Thursday, June 7, 2012

Black Heart by Holly Black

Black Heart by Holly Black is the conclusion of the Curseworkers trilogy, and I'm finding it hard to explain the series. First of all, if you're at all interested -- if, for instance, you like urban fantasy, or reading about original, well-developed magic systems, you should start with White Cat, where you can meet teenage con man Cassel Sharpe and his mob family and preppy boarding school friends. You can immerse yourself in a world where some individuals have the ability to work curses by touch, so everyone in society wears gloves to prevent being worked. And you can avoid the spoilers that will be included in the rest of this review.

In Black Heart, Cassel is working for the Feds -- or is he? After all, Cassel will always look out for Cassel first, and he hasn't made a definite commitment to the Feds yet. Still, they need his unique talents for a big job. If he plays his cards right, he may be able to make everyone happy: the Feds, his family, the crime boss, his friends, the mob, and Lila -- the girl he loves, who was cursed to love him back and . . . well, it's complicated. Then again, if Cassel messes up, the consequences could be deadly. Will Cassel be able to pull off "the Big One?"

I liked this book just as much as the first two in the series. Cassel has a strong, smart (and smart-alecky) voice, and he was a lot of fun to read about, as always. The plot came together well, though it seemed just a little bit more straightforward than the other two books. That may be because this book has a definite ending, wrapping up loose ends nicely. A satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

A note on the cover: I really liked the covers for White Cat and Red Glove -- I'm ambivalent about this one.  I generally dislike when publishers change the cover design in the middle of a series, and more so when the original cover art does as good a job of evoking the atmosphere of the books as the first two covers for this series did.  I can live with this one -- mostly because I don't plan to add them to my personal collection.

(Reviewed from a copy borrowed through my library system.)

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