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.
It took me forever to find this one in a library in my area, but I hunted for it for a few weeks and now I’ve got it! We’re back with poor, lovestruck Cassel, and Lila, in training for her father, with a just lovely new necklace of scars. Gross. What’s more important is that Cassel’s mom has gotten in trouble again, and Cassel feels the need to save her (which I find annoying but I suspect that has to do with my own issues). We spend a good majority of the first quarter of the book with Cassel and Barron, who is in training as an FBI agent, remember. I was sort of bored with this part, the initial setting up of the rest of the novel, but it was still a really quick read. I think I read about a third in maybe two hours? I tweeted this, but I’ll say it again: Holly Black has yet to disappoint me.
Let me tell you though, Barron Sharpe is infuriating and sounds like the scariest brother you could possibly have. He is basically dating Daneca to both piss off Cassel and con Daneca’s mom. He’s horrible. If it was me, I would transform him into a ferret and just let him chill for a few years, but Cassel’s all sentimental about family, psh. He’s got Stockholm Syndrome in the worst way. Lila is pretty much absent for the first half of the book, which made me sad, but I like Sam a lot too. I was just really frustrated during the first half of this book, because I think Cassel’s devotion to his horrible family is a weakness, and everyone around him exploits it. He knows he’s being exploited and manipulated, but he just can’t fight back. I thought his loyalty was misplaced. Barron doesn’t deserve it, and neither does his mother. The only sane person in this novel is Cassel’s grandfather, who repeatedly tells Cassel that his mother’s legal woes are her problem and no one else’s.
Cassel is like the ultimate thick-headed male in this one, because come on, of course Lila has always loved him, right? He’s busy doing the Edward Cullen, feeling like the world rests on his shoulders, like he did everything wrong, hurt everyone, and now he has to pay penance FOREVER. Relax, Cassel. Unclench a little, huh? Seriously, it’s guys like him that made me really forward when it comes to dating. Ask my boyfriend. The first thing I ever said to him was “wow, you’re cute.” So. Take that in any way you’d like. I am also amused and sold by the idea of taking off gloves as erotica, PLUS Lila asks if he has a condom! Love it! Get your safer sex on, girlfriend!
I am slightly disappointed in how this one ended. It just seemed a little “happily ever after” to me. I think Black was also trying to make Barron more relatable and sympathetic, but it was lost on me. I will never have sympathy for that guy, or for Cassel’s mom. However, I was very happy to get more Sam and Daneca, and I’m glad this series ended on a high note. I can’t wait for the next series effort by Holly Black!