Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Red Glove

Cassel Sharpe recently discovered that he is a rare type of curse worker that has the power of transformation. Of course, he needs to keep this from other people because he would be a powerful asset to however can get control of him. After his brother is murdered by a woman only identifying by her red gloves, the Feds come after him demanding information. The two opposing factions Mob are also after him for his power. Whichever side controls him will destroy the other. On top of all this, Lila, the girl Cassel loves, is turned back into a human from being a cat. His mother thought it was a nice present to make her feel like she loved him, so he is resolved to stay away from her until the magic wears off. Can Cassel avoid being owned by the Feds and the Mob and still be with the girl he loves without the enchantment?

The first Curse Workers novel is the best urban fantasy I have ever read. The gritty reality of the underground crime world and the fantastical curse worker magic together make a wonderful and unexpected novel. This one is steeped in the same world, but focuses on slightly different aspects. The Mob is still a central part, but the law is a new focus. The Feds are shown to be almost as corrupt and horrible as organized crime. Cassel is more bullied, coerced, and threatened by law enforcers than by the Mob. Even though they want to solve crimes and put deserving people behind bars, harassing and intimidating a teenage boy is a horrible way to accomplish the task. There is also a scene where Cassel and Lila are involved in a protest where everyone takes off their gloves. This is forbidden because touching is they way the curse workers influence people with their magic. It was a beautiful, shocking moment that took a lot of trust. Then the moment was interrupted by police violence and brutality. These scenes provided a larger view of the world that revealed the corruption that is rampant not only in the Mob, but also the police force.

The other amazing thing about this novel is the characters. Cassel is a boy raised in a crime family that struggles to be a good person. He is incredibly clever and solves his problems in the most unexpected ways. I sympathize with Cassel and fiercely want things to turn out well for him. Black writes clearly and convincingly in his voice. Lila is another character that is intriguing, but she's very mysterious. She was raised by the head of a faction of the Mob and spent many years as a cat. She is fiery and unpredictable with a mysterious past. To get a better view of her personality, I would recommend reading Lila Zacharov in 13 Pieces, which is a series of vignettes taking place at different times in Lila's life presented in a random order. I really like this experimental series of short stories and would love to read a book narrated by Lila.

Red Glove's only shortcoming is being not as good as White Cat by a very small margin. I think it's the symptom of being the second book in a series. I still highly recommend this crime adventure and mystery. I can't wait for the next book and I really hope the series extends past a trilogy.

My rating: 4.5/5 fishmuffins

1 comment:

Conor said...

Red Glove sounds interesting. I'll read anything with good characters! Great review btw.