Throwback Review: Curse Workers by Holly Black


I previously had a different book blog, and I had a bunch of problems with the hosting company I used for the blog, and all of my content was deleted.  I managed to salvage some of my reviews from back then by compiling what  I wrote on Goodreads, Amazon, and Barnes and Nobles review sections.  See some that I have already posted here.


Goodreads Summary:

Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.

My Thoughts:

Another winner from Holly Black. Cassel is the youngest in a family of criminals. Curse workers are people who can manipulate your emotions, memories, luck, etc. by touching you. This type of work is illegal, so everyone who is a curse worker is a criminal. Everyone wears gloves, so they don’t accidently get touched by a curse worker, and also so no one knows whether or not you are one. Cassel isn’t a curse worker though, but he is a criminal, because he killed his best friend Lila, who is the daughter of a crime boss. Cassel starts having nightmare about a white cat, ever since her death, and he starts sleepwalking. This book kept me interested the entire time, and I finished it in one sitting.

Fave quotes:

“The easiest lies to tell are the ones you want to be true.”

“Once someone’s hurt you, it’s harder to relax around them, harder to think of them as safe to love. But it doesn’t stop you from wanting them.”

“We are, largely, who we remember ourselves to be. That’s why habits are so hard to break. If we know ourselves to be liars, we expect not to tell the truth. If we think of ourselves as honest, we try harder.”

“I can’t trust the people I care about not to hurt me. And I’m not sure I can trust myself not to hurt them, either.”

“Memory is slippery. It bends to our understanding of the world, twists to accommodate our prejudices. It is unreliable. Witnesses seldom remember the same things. They identify the wrong people. They give us the details of events that never happened.”

“We are, largely, who we remember ourselves to be”

“Lie until even you believe it – that’s the real secret of lying”



Goodreads Summary:

The cons get craftier and the stakes rise ever higher in the riveting sequel to White Cat.

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to reestablish 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….

My Thoughts:

I love this series. Cassel is just a great character. Cassel’s mom is an emotion worker, and her cons just keep getting bigger and bigger in this book. This book keeps a quick pace, and is just an interesting as book 1. His love Lila was worked by Cassel’s mom to fall in love with him, which means Cassel (being the good guy he is) can’t be with her, until she is over the curse, because she is forced to love him.

Fave quotes:

“The truth is messy. It’s raw and uncomfortable. You can’t blame people for preferring lies.”

“Changing is what people do when they have no options left.”

“No trouble ever got fixed late at night,” he said. “Midnight is for regrets.”

“Life’s full of opportunities to make crappy decisions that feel good. And after the first one, the rest get a whole lot easier.”

“A man may daydream of how he would spend a million dollars, but playing the same game with a billion dollars sours the fantasy. There are too many possibilities. The house he once wished for with all his heart is suddenly too small. The travel, too cheap. He wanted to visit an island. Now he contemplates buying one.”



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