Author: Holly Black
Published: April 5, 2011
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Series: Curse Workers #2
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Rating: 5 stars
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*Warning: This book review contains spoilers for White Cat*
“The truth is messy. It's raw and uncomfortable. You can't blame people for preferring lies.”My Thoughts
― Holly Black, Red Glove
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. (Goodreads)
How is it that the hardest books to review are the ones you love the most? I was absolutely blown out of the water by Red Glove. But if you asked me why I loved it so much, I wouldn't be able to pinpoint just one reason because all of it was fantastic. I kid you not. Red Glove was just as amazing as White Cat, if not more. There were shockers galore, and I could not put down this book for even a second. Black has concocted an amazing mix of magic, murder and mystery, and this series has me hooked.
In Red Glove, we learn even more about this alternate reality. There's a lot of history behind the curse working ban, and Black describes this world in vivid detail. Curse workers were once highly respected, but now any curse work is against the law. We learn more about the worker-rights group Hex and tensions erupt when a peaceful protest ends in chaos. The worker-rights movement reminded me of civil rights movements of the past. There was just so much going on and I found it endlessly fascinating to watch as history unfolds for these curse workers. Despite their fear of discovery and prejudice, many curse workers still have hope of a better future, and that was truly awe-inspiring.
As always, I loved Cassel. Unlike other male POVs I've come across in the past, Cassel is obviously male. Despite his family's connections with the mafia, Cassel really proves himself as a straight up guy. And he's insanely clever! I still have no idea how he cooks up these cons! They are genius on so many levels. Plus, I was really rooting for him and Lila. Lila is kind of an enigma, but I love how she's full of spunk. I couldn't help admiring her gutsy ways and funky style. I'd love to see these two kiddos work out as a couple. I think Lila really understands Cassel because she has similar family roots. It sucks that she was love cursed, but I still have high hopes.
Daneca and Sam are secondary characters, but they're far from wallflowers. I love these two so much! For me, they almost reached Ron and Hermione epicness. They were true blue friends, and, while they're not perfect, you can't help but love them. Sam is adorable in a cooky way, and Daneca is someone I really grew to respect. She stands by her beliefs and she cares about so many causes. These two are always poking their heads into Cassel's business, not only because they're nosy, but also because they care. And this is another couple I'm cheering on.
It's hard to tell who the villain is in Red Glove. The Feds? The Zacherovs? Cassel himself? You can't trust anyone, and Red Glove kept me guessing till the end. Cassel cons everyone, and I was shocked when his schemes were revealed. While I usually have issues with an unreliable narrator, this was not the case with Red Glove. Cassel may have fooled me, but I still got a deeper sense of his personality. His insecurities and feelings were easily detected, and I still connected with him. As for the culprit, I did have my suspicions, but I found it entertaining to imagine different scenarios. There were just so many people that could have been the bad guy. The suspense kept me reading on and I was not disappointed by the outcome.
Red Glove met my high expectations, and I would recommend this series to anybody who's looking for a thrilling, unique young adult series that will definitely impress. I can't wait to read Black Heart!