Thursday, May 5, 2011

Red Glove

Red Glove (Curse Workers Series #2) by Holly Black: NOOK Book Cover

Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. 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—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.

Red Glove was a wonderful follow-up to White Cat. Sometimes a series can slow severely with the second book, as evidenced in the Twilight Saga, and lose numerous fans. Not so with Holly Black's Curse Worker series. The plot was just as engaging as it was in White Cat, while still building on the original story and bringing in new elements.

I'll admit, at first I almost gave up on Red Glove. I've got so many books on my "to read" list, and many of them have been calling to me in the last few days, but I wanted to read Red Glove while White Cat was still fresh in my mind. It only took 20 pages to suck me back into Cassel's mob world, and I loved every minute I spent there. Black's imagery is amazing, and I found myself noticing the little details in this book (more so than I did in the first). In one passage, Cassel is greeted by Chris (the young man living in Daneca's house) and notices a smudge of blue in his hair. Who would think to add such an insignificant detail? There were many instances of this throughout Red Glove, and these details made me love the story even more.

I think my favorite part of the series is by far the world building. I know everyone has already addressed this numerous times, but I just want to add my two cents. It's flawless. When building a world so similar to the one we live in, it has to be a seamless transition, so that it really feels like this alternate world is really a possibility. There was one passage, during the riot, when Cassel sees a girl's bare hands and comments on how strange it is to see them. I thought it was odd that he was so horrified by bare hands, but then I realized something. If you were living in a society where gloves were as common as t-shirts and pants, it would be bizarre to see someone without them. It would probably be just as shocking as that Erykah Badu video where she strips naked and runs down the street. In that instant, the whole world Black built clicked into place for me. She thought of everything, even the reactions characters would have to certain situations.

Holly Black's attention to detail is what makes the Curse Workers series so incredible. I'm anxiously awaiting the next installment!


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