Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Red Glove by Holly Black

Holly Black's site
Series: Curse Worker's #2
Copy obtained: e-ARC S&S Galley Grab
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release date: April 19th
Rating: 4/5
SPOILER WARNING Big spoilers for book 1 ahead, no spoilers for Red Glove.

Curses and cons. Magic and the mod. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth - that he's the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything - or anyone - into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue - crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too - they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone - least of all, himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

I adored White Cat, found it a very refreshing read with a male protagonist, conmen and magic, and thoroughly enjoyable as well. I was left craving book 2, so I was very excited to find myself lucky enough to have an e-ARC copy of it. But while I do love Red Glove, I didn't love it as much as White Cat. I suspect this is in part to me having to read it over 5 days thanks to exhaustion rather than the usual 1 or 2, which is very unfortunate.

It's been a few months since Cassel's life fell apart when he realised his rare ability as a transformation worker, and how he'd been betrayed and used by his brothers. Now he's starting his new year at school and while he's certainly not walking away from his life of minor crime, or his family's much deeper one, he's looking forward to things being more normal. But then one of his older brothers turns up dead, and the Feds start asking questions. Plus, he's still having to deal with the fall out of his mother cursing the girl he loves to love him back. And while Cassel would love to take advantage, he knows Lila will hate him when the curse wears off. Nothing is simple for Cassel, and it only gets worse as more secrets are revealed.

There is a lot going on in Red Glove, many different little plots all get twisted together and keep making life very complicated for Cassel because he can't straighten one thing out, without it interfering with another. While it probably reads smoother and less disjointed when read in bigger chunks than I managed, I found it a little bit off putting. I love Cassel, he's such a refreshing character for not really being a good guy, but certainly not being a bad one. He has to make some really hard decisions and he opens up a lot of big secrets, putting himself in big danger repeatedly throughout Red Glove. But I sometimes wondered how he came to the conclusions he did. There is plenty of secrecy layered in to the book for sure, and most of it works very well, but sometimes I found it frustrating instead.

That said, I did love some of the directions the book took. Cassel grew a lot through the book dealing with some of the issues and learning to trust others, something that does not come easy to him. And ultimately, it is a really great story and it left me craving more. There is plenty of magic and deception, some great humor and some moments where I just ached for Cassel as well as some really big surprises! Some of those twists really came out of nowhere and work very well! While I'd say I love White Cat more, I did still end up really enjoying White Cat and I'm very excited for the third book, Black Heart. I'd highly recommend this series!


Vivienne said...

I am confused! Is this from the US S&S as I thought this would be released by Indigo after they release White Cat. How did you manage to get it from US S&S? Being really nosy BTW. They are not on Net Galley are they?

Avery said...

@Vivienne, I got the US S&S newsletter yesterday and I was able to request this book.

Anyways, hi Claire! Sorry to hear about the exhaustion... But hey, taking 5 days to read a book is better than not reading a book at all, right? This is a great review! I cannot wait to get my hands on it!