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Curse Workers series by Holly Black

Holly Black is my favorite author, and she has been my favorite author since I picked up her book Tithe about 6 years ago.  I have always been a reluctant reader, and not because I don’t enjoy reading but because I am a slow reader.  However, Holly Black has been one of a handful of authors who catch my interest right from the first page and as a result I read their work voraciously.

The problem: after her 3rd YA novel, Ironside, was published in 2007 she was not publishing a new novel until May 2010.  It was a long time to wait! Granted, she did edit some awesome short story collections (like Zombies vs. Unicorns) but I really enjoy reading her novels.  So, I was excited to get my hands on first book in the Curse Workers series, White Cat, and I am now about half way through the second book Red Glove

The Curse Workers series centers on Cassel Sharpe.  He has grown up a non-worker in a family of workers.  Workers, or curse workers, are people who have the ability to control emotions, luck, or even physically change someone all with the touch of a hand.  Most curse workers turn to organized crime to ensure their protection and also to use their abilities to their most profitable potential.  Cassel’s mother is not only an emotion curse worker she is also an expert con-woman who happens to be in jail right now.  So, Cassel is stuck in boarding school, where he is running a profitable gambling business using the tricks of the trade that his mother taught him.  Cassel, however, is scarred by the vague memory of killing his best friend, Lila, three years ago.  Lately, he can’t shake the feeling that there is something wrong, especially when a white cat shows up in his dreams and then in his reality.

Holly Black is most well known for writing about faeries (most famously for The Spiderwick Chronicles).  So, when I first heard about her new Curse Workers series, I was curious to see if she would be able to write successfully about something other than faeries.  Let me tell you, she did not disappoint.  Her concept for this new series is so interesting.  In the world she has created everyone has to wear gloves, since that is the way a curse worker “works”.  No matter what the weather or what you’re doing you have to be wearing gloves.  Even family members rarely see each other’s bare hands.  Also, in order to work someone the worker has to deal with the blowback.  So, when Cassel’s mother works another person’s emotions, she will then experience uncontrollable emotions for days after–depending on how much she worked the person.  Not only is Black’s mythology of the curse worker world so interesting, but I find myself instantly drawn into the story and mystery around Cassel and his place in his family and death of his best friend, Lila.  (Who, by the way, he also had a huge unrequited crush on…)

So, in case you couldn’t figure it out by this point I really like Holly Black’s new Curse Workers series.  Check out the series at the Library:
1) White Cat
2) Red Glove
3) Black Heart will not be out for about another year, but Black recently shared this photo of the cover on her blog:

 Black Heart

Black also shared that a jewelry designer has created a set of jewelry inspired by the Curse Workers series.  Charms are big in the world of curse workers because they can help protect someone from being worked.  Here’s an important one that Black herself loves, the Resurrection Diamond:

 Resurrection Diamond

By Colleen, Teen Services Librarian on April 27, 2011 Categories: Fantasy, Fiction, Mystery

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