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review 2015-09-20 00:56
#CBR7 Book 93: Red Glove by Holly Black
Red Glove - Holly Black

This is the second book in a trilogy, and as such not the best place to start. This review will contain some spoilers for book one, because it's impossible to write about this book without talking about things that were revealed in the first one. So if you are new to these Holly Black books, go find White Cat - that's where to begin the trilogy.


Cassel Sharpe lives in a world where a select percentage of the population have certain gifts. People who, if they touch your skin with theirs, can alter your luck or prospects, manipulate or delete your memories, alter or change your emotions, break your bones or heal your illnesses. Some can even kill. In the United States, there is heavy legislation against what is known as such curse working. Everyone has to wear gloves, because you never know who might be a curse worker, manipulating you in some way. Because curse working is mainly seen as a bad thing (despite the fact that the majority of workers mainly use their powers to bring good luck or can heal the sick and injured), those who discover they are gifted with such powers keep it very secret, or go on to join organised crime, because all the major crime bosses are curse workers.


On the flip side of having a cool superpower, there is the blowback. Every time a worker uses his or her abilities, they get a reaction. Physical workers who use their powers to hurt or heal get sick themselves, emotion workers get very emotionally unstable, death workers actually lose body parts and memory workers lose their own memories. 


Cassel believed he was the only one in his family of grifters and curse workers not gifted. His mother can completely change people's emotions, his older brother Phillip could break people's bones, his middle brother Barron can completely rewrite or delete people's memories and his grandfather is a death worker. Cassel himself is one of the rarest of workers, he can transform items or people, alter their appearances or even change them into animals or inanimate objects. His mother and brothers wanted to keep him unaware of his gifts until he got older, so his brother Barron started changing his memories, making him think he was just a regular human. Over the course of the first book, Cassel discovers that his brothers kept rewriting his memories, using his transformation abilities for their own ends.


After Phillip and Barrons tried to move up in the world by trying to assassinate Zacharov, the local curse worker crime boss, Cassel made a deal that saved their lives, but led to the death of Zacharov's nephew Anton. Because of all the blowback from his memory cursing, Barron's memory is a bit like Swiss cheese, and he has to surround himself with photographs, notebooks, post-it notes and note cards to remind himself of who he is and what his memories are. Cassel has used his forgery skills to make Barron believe they don't hate each other, and go for pizza every fortnight. Their mother is out of jail, and to "thank" Cassel, manipulated Lila, Zacharov's only daughter, into being madly in love with him. Now the girl Cassel has always loved and feels horrible about betraying (I don't want to reveal how, as it's very spoilery) is attending his school, watching him like a love-sick puppy and he can't touch her, as she's effectively given a really long-lasting roofie.


To add to Cassel's difficulties, he is approached by Federal agents who tell him his brother Phillip has been murdered. The security footage show a hooded woman entering his building, wearing long red gloves. They believe Phillip's death may be the last in a string of disappearances connected to the Zacharov crime family, and want Cassel's help in solving the crimes. Looking at the pictures of the missing men, Cassel is worried he knows exactly what happened to them. Cassel is pretty much stuck between a rock and a hard place. He doesn't really want to actively work for Zacharov, but can't exactly turn around and work for the government either, as that would be seen as a betrayal of everything he comes from, and could lead to the death of Barron, his mother and likely Cassel himself. 


Luckily, over the course of the first book, Cassel discovered he has friends he can really confide in and trust. His roommate Sam, who is a special effects wizard and Sam's girlfriend Daneca, who is very passionate about protecting worker rights, helped him prevent his brothers' misguided assassination attempt of Zacharov. They are now his most important allies. Cassel's grandfather is also firmly on his side, with no illusions about his various family members, but as he's been part of the Zacharov crime family and lost four fingers because of death curses he's performed in the line of duty, so Cassel doesn't feel he can tell him the full truth. He needs to use all the tricks he's learned as a grifter to hold both sides off until he figures out how he can work out what is best for himself.


I first read White Cat, the first book in the series about five years ago, and it didn't really make much of an impact on me. Then one of my friends read the whole series and rated them so highly, saying he actually wanted to see a paranormal TV series based on them, and I figured I really should give them another try. When re-reading the first book, I liked it better this time and many of the problems I had with Cassel as a protagonist come from the fact that he's such a introverted loner. Once he starts opening up and making friends, he becomes a lot more relatable and I cared more about what happened to him. Which is good, because there is a more engaging plot in the first book than in this one. I was still interested in seeing where the story was going and how Cassel was going to play both sides against each other. My friend is right, this would make a very cool TV show.

Source: kingmagu.blogspot.com/2015/09/cbr7-book-93-red-glove-by-holly-black.html
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review 2015-08-10 19:00
Red Glove by Holly Black
Red Glove - Holly Black

This is an oldie that never made the GR transition. I think I read it in 2012.


