Audio Review: White Cat

Title/Author:  White Cat by Holly Black
(The Curse Workers #1)

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

Published:  May 4th, 2010 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Audiobook, 401 minutes

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from my library

Why I Picked It Up?:  First of all, Holly Black will be at YALLFest, so I wanted to read some of her works.  But why I chose to listen to it?  Laura @ Owl Tell You About It told me I just had to listen to it because of Jesse Eisenberg.  So I listened to her.

Book Jacket Blurb:  “Cassel comes from a family of Curse Workers – people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they’re all criminals. Many become mobsters and con artists. But not Cassel. He hasn’t got magic, so he’s an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail – he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.

Cassel has carefully built up a facade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his facade starts to crumble when he finds himself sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He’s noticing other disturbing things too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him. As Cassel begins to suspect he’s part of a huge con game, he must unravel his past and his memories. To find out the truth, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.”

My Review of this Work:

Cassel Sharpe wakes up to find himself standing on the ledge of his dormitory.  Why?  He was following a white cat in his dreams.  Never has he slept walked before, and this incident gets him temperarily kicked out of school and back into the hands of his family, where he is the odd man out.  Why?  His entire family are curse-workers, and Cassel is not.  Yet, as he spends more time with his brothers, he begins to notice that there are secrets that are not being shared, secrets that lead to the truth behind events of Cassel’s past.

Because this story picks up right in the middle of this urban fantasy world, I found White Cat to be a little hard to get into while I was listening.  Normally I leave my audiobooking to more contemporary stories, especially after a very bad experience with a high fantasy story.  But I wanted to listen, and though it took about 2 hours for me to really get into, I found myself enjoying the story.

The world of the Curse-Workers is a very unique urban fantasy world.  There are no vampires, no werewolves, just the workers of curses, from dream workers to luck workers to death workers.  In this world, everyone wears gloves, because curses can only be worked when the worker touches the skin of his/her victim.  Workers are considered criminals, so secrets are a way of life for the curse-workers.  And that is so true with Cassel and his family.  But don’t worry, the mysteries of the Sharpe family are slowly revealed, which is the drive of the plot of this novel.

In terms of characters, I just love Cassel.  He is a strong narrator yet, because of his dark past and family, there is also a vulnerability about him.  And I love it when I can enjoy not only the main characters of a story, but also the minor characters.  And in this novel, I have just fallen in love with the quirkiness that is Sam and Danecka.  They both go to Cassel’s school, and they offer a sort of comic relief to this otherwise dark story.  It really makes me enjoy a story more where I like all of the characters, and White Cat is one of those novels.

Jesse Eisenberg is a fantastic narrator!  (And, surprisingly, hearing him reading this novel reminded me of someone I dated in high school.  Their voice inflections when telling a story are IDENTICAL!)  He is quite engaging, encapturing the spirit of Cassel and truly becoming his character.  Rather than merely reading the story, Eisenberg adds such a personal connection to the story; it’s a literal transformation into Cassel’s curse working world.  Truly a fantastic listen.

Though I got off to a slow start, I found myself by the end not getting enough of this story!  I took the audio out of my car so that I could finish it sooner!  Needless to say, I really found myself enjoying the curse worker world, and I cannot wait to listen to Red Glove!

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book!

While it took me a while to actually get into this story, I found it to be overall a solid urban fantasy world.  The mysterious elements of this story really created this visual world that I ended up really liking!  Cassel is a strong narrative voice–he is both strong and vulnerable at the same time.  In terms of an audio listen, Jesse Eisenberg is perfect!  Truly a great read/listen.  I am interested to see where this series will go!

Love and Dr. Mario,
Jennifer

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