July 5, 2012

Review: Red Glove, by Holly Black

Author: Holly Black
Title:  Red Glove
Series: Curse Workers (#2)
ISBN: 9781442403390
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (April 5th 2011)

Buy your copy: Hardback | Paperback | Kindle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she’s human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila’s been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila’s love is as phony as Cassel’s made-up memories, then he can’t believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel’s oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can’t trust anyone—least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.”
GoodReads’ blurb

I’m so glad to have stuck with Cassel and Holly Black! Red Glove delivers everything the end of White Cat promised and then some.

White Cat felt slow at some points and I found too many flashbacks for my taste, but Red Glove picks up right where it left off and practically races us forward as the situation –as all situations- spiral out of Cassel’s control.

His mom is out of jail, but she’s far from redeemed. The crime boss who owned his brothers is trying to own him too. The girl Cas loves like nothing else has been worked, and now he knows he can’t ever have her, can’t be sure of her feelings. And to top it off... the Feds are on his case too. Throw in some fight for Worker Rights, some epiphanies about friends and about purpose in life... and wrap it all in the legendary way of the con man.

I think the result is pretty close to perfect, actually.

As usual, I don’t want to spoil what happens here but let me say that the real culprit didn’t cross my mind until Cas revealed the plan. Cas plan, now, that I could see coming towards the end though I kept on hoping for a different way out. It’s all so twisted, mastermind-like!

The best part, though, must be the relationship (or lack thereof) with Lila. She’s everything he ever wanted, she loves him... but it’s not her. It’s just a curse, isn’t it? The strife to do the right thing, the pain he felt every time he had to hurt her to avoid really hurting her when everything was over, the despair knowing that the curse will wear off and she’ll hate him, not appreciating what he does because he doesn’t tell her that it’s everything for her...  Heart-wrenching and beautiful, and still somehow Cas is not the good guy. He’s only human.

Plus, the romance is only part of the book; friendships, family, choices.... Those other themes are equally if not more important than the romance, and for once I’m grateful. The book is well balanced as it is.

In case you couldn’t tell, I really enjoyed Red Glove (seven hours of audiobook in two nights!) and can’t wait for the next installment. I’d recommend you to check out White Cat and, if you find anything remotely interesting there, move on immediately to Red Glove because you’ll find that interesting aspect multiplied tenfold.

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