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I tried really hard to do a nice series review of the Curse Workers by Holly Black, but for some reason it just didn’t turn out how I wanted it to. I was just going to give up, but I ended up really enjoying this series and want to give it some recognition, so I thought I’d just share some random thoughts about it.
–This book was pretty different than most YA books and I really appreciated it. I think sometimes authors try to hard to teach us some sort of big life lesson and it doesn’t always work for me. While Cassel does have character growth, he doesn’t really become a “better” person and he has no plans to lead a life free of crime. It’s probably kind of wrong to say on a moral level, but I really liked that about him. I liked that he could grow as a character without completely changing himself.
-I LOVE Cassel! In White Cat I liked him, but didn’t love him, but in Red Glove I really became all about him. He does try really hard to do the right thing – though his definition of “right” is often pretty skewed. He’s clever and sarcastic and I absolutely loved watching him be cunning and conning.
-I loved the friendship between Cassel and his roommate Sam. It really grew throughout the series. Cassel has tried really hard to act like a normal kid and not a member of a worker family with ties to the mob and a mother in prison. He doesn’t really let himself get close to anyone, but he does start to trust Sam. I loved seeing their friendship grow. Cassel was always trying to shield Sam, but Sam had no interest in being protected. He was a true friend, always looking out for Cassel and helping out whenever he was needed. I loved that Cassel also had Sam’s back, too. They also have sooo many great banter-y moments.
-While Cassel’s love/obsession for Lila is a strong and recurring theme through the series, it doesn’t take a lot of actual time up within the pages – which I appreciate because I like a little romance in most books, but I don’t want to be overwhelmed by it (unless it’s an actual romance or a cute contemporary). I ended up being overall satisfied with how things between Lila and Cassel played out, but I can’t say I cared much about it in the first couple books. I found it more interesting how Cassel viewed Lila and how she motivated him than their actual romantic relationship. That said, by the end of Black Heart I was shipping them.
-The other big romance in the series is between Sam and Daneca. I really liked them in White Cat and about half of Red Glove, but then their drama got a little annoying. I really didn’t like when Barron entered the equation, but I ended up feeling bad for him. This development is one of the things I wished was resolved before the end of the series.
-Cassel has one super dysfunctional family. While they do want to take care of each other and want the best for each other, they all have pretty radically different ideas of what that means. Cassel is lied to for most of his life and made to do things he doesn’t want to do because his family thinks that’s what’s best for him (and for them). And even when his mother or brothers do horrible things to him, Cassel still tries to help them. My favorite relative is definitely Cassel’s grandfather, who I think is the only one that really has Cassel’s best interest at heart, without having any type of selfish motive.
–Some of the big twists throughout the series became pretty obvious long before Cassel figured it out. Especially who was guilty of the big murder in Red Glove. Still, though, I enjoyed watching him figure it out.
-The Cons!!! This is quite easily my favorite parts of the books. Cassel is an excellent con man and I loved watching him get away with stuff. Or not really get away with stuff, but still manage to come out basically unscathed.
Overall, I really enjoyed this series! I definitely recommend it to fans of YA/Fantasy. Cassel has become one of my favorite YA characters and I hope you grow to adore him as much as I do!
White Cat: 3 Stars
Red Glove: 4 Stars
Black Heart: 4 Stars
Series Rating: 4 Stars