White Cat- Holly Black

Synopsis from Goodreads.
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers — people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn’t got the magic touch, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail — he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.

Seeing as I listened to this as an audio book (Thanks Random House!) I didn’t have a picture of the cover.
So I’ll just haveto put this one up.

OK, fine. Here’s the real cover.

I don’t have a quote because by the time he said something I liked I got myself into a faff trying to get my notebook and then find my pen and then it wouldn’t work and… it was just too much hassle.
Oh and also, I don’t really know how Ms Black is spelling all her character names so apologies if they’re wrong.

High Points.
Curses + Mob Families + Secret Underground World = Um, YES. The whole idea behind this series is absolutely genius and the world that Black creates is just spectacular. I really want to move so I can have an excuse to buy these gloves. Heebie Jeebies. Cassel. Fraternal love. Asian housemates. Kitty Cats. A love story I could get behind. Grandpas. Sleepwalking. Blood packs. Jailbird Mums.

Low Point.
OK Cassel, you are amazingly cute (and I know you’re supposed to be of Indian heritage but I kept picturing you as this lovely chap. Mmmmhmm.) and you’ve been through a lot. But gosh you are dim. But more on this in your own section, boyo.
I also would have liked this book to be a bit darker. There is a lot of really grim stuff hinted at (What did Cassel actually do?/ Grandpa channelling his inner Dumbledore/ Blowback) but it was never really explored. Considering this book is about powerful horrifying mobsters who can destroy/control/manipulate you with their hands… this book was a far far too tame. MORE VIOLENCE PLEASE.
I have faith and hope that these few quibbles will be ironed out in the other books of the series. I got the impression that Ms Black was testing the waters a little bit and hopefully she’ll take the plunge and wallow in the grimy potential that these books have.
Also… when Mr Eisenberg was chatting on about the cats in Cassel’s back garden all I could think of was this. So I would giggle to myself nervously… because what would happen if cats had thumbs?

Right, back to Cassel. I really did like Cassel. He was funny and smart and, like I mentioned before, I’d definitely fancy him in real life… even if he did randomly change race for no reason.
But by gum was he dumb. Seriously, it took him forever to realise what was happening around him and I know, I know… the story does kind of explain why he was all confused but… Mate, you’re supposed to be a conman, you’re supposed to be on the ball.
When it got to the big reveal scenes and Cassel was all like ‘What?! WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN?!’ I got really confused because I thought we’d already found that out. I’m obviously too clever for my own good.. but yeah, Cassel. Sort it out.
Also, please become more gruff and angry. You’re on your way but I would like more ‘Oomph’ next time. I’m awarding you a ‘B’ at the moment but you need to pull your socks up.
Also, you are very forgiving. This would be commendable in most circumstances but I’m sure no one would judge you if you threw a punch at a wall or ate the last piece of pizza or something equally as aggressive. Get your own back!
All these points will make no sense whatsoever if you haven’t read this book but I needed to get them off my chest.
I did like Cassel though and I thought Ms Black/Mr E did a great job in portraying your bumblingness and your honesty… even if you are a little slow. It’s endearing…. Ish.

Best Friend.
I loved Sam and Danika (Daneka? Danecka? Whatevs), Cassel’s friends from school. Sam is a complete goof who, even though he was also a little thick and didn’t react normally in situations where it would be OK to freak out, I would like to be friends with him. And get drunk with him… because I can imagine him being a great drinking buddy. And buying the first round.
And D (gonna stick with that) was also great if not a little bit of a cliché goody two-shoes. But I think these two will get to stretch their legs a little in the next two books… or at least I hope so.

Love Interest.
I don’t want to say much about this but I really loved what Black did with this. It was original and, considering the cracked out circumstances, really realistic.
And also…. I can’t believe I’m saying this.
But if we’re heading in Triangle Infested Waters…. I think I’ll be OK with it.
Urgh, I feel dirty.

OK, these baddies have potential. Especially two of them.
But I was a little disappointed with one of them…. I was expected him to get all Brando-esque. But alas, he did not.
Apologies for the vagueness… but spoilers are lurking.

Theme Tune.

Memory- Elaine Page.
Or am I?
I was at first but then I listened to the words several times (for research purposes only, of course. And then I had to watch this just to be sure my reasoning was correct… *ahem* ) and realise that the lyrics are poignant and beautiful and particularly apt for our fluffy white titular character.

Touch me/ It’s so easy to leave me/ All alone with my memory/ Of my days in the sun/ If you touch me/ You’ll understand what happiness is/ Look a new day has begun.

Um, I’m pretty sure Trevor Nunn wrote this song with this book in mind.
But fine… I know people hate musicals because they are ridiculous human beings who have no sense of JOY in their lives and have no soul.
So you can have this one which has no relevance whatsoever except it talks about cats and it allows you to make strange noises when you sing along to the chorus. But you made your choice…. Yeah, you made your choice.

Angst Level.
5/10. Like I mentioned before, there was definitely a sense of darkness looming within these pages (or in my headphones… um…) and one that could really have been really affective and harrowing if explored deeper. I have my appendages crossed for this to be remedied in the next books, which I can’t wait to read.
Also, for the emotional stuff… Cassel isn’t really a whinger which is great, because there was a great chance that this book could have been filled with countless ‘WHY ME?!’s. But it wasn’t.
Ms Black seemed to set the groundwork for a slightly more unhinged Cassel (which, considering the circumstances… is perfectly understandable.) which, again, I hope gets developed in the next books.

Recommended For.
People who are looking for a great new series to sink their teeth into. People who like the dark side of magic. People who like pretty, sparkly stones. People who don’t understand what is going on around them… even if it has flashing lights, loud sirens and shoots glitter in your face at sporadic moments. People who wish their brothers would take them out for pizza on a Tuesday night *glares in vague direction of my brother which is probably nowhere near to where he actually is because my geography is shocking* People who feel that Elaine Page sings directly to their soul when she sings ‘Memory’. People who thought Godfather Part 3 would have been better with more elbow length gloves.

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