Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Review: Red Glove

Red Glove (Curse Workers, book 2)
By Holly Black, read by Jesse Eisenberg
Published 2011 by Listening Library

WARNING: There are probably spoilers for the first book in this review. If you'd like to read my review of book one, go here.

Things are radically different for Cassel now - now that he knows his memories were being altered by his brothers and now that Lila, his best friend, is back in the picture (VERY back in the picture as a matter of fact). But that doesn't mean things are any easier - Cassel's older brother has just been murdered and now Cassel is being recruited by both the FBI and the Mob.

Black surprised the heck out of me with book one, seeing as I wasn't much of a fan of her earlier title that I'd read. So I was very eager to read the second book in the series, especially after the killer ending of the first. Black's second volume does not disappoint. In fact, I love this series even more now. The intrigue and inner turmoil Cassel feels is very realistic and incredibly well-done, especially as a female author presenting a realistic male POV. It was slightly less jarring for me to listen to Eisenberg's narration this time, mainly because I don't think Cassel's race was mentioned this time around. But I love the direction that Black has taken this series in - it's much more than just a really heavy and dark family drama. There is crime and magic and a true internal conflict for our main character - actually, Cassel is finding himself conflicted about a number of different things, not just whether he should work for the FBI or the Mob. I really love that Black is able to make this series both dark and sad at times, but also quite humorous. Cassel is a wonderful narrator and, even though I know he's a con artist (and much more, of course), I'm inclined to believe everything he says. It's interesting actually - I hadn't really thought about Cassel as an unreliable narrator before. But he could quite possibly be one. I mean, he is an admitted con man and actually quite a good one, so perhaps he is conning the reader as well. Hmm...have I just come up with an alternate ending for the series? I'll have to read Black Heart to find out. One of my only disappointments with this volume was in terms of Lila, at least in the beginning of the book. I thought she was a fantastic surprise character in book 1 and I was interested to see how Black would handle her in book 2, especially consider the ending of the first. I was a little sad to see how she seemed more of a placeholder, another thing for Cassel to be conflicted about for the beginning of this novel, but I think she became that same surprising character by the end. Needless to say, I am eagerly anticipating book 3.

This series is (so far) highly recommended by me - to all fans of paranormal and fantasy and certainly to boys.

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