I’ll state right off that I have a fondness for the way Holly Black writes and may be biased towards her books. I adored Tithe for many of the reasons people despise it. Black’s characters are not whiny ass pansies, they have dark edges and do questionable things, they’re never perfect and I find her books intoxicating because of it.

Red Glove is the sequel to White Cat which you must read first if you’re going to read the series. It picks up pretty much where White Cat left off and begins with more woe, worry and grief for our protagonist Cassel as he returns to boarding school. Because of his abilities (which I’m not revealing because you need to read White Cat!) Cassel is once again drawn into a number of shady situations (to put it mildly) but this time he’s aware of everything he’s doing and he is torn up because of it. Cassel has an innate sense of decency despite the fact that he’s grown up with mobsters and a mother who makes her living bilking sugar daddies out of their fortunes. But as Cassel says, “Temptation is tempting.” Because of his uniqueness he is being seduced by mobsters and the FBI and gets involved in a murder investigation all while dealing with his tumultuous love affair with his sweetheart Lila.

I admire Cassel and his struggle with right and wrong and his ability to keep his sense of humor. Seriously, play out this little scenario, where his mom is demanding that he be an accomplice to her crime and tell me how well adjusted you would be if this was your idea of normal:

Mom says: “... grab the plastic bag over by my suitcase.”

The bag contains pantyhose. I put them on her desk.

“They’re for you.”

“You want me to look homeless, desperate but also kind of fabulous?”

“Over your head,” she says

Oh, poor, sweet Cassel!

Honestly, why don’t they adapt these for film?

Red Glove has no schmaltz, no sickening gooiness, no self-involved, superficial brats like so much other YA and no weak females. Some may argue that Cassel’s mom is weak, unstable or crazy (and all of that may be a little true) but I see her as an opportunist, like the rest of her family members, using her powers to the fullest advantage for herself.

I grew to love Cassel’s character even more in this book and though his relationship with Lila remains complicated none of it ever feels contrived and the things that happen fit in with the magical plot and the power plays. I can’t wait for the next installment and hope more people check out this over looked series.

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review 2015-04-01 04:25
Red Glove by Holly Black (The Curse Workers #2)
Red Glove - Holly Black

Hey guys, I hope you're all having a great day, and this is my review to Red Glove by Holly Black and is the second book in The Curse Workers trilogy.


The cons get craftier and the stakes rise ever higher in the riveting sequel to White Cat.

After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov’s retribution, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life.

That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family that’s tied to one of the big crime families—and whose mother’s cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is coming to terms with what it means to be a worker, and he’s figuring out how to have friends.

Except normal doesn’t last very long. Soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past—a past he remembers only in scattered fragments, and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on, because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive….


The one thing that makes me love this series so much is the fact that Black shows creativity. I am really amazed by Holly Black's writing. I can't say this is my favorite book ever, because I did find some flaws. But once they're looked over, I can easily see things I liked and didn't like.


Cassel is just as sharp and fast in the last book. He doesn't rely on his power to make his cons work and he's a quick thinker. I thought he was just as enjoyable to read about just like in the last book and I hope it gets better in the next one!


But at the same time, I didn't really get some of the other characters in this book. Like, was Lila really the love of Cassel's life? I'm not sure, I thought that Lila wasn't really built up as well as I wanted her to be, especially after the way she made a pretty nice entry in the last book from the way she was introduced. Sam and Daneca's relationship was shown quite nicely in this book, and I liked how it wasn't stretched. Another thing I didn't think was important though was the whole episode on Cassel's mom. Was she honestly that important?


Red Glove didn't have as much twists in this book than in the last one (White Cat) except for the ending! The ending was the bomb! I was so pumped because I had the smallest feeling what was going to happen in the ending, and when it did, I was pumping my fists because now I can officially think faster than our con-man Cassel here! (I mean, the plot was important too, I was just excited because I liked the ending)


Overall, I am more than ready for the next book, and I hope that from the next book we get more twists and turns and more Cassel being smart and kicking butt!


I would recommend The Curse Workers trilogy to anyone, you should really give this a try, because even though this is paranormal, it actually shows how the characters live in this world instead of trying to change it. I think that's what makes me like this series so much. I cannot say this is a favorite, because whenever I think about it, I see some things that this series didn't give me, but nonetheless, you need to give this a try.


Thanks for reading my review, and I hope you all have a great day! Until the next one!


