Thursday, August 12, 2010
Cassel has a dark past; his is a family of curse workers. With just a touch of their hands, they can change emotions, modify memories, give you luck, or take your life. Since “working” is illegal, they’ve become mobsters, con artists, and denizens of the underworld. Cassel is the odd one out, however, without the ability to do curse work.
Of course, there is the minor fact that his killed his best friend Lila.
Still, Cassel is doing his best to be a normal kid. He goes to a nice school, and he’s careful to listen to the “right” music and hang with the “right” crowd and have the “right” girlfriend. But his façade of normalcy is beginning to crumble, as strange sleepwalking incidents and dreams of a white cat haunt him. His brothers are keeping secrets from him. His mother’s in jail, again. And oh, yeah, he has Lila’s death on his conscience. Cassel is losing control, and he’s starting to suspect that he may be right in the middle of the biggest con he’s ever seen…
I liked this book. It was funny, engaging, and interesting. Maybe not a revolution, but it’s definitely enjoyable and worth a read. The idea is fairly original and I liked the premise a lot, although I do wish a little more page space had been devoted to world-building. I did fall completely, utterly in love with the ending, however, which in my opinion really made the book.
I have to say the plot felt a little… rough. At times, even haphazard. It moved fast, never completely explained some details, and had more than a few dangling plot threads that were never really satisfactorily tied up. Despite that, however, it was pretty exciting.
If I were only talking about Cassel, I’d have given Characters five stars. He was funny, engaging. By the second chapter, I was already cheering for him; he felt like a real person. He had believable flaws and a very believable voice. Overall, I loved him. Unfortunately, I felt the rest of the characters suffered from fairly extreme underdevelopment, and I was completely confused by many of their actions. Luckily, Cassel’s three-dimensionality nearly made up for it.
Maybe I’m a little biased here, because I’ve read and adored Holly Black in the past. Regardless, her writing style remains next to flawless. It's so smooth and realistic that I feel like I’m watching a movie instead of reading words. She never bogged me down in too many details and kept up a lively narrative consistently throughout the whole book. She even manages fighting scenes, the stumbling block of so many other writers, masterfully and realistically.
End Result: Four Stars. A good book, definitely worth your time.