Rummanah Aasi
  I really enjoyed White Cat, the first installment of Holly Black's latest urban fantasy series called the Curse Workers. You can read my review of White Cat here. Many people have been describing this series as "X-men meets the Sopranos", while I find the combination odd, I think it really does suit this series. Magic, mobsters, family loyalty, and ethics collide in the anticipated sequel, Red Glove

Description: All Cassel Sharpe has ever known are curses, cons, magic, and the mob. He always thought was normal, the odd one in his family who didn't have the 'touch' until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth and is constant sought out by family to do what is deemed natural and a mobster who is trying to seduce him with the easy and luxurious lifestyle. The stakes are even higher as 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. Which side will have Cassel's allegiance? Who can and can't he trust?

Review: Black effectively blends urban fantasy with a touch of classic crime noir novels. White Cat had a slow start, as numerous characters and important details to Cassel's world are introduced. New readers to this series are highly encouraged to read the first book in order to understand the major plot twist and turns in Red Glove. Red Glove picks up right a few weeks after the major cliffhanger ending of White Cat. Cassel's mother who did her son a great 'favor' has returned from prison and ready to prepare for her next con.
 While White Cat focused more how a con works and solving the mystery behind Cassel's lost memories, we are presented with complex philosophical questions about identity and responsibility as Cassel tries to find his way between magical conmen and gangsters. What I love most about this series are the multi-layered characters, particularly the charming, charismatic, and unreliable Cassel who is haunted by his past. His family has always existed within the powerful and shady Zacharov crime family. While their networks have been eliminated, they still share strong links with one another.
  Now Cassel's oldest brother has been killed, and his emotionally unstable mother is out of prison and up to her old tricks. Possibly worst of all, Lila Zacharov-best friend, love interest, victim, and conspirator is a constant reminder of the dark realities of Cassel's life. While there are several cons and fast paced adventures in the story, I was more taken by the underlying themes of this book: family and destiny. Cassel was born into a crime family. He is a lawbreaker regardless if he uses his gift and the Feds are constantly hounding him to confront the murders he committed although he doesn't remember them. Interestingly enough, Cassel also wants to do the right thing, even if it might put his family in danger and at odds with him. Like White Cat, there are a lot of twists and turns that kept me at the edge of my seat. The secondary characters get even more fleshed out as the series continues and perhaps may serve as a spin off series, which would be kind of cool. The ending of Red Glove caught me off guard and now I can't wait to see it unfolds in the third book.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some language and underage drinking. Recommended for Grades 7 and up.

If you like this book try: Heist Society by Ally Carter or Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale
4 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I skimmed your review because I haven't read White Cat yet, but I'm so glad to see you gave the sequel such a high rating. I always worry when a first book gets such amazing reviews that the second book won't live up to it, but it doesn't seem to be an issue with this series!

  2. I haven't read anything by Holly Black but I love the sound of this series. Great review :)

  3. Jenny: I love the complex characters in this story. It's hard to tell at times who is the hero and the villain.

    Nic: I've only read this series and her graphic novels, which are both great but they definitely have a dark undertone to the stories. She's an author that I think you should check out.

  4. Nat Says:

    Great review! I liked this one too. It is such a unique world she has created. And the characters are superb.

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