Author: Holly Black
Released: May 4th 2010
Published by: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 310 pages
Where to purchase:
US: IndieBound B&N Borders Books A Million
International: Book Depository
This was a fabulously written story. The characters all had realistic, individual personalities complete with their own set of flaws. It held my attention from the beginning clear until the end. I was invested in what had happened & what was going as Cassel was trying to piece things together.
The story opens with Cassel on a steep & slightly slippery roof with no way down. This leads to the school suspending him until he can prove he’s not a liability & something like that won’t happen again. Being suspended means he has to go home & help his Granddad clean up Cassel’s family home before his Mom gets released from jail. Granddad is a bit tough, but a likeable & pretty funny guy. He’s a death worker & our 1st real look at blow back. Every time a worker curses, they have to deal with blowback from the curse. Granddad is a death worker, this is why he has several stubby fingers. Throughout the book, pieces of information are given a little bit a time, giving us a better idea of the world Cassel lives in.
Cassel is the only non-worker in a family full of workers. He’s the baby of the family. He might not be a worker, but his Mom taught him all about being a con artist. I loved that he was always thinking about the various advice on how to pull a con & when he wasn’t he was trying to remember what exactly happened to Lila. He remembers the body, the blood & the knife, but doesn’t remember what led up to it. His brothers covered it up because Lila was the Daughter of the crime boss their family worked for. I found myself wondering what could have led up to him killing her. I felt kind of bad for Cassel, he went to the school he was at because he wanted to be a regular person, since he wasn’t a work, but he never quite fits in. I loved watching him piece things together & pull off a con here & there. He grows a lot by the time the book ends.
The way Holly leaves clues reminded me a bit of following a trail of breadcrumbs. There were just enough hints left that I could sometimes guess some of the things that were coming, but not all of them. I liked how even when everything seemed like it might fall apart at any second, Cassel never gave up. I can’t wait to read the sequel, Red Glove when it comes out.