it’s swinging between 3 and 4 stars... The next book will determine the course of the series for me.

The truth is that I’d been wanting to read this one for ages—come on, look at that super cool cover! Plus, it was told in a guy’s POV, which in my book pretty much equals a “should give it a shot”. So I finally had some credits free on Audible and got myself White Cat...

And it worked, mostly.

There were things I loved: the references to conmen, to conning; Cassel’s “brilliant” mastermind always trying to think in business terms, his not being a good person... Those caught my attention most, and kept me reading until the book fully took off.

That’s perhaps the thing keeping me from giving White Cat the four stars: it took me some effort to get into the book. If I hadn’t liked Cassel’s character, his references, the world he lives in where cursing is just your everyday occurrence... I’d not have pushed myself to read it. I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t gripped either. At first, I was indifferent and that’s never good.

Perhaps the flashbacks are to blame. I know they are important, but perhaps there were too many, or they were too long. Perhaps Cassel spent too long in the dark. I honestly can’t put my finger to it, but the first half of the story was uneventful for me.

Then, finally, there’s a purpose and all is right.

Well, not all. Cassel makes a choice regarding his brothers that I don’t think I can understand... not after what they’ve done to him. But, as they say, blood runs thicker and so on, so that’s not really detracting from the story. It’s just setting things up for books 2 and 3, I guess.

The ending was the part I liked best. The conman who is conned. And why. Very deep, and different from your average ending. If you’ve read this book, I’d love to compare ideas on how *that* is going to evolve...

I know I’ll read the next book. I’ve already purchased it, actually—but the competition in the audiobook pile is harsh. Dresden Files (who doesn’t love some Harry?) and The Laundry Files (Best. Series. Ever!) so I might not get to it right away... But I know it’ll be soon, because I want to know how Cassel does in the family business.


  1. White Cat is a book that have crossed in front of my eyes many times but I've never ventured into it beyond looking at its cover for sometime.

    So I was pleasantly surprised when I read that this has a male POV. I mean, who doesn't like the rare male POV YA books?!

    Also, I feel you when you say that it gets hard to rate a book that didn't grip you enough and in the end, you don't really know whether you just like it or really like it. But I think I will give this series a chance as well. Your review totally made me think about it for sure!

    1. Yeah! It's a male POV, and it's a pretty well done one too! Also, I think book two will be better, because we should be done with all the flashbacks we ever needed to tell the story so... now it's onwards! And, yes, the sequel's on my soon-to-listen-to list.

  2. I liked Black's Tithe's series, but never read this one yet. It sounds like an interesting book, gotta check this one out. Thanks Ron <3


    1. Yep. It's a very interesting concept, and it promises to get even better!

      And now, I fear I must check out the Tithe series... Argh. Never ending TBR pile.

  3. My BFF, Kelly loves this series. I have not read it, but after reading your review I think I will give it a go. Thanks Ron!

    1. Hehehe! I'm glad we've gotten you into reading it! I think you'll like it, actually. The flashbacks are a little slow, but the story and the world are super good.


  4. Personally, I felt that this wasn't really my book either. The plot was intriguing, but I felt that the pacing was slower that what I would have liked. I did like their abilities though, especially Cassel's. I agree with you about liking his character. I quite enjoyed seeing his relationships with other people and what he was like when he wasn't around his family.

    I gave the next book a try as well, but again, I didn't like the pacing either. But definitely give it a try and we'll compare reactions, haha.

    1. Ouchie. I had been hoping that, since we "should" know everything worthwhile from Cassel's past by this time, we'd move faster. This sure dampens my enthusiasm... I think I'll give it a try, just so that I can say that I did and because the story itself is interesting, but I won't go in with my hopes too high :)

  5. Well, to be quite honest, I don't know if I could take all the cursing. Since this is written from a guy's POV, I guess that comes with the territory, though. The story does sound intriguing, although you say that the first part of the book didn't really succeed in capturing your attention. Still, there was obviously something pulling you forward, because you kept on reading until you finished. That sure says something!

    Thanks for such an honest review! I might go visit a library (for the first time in years! for this one, just to see for myself whether I'll like it. I agree that the cover is very eye-catching, though.

    Hope you have a wonderful week!! : )

    1. Hey Maria!

      OKay, I think you shouldn't worry about the cursing. It's not the verbal kind, but the magical kind (like, curses and hexes and spells) so I think it'd not be a problem. The story is interesting, specially if you like mafia-style stuff. My only issue was the pacing, so perhaps you'd like the novel. Be sure to give it a try if you can! :)

  6. I've had my eye on this one for awhile. I dislike when it takes forever to get into a book. I usually tend to put those ones done and get back to them later.
    I do like that the book is from a male's POV I don't read a lot of those. Maybe I'll give it a try once my pile dwindles a little.

    1. Agreed on the need to get to the point. I did have some issues with the pacing, but I'm not sure you could call it "slow" per se... If I could explain it better, I would, but I can't really put my finger on why it failed to hook me. Be sure to read it... when you're done with all the books you really, really want to read ;)