The White Cat

Holly Black

The White Cat
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The White Cat

Holly Black

Cassel is cursed. Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn’t a magic worker. Cassel’s family are one of the big five crime families in America. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His granddad has been driven to drink, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can’t do magic. But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel’s family and he’s about to inherit it. It’s terrifying and that’s the truth. The White Cat is a stunning novel of a world changed by magic. In this world only 1% of the population can work magic but they have the power of nightmares.

Review

Although some may meet the introduction of another urban, paranormal young adult novel with a world-weary sigh, this is no ordinary example. White Cat, the first in Holly Black’s Curse Workers series, is a chilly, dark and devious book. Living in a world similar to ours, Cassel belongs to a family of Curse Workers, who are both magicians and mobsters. Cassel is uncursed, a straight kid in a crooked family, and every day carries the guilt of having killed his best friend three years ago. But is it just guilt that’s propelling him to almost sleepwalk off a building, haunted by a white cat with a message he can’t understand?

Nothing is as it seems in White Cat. Black edges towards perfection with this uncanny tale that’s part Harry Potter, part Sopranos. Full of a slimy, creeping kind of magic, plus knocks, twists and unreliable narration, this novel is a make-sure-all-your-doors-and-windows-are-locked, yet can’t-put-it-down kind of read.

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