I am always excited to find a great author. As I said in my previous post, I liked a pep talk written by Holly Black for Nanowrimo, and I checked out several of her books. I am overjoyed to announce that White Cat, the first installment in The Curse Workers’ series, is getting a place of honor in my favorite books’ list. White Cat is narrated in the first person/present tense, which is a tough one to pull off, by Cassel Sharpe. He is a lonely teenager, coming from a family of curse workers and aspiring only to fix his sleepwalking problem to be reaccepted at his private school. Cassel refuses to have normal social relationships because he is hiding a terrible truth, and doesn’t think he deserves more from life than misery. Being the only non worker in his family he feels rejected by his own brothers, and would like more than anything else to be trusted by them. With his mother in prison, and a grandfather who doesn’t seem completely reliable, Cassel is left to fend for himself while he tries to make sense of how he could have killed Lila, the girl he loved. The whole story takes place in an alternate universe where curse workers, people born with magical powers, are outlawed and hunted. Everybody is forced to wear gloves, since the curses are worked by skin touching. I particularly like when an author is able to create a universe that is structured by specific socio-economic rules, and Holly Black has done an excellent job with the curse workers’ world. The scene where Cassel blushes at the sight of his sister in law’s naked hands is a perfect example of how deep is said world. White Cat has witty dialogues, a smart plot, and an incredible ending that will make you talk about it long after you have finished reading the book. Waiting impatiently for Red Glove to come out next April.
Every year accomplished authors write pep-talks for Nanowriters (Nanowrimo’s aficionados, slightly cuckoo in the head) like me. This year one of the pep-talk I liked the most was written by Holly Black. Driven by sudden inspiration I checked out few of her books and I found the Good Neighbors’ series. I have already read Kin and Kith without blinking my eyes once, and I can’t wait to read the third and final installment that just came out, Kind. I didn’t know that they were comic books, and I was pleasantly surprised by discovering Ted Naifeh, who is the illustrator. The Good Neighbors narrates the story of a teenage girl, Rue, who has always seen things out of the ordinary, but has never thought about it until tragedy wreaks havoc in her life. Rue’s mother disappears for several days after an altercation with her father. Her father is accused of having murdered his wife and another young woman who was one of his student. Rues discovers the truth behind her mother’s disappearance when, while trying to put together bits and pieces of her scattered life, the fairies reveal to her that she is one of them. Rues is forced to confront blood ties she would have never thought real, and a reality which is not a fairy tale. As if being a teenager isn’t hard enough by itself. I particularly liked Holly Black’s dark narration and the eerie qualities of Ted Naifeh’s art. I am now officially hooked on fairies’ stories. But only if they are bad, the fairies, not the stories.