Title: Red Glove
Author: Holly Black
Status: Sequel to White Cat
One word summary: Clever
Red Glove is the sequel to Holly Black's White Cat; I admit I haven't yet read White Cat but will as soon as possible because Red Glove was so darn good! Some background info for those who haven't read White Cat, like me, or never even heard of the Curseworkers series: it's set in present day America with people known as curse workers. They have ability to manipulate one of the following: Luck, Dreams, Death, Memory, Emotion, Physical and Transformation. Cool, right?
Cassel Sharpe, the protagonist, is one very special seventeen year old boy. Instead of being (SPOILER ALERT FROM WHITE CAT) the radish in the bunch of roses or the normal dude in a family of curse-breakers, it turns out he's a Transformation worker, and they're rare, found only once a decade. But everything isn't smooth sailing now that he's got his super-cool, I-can-change-anything-into-anything power. Hell no. In fact, things are getting from good to worse: Lila, his best friend who Cassel supposedly 'killed' (read: changed into a white cat then changed back to human) is in love with him, due to Cassel's mother having worked a curse to make her all googly-eyed and lovey-dovey towards him. But it isn't real, even if Cassel wishes it was. Philip, Cassel's older brother, turns up dead with two in his chest and no last words. Plus, the FBI are after Cassel, presumably because they need his help. Or his power. Whichever.
I love the supporting characters in this book; Cassel's devoted sidekick Sam, Sam's weird girlfriend Danesca and Cassel's fresh-out-of-jail mother who may or may not be conning every rich old guy within ten miles. On the other hand, I didn't really warm up to Lila; her constant attitude changes-from 'Oh Cassel, my Romeo/Prince Charming in jeans, I adore you!' to 'Cassel? Oh him. Whatever.' And the way she acted towards the end of the book absolutely stunned me. Anyway, Cassel has always been my favourite, right from the start of the book, and I admire his integrity with the whole 'Lila's in fake love with me' fandango but it's definitely his manipulative, sneaky cons that I commend most of all in Red Glove. Even if some of them weren't exactly successful; for example in the very first chapter, I still enjoyed picturing Cassel with a pair of pantyhose over his head.
The plot through Red Glove is steady: Cassel must find his brother's murderer, get the FBI off his back and try to break Lila's curse so they can really, truly be together. Aw. There are some detours along the way but all in all, Red Glove is enjoyable to read with its startling revelations and adventure. Holly Black's writing is clear, simple and refrains from annoying the reader with lengthy descriptions, which I hate. The character of Cassel is interesting, to other people he is seen as standoffish but to readers who are allowed inside Cassel's mind, his attitude is a way to prevent others from discovering his deepest, darkest secret.
High Points: all the cons pulled by Cassel, when Barron got his serve of humble pie
Low Points: Lila
Recommendation: Witty, ingenious and plain old cool. I can hardly wait for Black Heart, the next book!