The extraordinary new adult fantasy of magic in our world and the price we pay for it by the author of THE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES.
I just quickly had to share some thoughts about White Cat by Holly Black with you.
When the proof first came in last year, I dropped everything and motored through the first hundred pages, reading at top speed and not really taking in what I was reading. I realised I was being really dumb, doing this. Spoiling the book for myself by reading too fast, being to greedy, instead of enjoying myself.
I set it aside and subsequently read it over several sittings in mass paperback form, which was so great, a few weeks ago.
Cassel is a great character - far more innocent than he would like to think and portray to the world. He thinks he knows what the score is all the time and that he doesn't get to be conned by any cons. In the end it is those closest to him who has been working him.
As realisation dawns, Cassel really grows rapidly as a character and he tries to do the best he can in a crappy situation. He comes through on the other side, a bit battered and scarred but knowing better and probably a bit more world-wise than before.
Holly Black is such a great writer - like thousands of others really enjoyed her Tithe novels and subsequently adored the Spiderwick books. (Mine are all signed and I even have a glow in the dark Spiderwick poster!) In White Cat you can tell how much Ms. Black has matured as she comes across as at ease in her craft as both a writer and storyteller - because one does not necessarily mean you are the other.
There is just enough information about the world-building in White Cat to make readers realise that this is not quite our world, yet there are obvious similarities. Again, this is something I liked. Each bit of information she gave us about the laws and how workers are exploited / portrayed in the media, the lore and stories about them, gets added to this scrap book in your mind and slowly you build up this image of the world Cassel lives in. It's maybe not the nicest place in the world and I can't help but feel it has this Depression Era feel to it, in my mind at least. With colours in sepia and shadows darker than dark. I am very keen to see what happens in The Curse Workers Book 2: Red Gloves out later this year.
White Cat is being marketed as an adult book (with a release later this year from Orion's YA imprint Indigo) with a teen protagonist.