I was so surprised by how much I loved this book. This is the first book by Holly Black I’ve read and I have to say she really knows what she’s doing. She’s a master and crafting both character and plot into a page-turner. Well, not literally, in my case, since I was listening to the audiobook. Also, props to Jesse Eisenberg for a terrific narration. He was the only reason I picked up the audiobook to begin with. I mean, I thought the plot sounded cool, but with the disappointment with paranormal books lately I was a little wary of this one. I’m so glad I ended up loving it.
Cassel lives in a world full of curse workers—people who have powers, such as changing emotions, memories, or even killing others with the touch of hand. Everyone in his family are curse workers… except him. Cassel has no powers. He’s just an ordinary boy trying to live an ordinary life. When Cassel begins sleepwalking and dreaming of a white cat, his normal life fades away. His family are keeping secrets, and Cassel starts to worry that they’re conning him.
Cassel was such a great, witty character. His narrative set the perfect tone for the world and the story. His brothers and Lila were equally dynamic characters. I felt some of the smaller characters fell a little flat, but perhaps that’s just due to their lack of presence in the story. Black has an amazing ability to unravel plot like a pro. Black has surpassed the other writers in the YA fantasy/urban fantasy/paranormal trend. She can produce a book that’s interesting, exciting, and well written with characters it’s impossible not to fall in love with. Bravo, Ms. Black. I’m officially impressed. Jesse Eisenberg brought a lot to this character for me. Cassel is the type of guy Eisenberg is always playing in films and his voice gave it so much personality. I’m not sure I’d enjoy the print version half as much as I enjoyed the audiobook.