rgRed Glove (Curse Workers #2) by Holly Black
Release Date: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: starstarstarstarblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Curses and cons.
Magic and the mob.

In Cassel Sharpe’s world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth — he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything — or anyone — into something else.

That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she’s human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila’s been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion-worker mom. And if Lila’s love is as phony as Cassel’s made-up memories, then he can’t believe anything she says or does.

When Cassel’s oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue — crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too — they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can’t trust anyone — least of all, himself?

Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.

Review:

The monthlong wait for Black Heart is going to kill me after I finish this one, isn’t it?  I just know it is.  Red Glove is everything I could ever ask for in a sequel.  I liked it better that White Cat, which is sort of amazing considering how much I loved WC.  Cassel thought going back to Wallingford would solve everything, but it appears life, and the mob, go on without him.  Cassel’s mom is completely insane, either due to her emotion work or just being a sociopath, but she’s ruthless in a bad way.  I like her.  She’s mean.  I usually end up liking antagonists though.  As for Lila… I feel so sorry for them both.  Cassel, because he’s in love with Lila and he’s hurting and she can’t be herself and he knows it.  Lila, because I’m not sure how much she realizes about her curse, and I don’t think she knows how she feels about Cassel.

What I really loved about this book is how workers are treated.  It’s such an awesome parallel to the way immigrants or even gay men and women are treated in this country.  No hiring workers, gloves always need to be worn, and that law they’re trying to pass is so skewed toward non-workers, it’s sick.  I love the politics of the novel.  Worker panic is rising up at Wallingford, and there’s nothing anyone seems to be able to do.  During the protest scene, the slogan BARE HANDS; FULL HEARTS made me laugh out loud.  (Think Holly Black likes Friday Night Lights?)  Lila and Cassel are dating now, but Cassel has his reservations.  I kind of miss the old, cruel Lila, but the awesomeness of another girl, Daneca, makes up for all that.

Suddenly, those politics I mentioned earlier are everywhere, and not only is the anti-worker sentiment at Wallingford affecting Cassel, the FBI and the Mob are pressing down on him as well.  Things with Barron aren’t going so well, and more secrets about both Lila and Philip emerge.  Sam and Daneca play bigger roles in this novel and I love that, but I was concerned for them the whole time!  Lila and Cassel grew up in mob families, but Sam and Daneca are different.  I love how differently Cassel interacts with his family, with his friends, with Lila.  He’s really a somewhat badass teenage conman.  It’s sort of sexy, but he is about a decade too young for me.  Le sigh.

I loved this one so much.  I love the intrigue, the mystery, the world, the society, the sadness, everything.  This series is so worth your time, and Black Heart comes out next month!