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With White Cat, Holly Black's created a world where magic (or "working") was outlawed during prohibition. So, naturally today - business is booming for the mafia and their curse workers. Cassel's a teenage kid who doesn't fit in at the rich preppy boarding school he's been forced to attend, and he doesn't quite fit in with his family of con artists - most of who work for the mob. He doesn't have the working talents his brothers do, but he knows cons. When he finds himself about to take a walk off a rooftop in his sleep, he starts to think someone's playing him.
Black's YA books have a dark, gritty feel to them, and this one's no different. But at the same time, it's incredible fun listening as her story's long cons play out and are eventually revealed.
Jesse Eisenberg does a great job reading this - his performance is practiced nonchalance and low-key, so much so that you can't help wondering if he's just playing the odds and misdirecting your attention, making the magic feel all the more real and surprising.
Highly recommended if you like magic, gangsters, and con-artists.
7 of 7 people found this review helpful
This book held my attention for its outstanding narration, light and interesting character and fun plot. I am more of a light book fan as I often multi-task while listening and this book was perfect for me.
The reader was outstanding, I enjoyed listening to Jesse Eisenberg read this to me.
The story itself was fun to listen to, it had some elements to figure out, an interesting plot and fun characters. But it was a slightly strange mix of a young character in a fun light story that turns into a killer in a somewhat mobbish violent story. Regardless, I enjoyed it and will get the next book.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This an intriguing story about magic, workers, family, the con, hiding who you are, school, friendship, loyalty, crime and growing up. It's a young adult/adult story, which is both a compelling crime story, and sometime mystery, and a compelling fantasy set in an alternative contemporary USA. The main difference is magic - in the form of cursework - exists, and was banned at the same time as alcohol; only the alcohol ban has been lifted, but that on magic hasn't, so curseworkers work for the mob. People are born with working abilities or they are not. Every working has an effect on the person being worked, and the worker.
The story opens in a dramatic way, with the protagonist up on his dorm roof with no idea how he got there, or how to get down. The school calls the fire brigade, who get him down, and the head suspends Cassel on medical leave until he can assure the school lawyers he won't sleepwalk again like this. Cassel is collected by his brother Philip, and first stays with him, then his grandfather. His family is acting strangely - more so than usual, or at least more than can usually be attributed to the behaviour of the workers in the family to the one non-worker in it. Cassel's main interest is getting back into school, but in the process he investigates his family and the mysteries that surround him. There are plenty of twists, turns and surprises.
The narrator is Jesse Eisenberger, who does a spellbinding, convincing and compelling job of bringing this book, its characters and world to life. I've started to read a print copy of this novel, and it's quite a different experience. The audio version is excellent, and the opening and closing music is just right to transport this listener in and out of this book's world, and not at all jarring. It strikes the right mystery, magic and noir notes. All in all, this book is well worth a listen.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
This is a rather intriguing book, which does take a little getting used to. I did feel as if the world-building could have been a little better, and certain better explained, but after a while it does all seem natural, and I found myself pulled into the story.
In this fantasy world, some people are 'workers', which means they can affect people simply by touching them. It's not clear who is and who isn't, and therefore gloves are mandatory wear for everyone.
Cassel is the only one in his family who doesn't have this ability, but he has learnt how to con people if needed. He also attends a normal school, where he tries to act 'normal', not letting anyone know about his family, or his ability to con.
The story developed well from here, and I was pulled in enough by the end to buy the 2nd book :)
As the first book I finished on Audible, it is really nicely presented by Jesse. I love Jesse's voice and his unique way of speaking. Also the story is very attractive. I've been drawn to every twists, feeling very excited but also kind of frightened. Anyway, really have enjoyed myself during the whole listening. Thx Jesse for representing such a good book!
This was recommended by a friend Ellie Marney who wrote the Every series YA detective books. I've not read any YA previously other than her books, and wanted to get a good start.
This story is really original, for both YA and adult fiction. Really good idea to mix magic and crime together in this way. I enjoyed the storyline, and the characters were well written, and connected together well.
The ending twist was also fantastic, simple, but so complex at the same time.
I've listened to a lot of audio books, and I find Jesse Eisenberg a little hard to listen to. Something feels like he's reading a tad fast perhaps? Hard to describe - but this is totally a personal preference, and the book is still very listenable. I will listen to parts 2 and 3 also, and both are narrated by Jesse also, so not that big a deal.
Overall a very good read.