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Friday, June 18, 2010

Paradise Found: White Sands and White Cat

Go on, be jealous.  I can't say I'd blame you, because last weekend I got to spend some quality beach time on the soft, sandy shores of Bimini while reading Holly Black's new book, WHITE CAT.

I'd been hearing a lot of buzz on twitter about White Cat and the cover looked pretty darn intriguing (I admit to being one to prejudge a book by its cover), so I decided to give it a go.  All I can say is, when is book 2 coming out?

Here's the teaser:

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 mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, 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.

Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts 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, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
Holly Black has created a gripping tale of mobsters and dark magic where a single touch can bring love -- or death -- and your dreams might be more real than your memories.

I loved this book because it was a fresh paranormal story.  Cassel has supernatural powers, but that doesn't make him a vampire, a werewolf, a faerie, or even a warlock.  He's a new breed of boogie-man, blending the intrigue of mob life with the mystery of the paranormal.

Black's story is full of twists and turns that are neither obvious nor so out of the blue that you're scratching your head wondering what just happened.  She has also created a diverse cast of three-dimensional characters, each with their own unique personalities and ambitions.  We often hear as aspiring writers that each character has to want something -- and all of these characters do.  And it's what each of them wants that drives their interactions and the plot.

I also loved that Cassel was a total scammer, but was endearing too.  He's just the sort of bad boy that we all want to root for, because deep down he really just wants to be good.

Oh yeah, and the romance was well... pretty much non-existent.  That also made this book completely unique.  It was all about Cassel trying to figure out his own life rather than how two teens (one or more with supernatural abilities) are going to get through life together.  Don't get me wrong, if you say "paranormal," I'll say, "romance."  The two things go together in my mind like Oreos and a big, cold glass of milk.  But the take in this story was refreshingly different.

All in all, I give WHITE CAT an OMG! rating, equal to 4 out of 4 Greek coins.  If you're a fan of the paranormal genre at all, this is one you shouldn't miss.  Get your copy at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  For more information, check out Holly Black's website.


Nikki said...

I loved White Cat!! Such a great book :) And Holly is amazing.

LTM said...

sounds v. interesting--must add this to the list. Even though I don't write paranormal, I get lots of ideas and often enjoy reading it. Who knows! :o)

Jessie said...

LTM - you'll have to let me know what you think once you read it. IMO, it's one of the best books I've read this year.

LTM said...

I will--looked at it a long time in B&N yesterday and ended up buying 3 Magic Treehouse books--LOL!!! The girls were w/me (bedtime books). I'll get it on my next payday~ ;o)

Anissa said...

I somehow missed this one. Thanks for the rec. I'm off to order it!

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