All content on this blog was created and/or compiled by Project to be Read. No images, text or quotations may be copied or reproduced without written permission. Authors and publishers may use parts of reviews for quotations as long as I am notified.
Publisher: Gollancz ISBN: 978-0-575-09672-1 Pages: 310 Series: Curse Workers #1 Type: Young Adult Urban Fantasy Source: Purchased Goodreads
Cassel is cursed. He comes from a family of magic workers and lives in a world
where magic was banned decades ago, but Cassel can't work magic. His family hate
him for being the only non-worker...and because they helped cover up a murder he
committed as a child. But when Cassel finds himself being haunted by a white
cat, and his dreams are leading him to sleepwalk to increasingly bizarre places,
he is forced to turn to his family to discover the secrets hidden in his
This is the first book in the Curse Workers series and the first
book by Holly Black I've read and it blew me away. Finding young adult urban
fantasy can be near impossible, but this is an incredible example of just how
good it can be. Holly Black has reshaped our world by pushing curse workers out
of the closet in 1929 and now in the present day their existence is banned so
they are forced to hide their identities. One thing I love is that in this
world, magic comes at a cost, so whatever you do will rebound on you in a
somewhat karmic way.
The plot is brilliantly written and packed with
twists and turns. There is an incredible depth of storyline and the world of the
curse workers is fully fleshed out. Workers are divided into different groups
(death workers that can kill with a touch, memory workers who can rewrite your
life) and exist as an underground society since the ban, with most working as
con artists or for organized gangs. There are even worker equality groups in the
non-worker community. The idea of a con is woven throughout the storyline as it
is a skill Cassel learnt at his mother's knee.
Cassel is a great lead
character. As the normal guy in a family of workers, he is able to introduce us
to their world without info-dumping and also plays the black sheep incredibly
well which helps him in his quest to find out why he's being haunted by the
white cat. His roommate Sam ends up as his best friend almost by accident and I
loved how their friendship grew over the course of the book. Daneca the
pro-worker supporter adds some comic relief to the book with her determintion to
win Cassel to her side.
Cassel's family on the other hand was a different
story. I didn't really like either of his brothers or his jailbird mother, but I
adored his death worker grandfather Desi. He brought a new dimension to the
story and quickly became a favourite character.
All in all, this was a
great read and I'm looking forward to Red Glove.
All reviews state the origin of the book. The majority of my reviews are for books that I have purchased for myself. Some are borrowed from libraries or friends, others are given as gifts. Any books received for review are given in exchange for an honest review. I do not charge for reviews and receive no monetary dispensation from Project to be Read.