Friday, August 20, 2010
White Cat, Holly Black
Cassel is running a betting operation out of his dorm room in boarding school. Everyone in the school is laying odds on everything from if the mouse in the common room is going to die, (and if so how,) to what the next pop quiz is going to be on, to LONG odds on shrewish teachers hooking up.
Oddly enough, this is Cassel's version of going clean. Because, you see, his family is in the mob. His Dad's dead, his mom is currently in jail for entrapping rich men with the intention of separating them from their savings, and both his older brothers are working as enforcers for a major crime lord. Though you can't really blame them for following the dark side. His whole family is and has been Workers, which mean they can work magic. The only issue with that is that magic has been illegal since the 1920's, so workers tend to end up in Organized Crime, whether they intend to or not.
Cassel's not a Worker, which one of the reasons he knows his family lets him make nice plans for a peaceful civilian life. He's a bit of the family disappointment, and now he's just trying to move on and get over his past. His personal past. Because his family might be in the mob, and he might be the only one who isn't a Worker, but he also killed his best friend when he was 14. He doesn't even know why, he just remembers standing over her bloody body with a maniac grin on his face.
So yes, running a tiny little betting operation that involves the whole school is Cassel's version of toeing the straight and narrow. And he's TRYING. Only he keeps sleepwalking, and having freaky dreams which seem to imply he's going insane. And believe me, the issues I've just mentioned to you are only the tip of the iceberg that are his troubles.
I have difficulties expressing the awesomeness that is this book without spoilering it. Curses. (heh.) I would just like to take this moment to say a few words. One, the characters are delightful, and are all three-dimentional to the point that I am sure even the dead ones have nefarious plots they're enforcing from beyond the grave. I love his entire family with a stark, unholy and deeply unsafe love. Unsafe because, well, this is CASSEL'S family we're talking of. (Barron, I can always count on you to make my heart soar. Right before you set it on fire and roast marshmallows on it.) The plot is twisted in the manner of a bent corkscrew, so just when you think you can tell where things are going, they curve off in another truly awesome/disconcerting manner.
You know how you try to dissect songs sometimes, and you're left going- wow, there are NO wasted words? Every single syllable is doing double duty towards the general awesome! This book is like that. (And what, you say only strange Jasmines and their fathers do that, therefore I am strange? I say Psh, you know not of what you talk. Get with the program. Dissecting songs is awesome.)
I gave it five stars out of Five, because to my way of thinking of how a story should be told, this one is up at the top of the curriculum. (Wow, let's see how unclear I can make a sentence, eh? LET'S ADD MORE 'OFs" AND SEE IF THAT MAKES IT BETTER.)
P.S. *cough* Sorry, this is not the most clear of all book rants I've ever ranted for you. But I know only inane people read this blog anyways, so I figure you can deal. ^_&