Thursday, July 24, 2014

Black Heart by Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Alternate History

Subjects: curses, magic, supernatural, criminals

Setting: New Jersey and New York

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Cassel Sharpe

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 296 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover and now in Paperback

List Price: $17.99/$9.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary/ product description: “Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.”

My Review:  I finally got around to finishing the Curse Workers trilogy. This is the final book, which came out in April 2012. I waited over 2 years. Red Glove, the second book, I read about 3 years ago. I haven’t forgotten the characters, but I couldn’t remember everything that happened. I still enjoyed this final book and will miss Cassel’s narration.

Holly Black is an amazing YA writer. I read all her Modern Faerie Tales book, and Curse Workers series. She’s great at creating interesting, unique characters. Cassel is unique because he’s a criminal with heart. He’s a con artist with charisma and guilt (so not a sociopath or psychopath). He’s also a transformation worker, which means he can change people and things into other things. He only found out his power recently. His brother Barron is a memory worker, so he had taken Cassel’s memory of his powers.

Lila Zacharov is Cassel’s on-off-girlfriend. She was forced into love by Cassel’s mother, a emotion worker. Lila loves Cassel for real, but Cassel still thinks it’s not real. He feels guilty about turning her into a white cat and being made to believe that he had killed her. Daneca and Sam are Cassel’s friends who like each other, but aren’t really dating. Daneca has a secret boyfriend. In the previous books we see that she’s into Worker’s rights and protesting.

My favorite thing about this book series has been the word building. It’s Alternate History Paranormal because it’s set in a world where there people with a gene that makes them able to curse or help someone with their power by touching them with their hands. Everyone wears gloves in public because they don’t want to be worked/cursed by someone. This series echoes the theme of racism of African Americans with Curse Workers as the minorities and has a touch of politics alongside its crime fantasy. And there are modern (magical) mobsters, in New Jersey.

Governor Patton of New Jersey is against workers and tries to pass a law about not allowing workers in government positions. Cassel is recruited by a special government organization to assassinate Patton by turning him into something. Barron is part of this organization, but he’s kind of a double agent. There’s a girl name Mina at his school that’s supposedly being blackmailed and want his help. Cassel doesn’t know whom to trust. Everyone wants his power or something from him.

If you have not read the Curse Workers series, then you should check it out. I recently read V for Villain by Peter Moore. It was similar, but this doesn’t have superheroes. Transparent by Natalie Whipple is about a crime boss’s daughter that has a special power. Half Bad by Sally Green had a similar protagonist, though set in the UK. White Cat, Red Glove and Black Heart by Holly Black are the 3 books in the Curse Workers trilogy. They are worth read for fans of paranormal YA.

Cover Art Review: I love the new cover with the dots and almost Art Deco style. I loved the original covers too, but these are great.

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