Black Heart by Holly Black
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Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Format: Hardcover, 296 pages
Release Date: April 3, 2012
Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.
But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.
Amazing. Just simply amazing. If you haven't yet started the Curse Workers series, you are missing out BIG TIME. I don't really know how else to say it.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record (I think I've probably said most of this stuff in my reviews for White Cat and Red Glove) I love this world that Holly Black has created. It's inventive, it's fun and it's exciting. There are little trademarks that go along with it (the gloves! the amulets!) and just the idea of the mafia magic is fascinating. Holly Black writes with such expertise on the universe that I have absolutely no trouble believing that the crimes and manipulation could happen. If nothing else, you have to agree that this is a high-concept, original series.
Cassel Sharpe. Not only is it a nice change to shift into a male's perspective, it's a nice change to shift into Cassel's mind in general. At times he's all over the place in this book, not sure what he wants, and that is so realistic. He struggles with what he's been taught all his life and that deeper instinct within himself to be "good." Cassel from Book 1 to now has grown and matured a lot and I think that's evident in this book.
Admittedly, I've never been a huge fan of Cassel and Lila as a couple. I love Cassel but at times it just felt like his relationship with Lila would never work out, either because of Lila's situation as the heir to head of a huge crime family or just because I didn't think she was good enough for him. In this book though, I was definitely turning around. It seemed like some things just clicked into place and I was a lot more supportive of their HEA.
While you may think that most of the action is resolved from the ending of Red Glove, at least for Cassel, that is so not true. There are new mysteries to be solved and, once again, I was too slow on the uptake to crack the mystery before Cassel did. I love that even though we're reading from Cassel's POV, there are still tricks up his sleeve that we're not privy to.
If you haven't started this series yet, I really have nothing more to say than go NOW. You won't regret it.
Cover Comments: Gahhhh. Do I like it? I DON'T KNOW. In some ways, I think the updated look the series has gotten is great because of the bright flashes of colour and way that it jumps out at you. It definitely has that darkness going for it. Other times though? They kind of weird me out. I mean, what the heck is with the person on the White Cat cover? That said, I definitely like this new cover for Black Heart more than the original. It always just looked so... ridiculous to me. What do you think?