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review 2014-08-08 02:06
Red Glove by Holly Black
Red Glove - Holly Black
Cassel is a transformation worker: the most powerful worker in the United States, maybe even North America. When his brother Philip is murdered, the Feds come to Cassel. Cassel has no idea who could have murdered his brother. He knows who has a motive, but those people wouldn’t be so careless as to get caught by a security camera. None of it makes sense. Not to mention that his first--and current--love, Lila, has been worked to love him. He knows it’s not real, but he can’t help falling for the illusion. Cassel is on a rollercoaster of emotions, plots, and secrets, and he can’t seem to get off of it.

Black does not disappoint in the second book of the Curseworker Series. I prefer the first book to this one, I think, but this book was different than the first, and I really liked it. This book has a mystery flair to it. It’s very different from White Cat and I think it’s better like that. There aren’t a whole lot of big secrets anymore, with Cassel’s being a transformation worker revealed. Most authors would try to bring in another character, have another secret and probably lose the reader. But Black keeps the same characters, kills one of them, and then writes a mystery novel with brilliantly interwoven plot lines. It’s genius, if you ask me. I would never think to do that. I absolutely love Black’s writing. Here’s one--of many-- examples: “Barron shrugs philosophically.” How do you shrug philosophically? Yet “philosophically” is the perfect word for it. At that time, Barron was wordlessly suggesting something, and Black sums it all up in one word. That takes skill. Just the words she uses...it amazes me. I admire her as an author, and I love her writing.


The ending is great. I won’t say what it is, but I can still talk about it. I am a huge mystery fan, even though I don’t read mysteries a lot. I love love love the Sherlock Holmes stories and novels. (No, I have not seen the BBC TV show. Please don’t kill me. ;)) The end is kind of set up like that: the hero reveals the solution through events, and then goes to the murderer and tells them how they did it. I loved it! It was set up very well, and you can tell that Black put a lot of thought into it.


Not only was there a mystery element to this book, Black brings in politics. There were some politics in the first book, but they were kind of in the background. In the second book, Black brings them a little more to the forefront. In White Cat, we hear about proposition two, which says that in the state of New Jersey, everyone is required to take the hypobathygammic (did I spell that right?) test. Of course, the government would somehow get ahold of the information, diminishing worker rights. Daneca is a huge worker rights supporter, and is determined to not let proposition two get passed into law. With her being more of a main character, not just in the background, the worker rights comes with her. You get to find out a lot more about her.


And Lila...I really don’t know what to say about her. Yes, she is in this book a lot, but it’s not really her. She’s cursed to love Cassel, and that kind of takes over her life, so she ends up going to school at Wallingford with him. In the last book, you only saw a little bit of her, too, at the end. That was the real her. Almost the whole book (Red Glove), she’s cursed, so you don’t really see who she really is. Therefore, I can’t really say anything about her, except that I think I might like her. But I don’t know, it’s hard to tell.


Now to Cassel. Okay, I’ll be honest, I haven’t fallen this hard for a fictional character in a while. It’s hard not to like him. He’s smart, even though he’s convinced that he’s stupid. Maybe he’s not book smart, but he’s street genius. Just look at the cons he sets up; they’re very clever. Even if he forgets some small details, he covers up for them fast. Forget to come up with one part of a story? He makes it up on the fly, and it makes sense with the rest of the story. I think the thing that I love the most about him is how utterly good he is, and he doesn’t even realize it. Even though he’s done so many bad things for so many bad reasons, he’s a good person. For example, look at the murders he committed. He did it because he wanted to be in on the jokes, in on the “fun.” And yes, he lies, he cheats, he steals. But that’s all he knows how to do. I’m not saying that makes it right; I’m saying he still has his priorities straight. It’s really hard to explain, but he really is good. And the kicker is that he hates himself for everything he’s done. Like I said in my review ofWhite Cat, he accepts his faults. He knows the things he does are bad. Yet he’s a good person. Does that make sense? It’s really hard to explain; I apologize for any confusion.


Black continues the story of her curseworkers with gorgeous writing, new themes, and a messed up society.
This review is originally posted on my primary blog, Crazy for YA.
Source: 4evercrazyforya.blogspot.com/2014/08/red-glove-by-holly-black.html
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review 2014-07-19 22:11
Red Glove - Holly Black

In my experience, usually the sequel to a favorite book is disappointing. This is SOOOO not the case with Red Glove.

In fact, I actually enjoyed Red Glove more than White Cat.

I really liked White Cat. I LOVED Red Glove. 

For me, one of the most important aspects of a book are its characters. I love Cassel. He's clever and funny and he's not perfect; he makes mistakes and sometimes hurts people, but he has a good heart. His relationships with his friends and family are so real and I adore his romance with Lila.

This book is perfection, honestly. The plot is action-packed, but it's not all action- it's balanced with character development and world-building. The story is a good one. There were twists and turns and I just loved every minute of it.

I wholeheartedly recommend Red Glove, as well as it's predecessor White Cat. I loved this book. Go read it! 

I need Black Heart now! I need it!!!

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