Cassel is a transformation worker: the most powerful worker in the United States, maybe even North America. When his brother Philip is murdered, the Feds come to Cassel. Cassel has no idea who could have murdered his brother. He knows who has a motive, but those people wouldn’t be so careless as to get caught by a security camera. None of it makes sense. Not to mention that his first--and current--love, Lila, has been worked to love him. He knows it’s not real, but he can’t help falling for the illusion. Cassel is on a rollercoaster of emotions, plots, and secrets, and he can’t seem to get off of it.
Black does not disappoint in the second book of the Curseworker Series. I prefer the first book to this one, I think, but this book was different than the first, and I really liked it. This book has a mystery flair to it. It’s very different from White Cat and I think it’s better like that. There aren’t a whole lot of big secrets anymore, with Cassel’s being a transformation worker revealed. Most authors would try to bring in another character, have another secret and probably lose the reader. But Black keeps the same characters, kills one of them, and then writes a mystery novel with brilliantly interwoven plot lines. It’s genius, if you ask me. I would never think to do that. I absolutely love Black’s writing. Here’s one--of many-- examples: “Barron shrugs philosophically.” How do you shrug philosophically? Yet “philosophically” is the perfect word for it. At that time, Barron was wordlessly suggesting something, and Black sums it all up in one word. That takes skill. Just the words she uses...it amazes me. I admire her as an author, and I love her writing.
The ending is great. I won’t say what it is, but I can still talk about it. I am a huge mystery fan, even though I don’t read mysteries a lot. I love love love the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels. (No, I have not seen the BBC TV show. Please don’t kill me. ;)) The end is kind of set up like that: the hero reveals the solution through events, and then goes to the murderer and tells them how they did it. I loved it! It was set up very well, and you can tell that Black put a lot of thought into it.
Not only was there a mystery element to this book, Black brings in politics. There were some politics in the first book, but they were kind of in the background. In the second book, Black brings them a little more to the forefront. In White Cat, we hear about proposition two, which says that in the state of New Jersey, everyone is required to take the hypobathygammic (did I spell that right?) test. Of course, the government would somehow get ahold of the information, diminishing worker rights. Daneca is a huge worker rights supporter, and is determined to not let proposition two get passed into law. With her being more of a main character, not just in the background, the worker rights comes with her. You get to find out a lot more about her.
And Lila...I really don’t know what to say about her. Yes, she is in this book a lot, but it’s not really her. She’s cursed to love Cassel, and that kind of takes over her life, so she ends up going to school at Wallingford with him. In the last book, you only saw a little bit of her, too, at the end. That was the real her. Almost the whole book (Red Glove), she’s cursed, so you don’t really see who she really is. Therefore, I can’t really say anything about her, except that I think I might like her. But I don’t know, it’s hard to tell.
Now to Cassel. Okay, I’ll be honest, I haven’t fallen this hard for a fictional character in a while. It’s hard not to like him. He’s smart, even though he’s convinced that he’s stupid. Maybe he’s not book smart, but he’s street genius. Just look at the cons he sets up; they’re very clever. Even if he forgets some small details, he covers up for them fast. Forget to come up with one part of a story? He makes it up on the fly, and it makes sense with the rest of the story. I think the thing that I love the most about him is how utterly good he is, and he doesn’t even realize it. Even though he’s done so many bad things for so many bad reasons, he’s a good person. For example, look at the murders he committed. He did it because he wanted to be in on the jokes, in on the “fun.” And yes, he lies, he cheats, he steals. But that’s all he knows how to do. I’m not saying that makes it right; I’m saying he still has his priorities straight. It’s really hard to explain, but he really is good. And the kicker is that he hates himself for everything he’s done. Like I said in my review ofWhite Cat
, he accepts his faults. He knows the things he does are bad. Yet he’s a good person. Does that make sense? It’s really hard to explain; I apologize for any confusion.
Black continues the story of her curseworkers with gorgeous writing, new themes, and a messed up society.
This review is originally posted on my primary blog, Crazy for YA