Rummanah Aasi
  I was eagerly anticipating reading Black Heart, the third book, in the Curse Worker trilogy. My only qualm with the book is the cover. I really wish they stuck to the original cover as it matches the mood and tone of the book. This new cover does absolutely nothing and doesn't showcase the awesomeness of this series. Readers looking for a good, solid YA urban fantasy series to read should definitely pick this one up.

Description: Cassel Sharpe has been a con man for all of his life. He's been used as an assassin in a dastardly plot, but he's move beyond that glitch in his life. He's trying to be good and to do the right thing, even though the love of his life is inextricably connected with crime. How can you distinguish between truth and lies when things become blurry? With his life, future, and love on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet. This time he is playing with his heart.

Review: Black Heart is a solid conclusion to the Curseworker series. I loved this unusual world where magic, reality are intricately interwoven. To fully enjoy the solid world building and a terrific cast of complex characters, be sure to start with the beginning of the series with White Cat and Red Glove.
After going through the ringer, in more ways than one, it's surprising to believe that Cassel is up for one more adventure. He's figured out the truth about himself and his abilities as well as made the decision to no longer con people, but of course things don't go as planned. It's hard to let go of the game especially if that's all that you really know. Throughout the book there are lots of interwoven cons Cassel has either set in motion or disrupted but their ripples are still being felt. At times the government and the criminals are hard to distinguish with each driven by their own goals and manipulate the system to get exactly what they want.
  What makes the Curseworker series work for me is Cassel's voice. It never falters yet there is a certain type of vulnerability mixed with charm and sarcasm that makes him likable. He's actually the normal one in his twisted and disturbing family. When he says he wants to be good and get away from the con, you want to believe him especially witnessing his past, however, you know you're going to miss the rush of getting a way with a con or solving one.
  The pace of Black Heart is done quite well. I've gotten pretty good at figuring out a YA book's plot within the first 50 or 100 pages, but with Black Heart I like not knowing how things will end as the plot twists and turns. Along with a twisty plot, there is also a great balance between mystery and romance. There is romance where Lila, Cassel's best friend and the love of his life, is concerned. They are not on the best of terms with one another yet you can feel the romantic tension between them. The romance doesn't overtake the story, which is great because it can appeal to both female and male readers. The book's conclusion, while somewhat surprisingly happy but certainly not a pretty bow wrapped up altogether too nicely. I'm just sad to see Cassel and company go and I do hope that Black plans on doing a spin off series. If you haven't read anything by Ms. Black, do give this series a try. If you hated her faerie series, this series is really different. It's fun, smart, and very entertaining.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Words of Caution: There is some strong language, underage drinking, and a small non-explicit sex scene in the book. Recommended for Grades 8 and up.

If you like this book try: Heist Society series by Ally Carter, Bringing Down the House by Ben Mezrich, Catch Me If You Can by Frank Abagnale
8 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I need to read this series Rummanah! I've heard such great things, and I absolutely LOVE the best friend turned love interest trope, it's one of my favorites, so I'm super excited for Cassel and Lila:) Glad this was a fantastic end to the trilogy, I can't wait to read it myself:)

  2. It is always hard to see series end, yet I like when they wrap instead of dragging on. I have yet to check out this series but I like that it is full of mystery romance and twists and tuns that keep you guessing. That is refreshing in YA. Got the book last night in the mail from you. Thank you!

  3. I love that you loved Cassel's voice! I did too, but more so in the first two books. In Black Heart, he went from being vulnerable to being downright whiny and unrecognizable. I agree wiht you that the pacing is this book's strong point. Holly Black sure knows how to manipulate her readers.
    Wonderful review, Rummanah! I'm so sad this series is over.

  4. I love this series! It's got great worldbuilding, unpredictable cons and an awesome MC :)

    I liked the old covers much better too, Rummanah. I would probably not have read this series if they had originally had these covers.

  5. This is the one I still need to read. I read the first 2 already. Love a twisty plot and this sounds like a great ending. I really need to get to this one. So glad you liked it!

  6. Cassel is definitely the star of this series. He has a great voice. I like seeing how he's matured - he's more humble than he was in the first book but at the same time more confident. I think Grandpa may be my second favorite character.

  7. Candace Says:

    I love this series too! But I'm with you, I SO wish they hadn't changed the cover! The first two represented the book much better!

  8. Small Review Says:

    I didn't read your review because I still haven't read the first two books, but I'm happy to see you gave it such a high rating. I've been quietly internally hyping this series in my head and sort of falling in love with the idea of Cassel.

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