Review: White Cat by Holly Black

Filed in Holly Black , Review , The Winged Lover Posted on July 28, 2010 @ 8:19 am 3 comments

Format Read: Paperback
Number of Pages: 310
Release Date: 4 May
Publisher: Gollancz
Formats Available: Hardcover, Paperback
Purchasing Info:  Author’s WebsiteGoodreads; BookDepository US, BookDepository UKAmazon,

I purchased this book with my own funds

Book Blurb:
Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn’t a magic worker. And now he is being haunted by a white cat…
Cassel’s family are magic workers. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their luck, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His grand-dad is a black fingered death-dealer, his mother is in prison and his brother’s detest him as the only one of their family who can’t do magic.
But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel’s family and he’s about to inherit it. It’s terrifying and that’s the truth.
My Thoughts:
After getting past the initial confusion, White Cat became quite interesting.
White Cat follows the story of Cassel, a non-Worker in a family of Workers. Workers are basically magic wielders each Worker has a gift whether it be Memory Working, Luck Working or even Death Working.
Cassel feels left out in his family, not only is he a non-Worker, and the youngest. He is also a murderer. When he was fourteen Cassel killed his best friend, who also happened to be the girl he loved.
Now he is trying to fit in, in the “normal” world. Workers have been outlawed throughout the world. Everyone must wear gloves and laws are trying to be passed to document every known worker. Workers are feared and hated and are treated as criminals. It doesn’t help though, that most of them are criminals.
Cassel may not be a worker, but he is a very talented con man. At the tender age of seventeen he already has his own illegal betting pool at his private school. He is trying desperately to fit in, even though he knows people don’t consider him a friend, they do trust and almost in a way, respect him, something he has been longing for his whole life.
It was wonderful having a singularly male viewpoint in a YA novel. Cassel is a little self-centred, and a little bit depressed which makes him annoying at times, but he is also extremely intelligent. He works things out very early on, and although he is continuously questioning his theories he also expands on them.
We don’t get too much into the secondary characters. His mother is in prison for Working a man and making him fall in love with her, and then signing over his wealth. His grandfather is a death worker and one of his fingers rot every time he kills someone with his touch. We also get to reminisce about Lila, the girl Cassel killed. To be honest, she doesn’t seem like the nicest of people, more like a spoiled, over excited bully.
There were two things that I absolutely loved about White Cat: The Mystery and the Magic. The Mystery actually kept me guessing. Although some of it was an easy guess there were things that came out even halfway through the book that turned it onto a completely new track.
The Magic, was real magic with everything having a balance. If you were to kill someone, part of you was also to die. If you were to give someone good luck, you in return would receive it. If you were to take someone’s memory, one of yours would also be lost. Magic had consequences, so people weren’t just running around with the ability to do whatever they wanted to when they wanted to do it.
White Cat was an intriguing read and built up a world that I can’t wait to get back into.
I give White Cat 4 out of 5 Bookies
***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review. All our links to the online bookstores are affiliate links. The money earned with these accounts is spent on books for contest exclusively.

About Amanda

Amanda-Lee is a proudly addicted reader and writer from Sydney. She lives with her wonderful husband and their more like a baby than a kitten Hamish. Amanda-Lee has been blogging for 4 years now and is a lover of all genres, though she does have a tendancy to stray towards the weird and wonderful concotions in the paranormal and fantasy genres. In addition to being the Winged Lover on BLI she also runs the book blog StoryWings.

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Join the Discussion
  • Audrey (holes In My brain) July 28, 2010 at 8:49 am

    mystery and magic? count me in :p ive read tons of great stuff about this book, nice review!

  • Melissa (My words and pages) July 29, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    I have this one in my stack to read. Thank you for this review. It was really informative for me for when I get to it. 🙂 I love mystery and magic, so I think this is going to be right up my alley. Thanks!

  • Wings July 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    this book is bang on for mystery

    It is a bit confusing in the first couple of chapters but after that…you can't put it down


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