by Holly Black
Curse Workers, book two
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. (description from Amazon.com)
I still can only commend Holly Black on how intricately she can build a believable, yet fantastic world! I love how her urban fantasies are wholly rooted in our world, yet have such strong elements that make them spring fully from her imagination. The world of the curse workers is intricate, flawed, and cool as hell.
I'm still not as in love with Cassel as many other readers are, but I definitely grew to enjoy him more fully as a character in this second book. I think as he came to know the whole story of what he'd done and how his actions reflected on his personality and desires, he became more fully rounded and believable in my imagination. I loved some of the choices he made here and can't wait to see how he'll pull things off next!
I am definitely looking forward to Black Heart. So many life altering choices were made or inadvertently forced onto different characters in this book, that it will be really, really interesting to see where they all end up in the next. *Mwa Haa Haa*