Saturday, July 21, 2012

Black Heart by Holly Black - Guest Post

Published: April 2012
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 296
Copy: Library
Summary: Goodreads

Cassel Sharpe has the most deadly ability of all. With one touch, he can transform any object - including a person - into something else entirely. And that makes him a wanted man. The Feds are willing to forgive all his past crimes if he'll only leave his con artist family behind and go straight. But why does going straight feel so crooked?

For one thing, it means being on the opposite side of the law from Lila, the girl he loves. She's the daughter of a mob boss and getting ready to join the family business herself. Though Cassel is pretty sure she can never love him back, he can't stop obsessing over her. Which would be bad enough, even if her father wasn't keeping Cassel's mother prisoner in a posh apartment and threatening not to let her leave until she returns the priceless diamond she scammed off him years ago. Too bad she can't remember where she put it.

The Feds say they need Cassel to get rid of a powerful man who is spinning dangerously out of control. But if they want Cassel to use his unique talent to hurt people, what separates the good guys from the bad ones? Or is everyone just out to con him?

Time is running out, and all Cassel's magic and cleverness might not be enough to save him. With no easy answers and no one he can trust, love might be the most dangerous gamble of all.

Let us go back a little. I loved White Cat. It was so different. A wonderful blend of mystery, gangsters and magic. Next comes Red Glove, which while I enjoyed and the story kept moving, it suffered from a mild case of second-book syndrome in my eyes. Now, we’re onto Black Heart. And be still my heart!

Black Heart picks up where Red Glove left off (which let’s be honest, it was a bit of a mess, what with dead brothers, Lila moving up in the family business and so on). Holly Black never disappoints, but she was on point with Black Heart, tying up all the loose ends and making sense of Cassel and Lila (sort of...). The action never stopped, and I was always left questioning – WWCDN? (What Would Cassel Do Next?). Lila stepped into her father’s business wonderfully, without jeopardizing the character of the scared (but willing to rip your head off) little girl that once upon a time was a cat. The banter between Barron and Cassel is also enjoyable, although I would love another book from Barron’s perspective, just to figure out what is going on in the man’s head.
All in all, a wonderful and awesome, awesome end to a trilogy. Or will it be more? Do we get more Curse Workers books? I’d also love to high-five Ms. Black, to the nods to her fellow YA writers (I do believe the pageant from Beauty Queens was on TV at some point, watched by a character named Jace). And her subtle way of letting us know just what kind of a world this was she has built (an alternate reality. Yes, that means that in another dimension, you could be wearing gloves full time for fear of being worked!). Wonderfully subtle, and exciting for those in the know (you know when you see an Easter egg in a book or website, it always gets you giddy).
Lastly, I couldn’t end my ramblings without addressing the re-styling of the books. Personally, I’m on the fence about it. While I never loved the covers previously, I still don’t love the new style covers. And they have the added benefit of irritating me by ruining my matching set – I own both White Cat and Red Glove...but I refuse to buy Black Heart because I can’t get a cover to match the two I own. Is this wrong? Am I being ridiculous? Likely. But I wish publishers and authors would recognize that people like me exist, and save their re-designs for the trade paperback and pocket paperback editions. Or the re-issue of them in 5 years. But I got over it. Thank heavens for libraries –so I could read this gem of a book, regardless of what its cover looked like!

Thanks so much to Special K for this great review of Black Heart.  I can't wait to read this one.


  1. White Cat is on my wish list for quite some time now, but I still wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, but after reading this review I'm definitely going to! It sounds amazing. Thanks!

  2. It literally floored me! I wasn't sure what to expect - I knew Holly Black was super talented, but I had no idea how she was going to move forward with everything that happened, and she did it spendidly. Really one of the best close-outs (? maybe...?) to a series I've read in a long time.

  3. I have White Cat and Red Glove sitting on my shelf to read. I MUST get to them soon. At least I can read all three one after the other:D

    I have had them since they both first came out...need another head:D:D

    Great review!