Book Reviews

Red Glove – Holly Black

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.

Discovery: I’ve been trying to avoid picking up a series lately, but White Cat  was too good not to continue.

+     The return of Cassel Sharpe and his sharp wit. Cassel might be a damaged person after the events and discoveries of White Cat, but he’s still always one step ahead of the game. His determination to find out the truth and unwavering loyalty to his friends is something that Red Glove highlights, leading to a brilliant ending. Cassel is no white knight–he is willing to play dirty just as much as his brothers have, but he never quite loses his soul.

+     Mama Sharpe. She is quite possibly the most intriguing character in the series. I would love to know more about her, but it’s the kind of curiousity that would die once that happens. She’s feisty, highly intelligent and no matter what Cassel might think, she loves her sons.

+     Daneca Wasserman (and Sam). I know that the audience is meant to root for Cassel and Lila, but I find myself more invested in Daneca and Sam. They both have to face a new dimension of their relationship in this book. While I don’t really approve of how one of them deals with it, I do commend Holly Black for not shying away from those challenges.

+     World-building. I’ve said it once, but I’ll say it again: the world that Black has adapted is beautifully gritty and fascinating. Outside of the boarding school, Cassel runs into demonstrations, Feds and socially awkward situations that he manages to twist to serve his own ends. Readers may not always agree with his choices, but the ride is bumpy and illuminating all the same.

–     Philip Sharpe. I’m putting him down as a negative, because I think the audience deserves more information. I can’t say much since it would spoil the book. Basically, I just wish Black had given us a bit more to ride on, considering the dynamic of his story arc.

Recommendations: This is a sequel that manages to be better than its predecessor. Returning readers will be blown away by the twists skillfully handled by Black, and new visitors to Cassel’s world will not be disappointed.

Rating: Excellent.

Go check out Holly Black’s site and follow her on Twitter @hollyblack.

Next review: Heist Society, Ally Carter

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Categories: Book Reviews, YA fiction

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