Monday, August 27, 2012

Review: Red Glove by Holly Black (Curse Workers #2)

Story Synopsis:

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. (from

My Review:

I know the traditional thing to do when reviewing a sequel is to compare it to the original. I think, in this case, that won't work. I read White Cat two years ago while curled up fetal on my bed, trying to distract myself from food poisoning. I'll say this much about it: My brain now associates that book with extreme abdominal discomfort, yet I still think it was a good read, which should tell you something about how fantastic a read it truly is.

On to Red Glove, which I read during a lightning weekend trip across the continent. I was tired, a little hungover (wild weddings will do that), and being accosted by arm-rest hoggers, crying babies, tight connections, other people's loud headphones, and an evil woman who crumpled my garment bag. Bitch. Red Glove took all that madness and made it bearable.

One of these days, I'm going to read Holly Black's books for pleasure alone and not as a distraction from pain and irritation, because they're worth much more attention than what I'm giving them.

What I'm getting at, with all this venting about flights, is that Red Glove is a fantastic book. I blazed through it. Granted, I didn't have much else to do, now that it costs $6.71 to watch a movie on a plane. But I would have kept reading even if the movie had been free. Cassel is a great main character - unique and compelling. The secondary characters are also engaging and well-developed. The writing is both descriptive and casual; the story dark and disturbing with frequent bursts of humor. It sucks you in and doesn't let go. Black's ability to take our world, add one magical twist, and still keep things completely relatable, is impressive; the fact that her magical twist has very real implications for the real world is even more so.

As with White Cat, the central mystery is a little predictable, but in Red Glove it took me a bit longer to crack it. Also, I don't know Lila's character very well, even though she's the romantic interest and a driving force in the plot. In White Cat she's a cat, in Red Glove she's cursed. We almost never see her as her true self, so who is she? I hope that the third book gives readers the chance to know her better.

Overall, highly recommended, especially if you're sick or facing a flight.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rated by: Blair