Friday, August 6, 2010

Review: "White Cat" By Holly Black

Barnes&Noble Synopsis:

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 façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade 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 outcon the conmen.


This isn't your typical cookie-cutter, life is grand, pot of gold at the end of the rainbow type story. I found it dark yet enticing. Cassel is anything but innocent, aside from the small time gambling bets his classmates place with him, and his near fatal sleepwalking experiences, how deep does his darkness really go? Is he a murderer? Is he being worked? And among the several cats that appear out of nowhere, why does the white cat seem so familiar to him?
Aside from the complexity of his character, his family is a whole other situation. With their twisted values, and their loyalties to a crime boss. Figuring out just what their hiding shows to be essential if Cassel wishes to survive through another nightmare. As far as "normal" families go, this family is anything but, and as the story unravels it only gets worse. If you're looking for a love story, I would first like to ask; just what is your idea of love? In this story love is being so head over heels, that you would give your last penny, your last anything to that person, the shirt off your back even, because in your eyes you didn't know why you loved them you just did. And as time goes by the feelings slowly dissipate, but it doesn't occur to you, until it's too late, that anything is wrong. And one day, you'll awake in a haze and realize, that you've been worked.
If that's the kind of book you're looking for, look no further, because Holly Black delivers all that and more.
Magic, mischief, murder and deception are just some of the words that could come even a little close in describing what I just read. Holly Black's "White Cat" was beautifully dark and wonderfully wicked. I'm certain you will enjoy it as much as I did.


Shadow Hills By Anastasia Hopcus

Barnes&Noble Syn
opsis:After her sister Athena's tragic death, it's obvious that grief-stricken Persephone "Phe" Archer no longer belongs in Los Angeles. Hoping to make sense of her sister's sudden demise and the cryptic dreams following it, Phe abandons her bubbly LA life to attend an uptight East Coast preparatory school in Shadow Hills, MA — a school which her sister mysteriously mentioned in her last diary entry before she died.

Once there, Phe quickly realizes that something is deeply amiss in her new town. Not only does Shadow Hills' history boast an unexplained epidemic that decimated hundreds of its citizens in the 1700s, but its modern townies also seem eerily psychic, with the bizarre ability to bend metal. Even Zach — the gorgeous stranger Phe meets and immediately begins to lust after — seems as if he is hiding something serious. Phe is determined to get to the bottom of it. The longer she stays there, the more she suspects that her sister's untimely death and her own destiny are intricately linked to those who reside in Shadow Hills.

Upon reading, I knew from the first three pages that I was going to enjoy the plot. Situations present themselves, and I knew it was going to be a nail biting mystery. Phe is not just some ordinary girl who rolls over and plays dead, she is a force to be reckoned with, and doesn't back down from any challenge. She is in Shadow Hills for a reason, and she's not going to stop turning over rocks until she finds out what that reason is.
Zach's character is interesting, not only because of his secrets, but his familiarity to Phe.
Things began happening, and not knowing who to trust, who's bad or who's good? made this book even more tasty. Once you think you solved it, BAM! just like that people aren't what they seem, and things are only going to get weirder. If you like a mystery with twists and turns, lust and betrayal, Anastasia Hocus's "Shadow Hills" is for you.