“Red Glove (Curse Workers #2)” by Holly Black
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
I enjoyed White Cat pretty well. It was interesting jumping from the curse worker world to the mobster side of that world. It was interesting but it was hard to get fully into it because Cassel wasn’t a worker (though we find out differently towards the end). We were outsiders just like Cassel was. Red Glove is more interesting because Cassel is much more involved in the world and people are starting to treat him like an adult.
I never thought I was a fan of mobster and cop story lines. Turns out I was wrong. I really enjoyed seeing some of the inner workings of the curse worker’s mafia. Throw in the fact that we have some federal agents who aren’t totally upfront about what they are? Loved it! In addition, the storyline had a good amount of mystery. I wasn’t able to predict what has going to happen which is always nice.
I connected pretty well with Cassel in the first book but I didn’t “get” him as much in this book. I do appreciate that fact that we can see that he has matured. I also liked that he thought for himself. He didn’t do (too many) things just because his mom or brother wanted him to. He really started to try to figure out what he wants out of life. Lila was featured quite a bit more in this book. It was hard to get a full read on her since she really wasn’t herself for a good portion of the book. When the real her starts to shine through, she was feisty and strong.
The bottom line? Interesting middle book.