TITLE: Red Glove
AUTHOR: Holly Black
SERIES: Curse Workers (#2)
GENRE: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
RATING: 4/5 Stars
After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to re-establish some kind of normalcy in his life.
That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.
Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive…
What I Liked:
- Holly Black, I have always said, has a wonderful imagination. Her work and it's ideas always feels very original. She's good at taking a well-known trope or paranormal element and turning it completely on it's head. The 'Curse Workers' series is no exception! People with powers is something we see a lot in YA Fantasy, but Black gives us consequences in the form of blowback, and it's this that makes things so much more interesting. Sure, being able to kill people with one touch makes things sound easy, but if it rots off a part of your body? No thanks!
- There were a lot of twists and turns in this book that kept the ball rolling for me. It's another element of Black's writing that I enjoy: the ability to keep the plot progressing. Reading her work always feels fast-paced and especially so in this series (probably due to the crime/thriller aspect of the story). That coupled with a ton of mini cliffhangers at the end of each chapter and I'm hooked!
- One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book even more than 'White Cat' was that I felt more connected to the characters. I've always liked Cassel and that didn't really change here. Daneca and Sam felt like more than just convenient sidekicks and actually had their very own sub-plot going, which I liked. Lila was the big one for me. In the last book I really didn't get her at all. She suffered from Manic Pixie Dream Girl fever I'm afraid to say. But in this book, I felt more of a connection to her.
What I Disliked:
- I've mentioned before Black's notorious 'blink and you miss it' moments, and I'm afraid to say they were here in this book. For example: did you know that everyone wears gloves in Cassel's world? Neither did I until the Worker's Rights march he goes on and though I've no doubt that Black probably mentioned it before, it's definitely a fact worth more than casual comment. Holly Black's ideas are fantastic but in some cases, I find them lacking real detail and finesse.
- The end of this book didn't really impress me a whole lot and I'll explain why. Black had a large number of plots and sub-plots going on but didn't develop all of them completely. The whole Feds/Zacharov/Barron situation should have been something that Cassel spent the whole book planning to get out of. Instead he doesn't put a whole lot of thought into them until the very end when, as more of an after thought, he explains 'oh by the way, I had this great plan the whole time'. He was supposedly in terrible danger but I never really felt like he was due to his pretty laid-back attitude on the whole thing. It made for a very anti-climactic ending.
I did really enjoy this read and think it did a better job than 'White Cat' in terms of characterisation and development. There is still a real lack of detail that I think could be easily fixed if Black just wrote longer books and dedicated that page space to adding finesse and really building the worlds she's creating. Multiple plot-lines simply don't work out well in short books. Either stick to a couple or make more room for them. I'm truly looking forward to reading the final book in the series however: 'Black Heart'.