The International Writers Magazine: Young Adults Review - From our Archives
White Cat by Holly Black
ISBN: 978 0 575 09671 4 (17 June 2010)
Published by Gollancz
Cassel has a dream, a dream of a white cat who bites out his tongue and runs away with it, in the dream he chases after her, and then in reality he wakes up on his school roof.
Cassel makes it his business to fit in, he is whoever people want him to be, and right now that is being a typical teenage boy...or at least it was until his little sleepwalking incident. With the school concerned about insurance policies of students falling off of roofs, Cassel is informed he is to take a term of medical absence and return to live with his brothers.
But when it comes to fitting in, there is no hope for him within his family. All of his brothers and his mother, and basically all of his family, are workers. And not in the sense they have jobs. Workers are the people who have magic at their fingertips...literally, which is why everyone at the school wears gloves at all times, to ensure that people don’t accidently discover they’re workers when they touch their classmate who then keel over. Most workers are typically known for being part of the criminal world, and Cassel’s family is no different. Being the only non-worker in the family has not been easy for Cassel.
But life is about to get a whole lot harder when the dark past and even darker secrets begin to surface. Blood soaked memories and scheming whispers plague his life, when all he wanted was to con his way back into school. And when you’re part of a family of workers who are typically known for being criminals, it’s hard to know who to trust.
Holly Black is well known for her work in the very successful ‘Spiderwick Chronicles’ series, so clearly already had a developed standing in fantasy writing, and her latest book is far from disappointing. She creates a completely believable world not so different from our own, even incorporating specific historical events of our time into her own world with mild twists to add to the founding of her story.
Cassel is a character that is instantly likeable for the readers. A witty youth, with more than one problem of his own in both the ‘worker’ side of things and everyday life. Half of the time worrying about losing his girlfriend and staying liked within the school, the other half worrying about his brothers and a dark secret of all of their pasts. We are instantly taken in by his life, and are more than happy to follow the first person writings to see how his life all fits into place.
It is an easy read for those of you who want to sit back and enjoy the ride without having to spend half your time trying to keep up with everything that is happening, but please don’t take that as me saying this isn’t an exciting read; it most certainly is. You will be drawn in by the very first page, and you won’t be able to let go until you’ve seen it through to the very end.
‘White Cat’ is a brilliant story of magic, danger, mystery, and the simple problems of trying to fit in; the latter is something most of us can relate to. I was so drawn into this story that I finished it in a half a day, refusing to put the book down until I had seen it through until the end, and what a journey it’s been. With an intriguing plot line, tension, murder, magic, and plenty of twists, thrown in with a good old helping of wit, I am sure that Holly Black’s latest novel is certain to please any who read it. So sit back, open up your mind to this fantasy, and remember that ‘You’re only a finger tip away from another world’.
© Holly Trinder May 19th 2010
Holly has written her first fantasy novel and is currently looking for a publisher
Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
Published 3 June 2010
Fairy tales are not all made up, this is what the March sisters are forced to accept.
More Young Adult Reviews