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Black Heart (Curse Workers) by Holly Black

Black Heart (Curse Workers) (edition 2012)

by Holly Black

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3943327,176 (4.2)11
Title:Black Heart (Curse Workers)
Authors:Holly Black
Info:Margaret K. McElderry Books (2012), Hardcover, 304 pages

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Black Heart by Holly Black



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Showing 1-5 of 33 (next | show all)
Again, I liked it, same as book 1 and 2. I don't have much new to say. Nice fantasy, nice characters. The con aspect well worked out. ( )
  zjakkelien | Dec 3, 2014 |
I started this one ages ago (last year, actually!) and got distracted, mainly because the plot of these series is so intricate I was a little lost on the details. This time I persevered and finished in a day. I still feel like i missed a few things regarding the plot that started on previous books (particularly regarding the romance) but "Black heart" has its own brilliantly executed plot, full of coincidences and blanks that make it REAL. Like Cassel puts it, only lies make perfect sense. Fantastic ending! ( )
  Evalangui | Aug 22, 2014 |
Black Heart by Holly Black was a thrilling mystery involving magic, mobsters, and conmen. Cassel comes from a family of curse workers, where helping the fed's is the worst betrayal, but Cassel desperately wants to do the right things with his life, and so he now is signed up to work for the government at the age of 18. Through the story he learns who to trust, and the truth about right and wrong. It was a fantastic book written brilliantly that i would recommend to anyone looking for a good, quick read. -Racquel, Class of 2015-
  PeskyLibrary | Sep 20, 2013 |
Outstanding conclusion to a great series! ( )
  SheilaRuth | Aug 23, 2013 |
I hate to say I was pushed into reading this series, but well, you know who you are – and you know you do some pushing. Thank you for the push.

This is more of a review of this series. So this series is a unique, but a growing subset, in the young adult paranormal genre. The uniqueness being female authored with a male protagonist as the hero and a dark dark world. The lead in each of these books is the same teenaged boy - -Cass. I would compare it to Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, or Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake. There seems to be a desire on the part of the paranormal reading crowd to read about male protagonists, so these books are definitely finding their niche readers.

Cass was born into a crime family, not a powerful one but the world in this series is divided into two parts: those with magical abilities and those without. People fear those with magical powers and due to unfair legislation, fear of people without magic, internments and round ups those with magical abilities are segregated in lifestyle from those without powers. Everyone wears gloves. All the time. Why? The abilities people have (just one – the magic workers have just one power each) are not fun and nor are the powers nice but instead, the powers are such that kill, powers to alter memories, powers to make people feel things that they would not feel on their own and the power to transform someone from one object into another. But in order to work their curse, the magic workers need to use their bare fingers and touch bare skin on their target - - thus the gloves that everyone (even non magical workers) wear at all times.

I have trouble with stories and series where people with powers can just do whatever they want with no cost. Holly Black created a world where magic exists but it isn’t easy. Everytime a magic worker puts a curse on someone there is a “blow back”. Memory workers lose parts of their own memories. Emotion workers suffer through emotional ups and downs. Death workers have parts of their bodies die off … and on and on …

There is an undercurrent of politics driven by fear throughout the series. It is not overwhelming and the politics do not dominate the plot. A question that I kept thinking is – shouldn’t the non magical people be afraid? What is a fair solution to protect the non magical people but not overly limit the ability of the magical people to live their lives? I am not sure there is a solution and Holly Black shows that tension of what it would be like to live with real threats like death workers and memory workers.

So Curse Workers has some recycled cliché young adult themes: hero doesn’t know the extent of his powers, family is really out there, boarding school, boy kills off his girlfriend there is lots of blood, painful memories …. screeeeeeech …okay maybe that is not an overused cliché.

What I think Holly Black did really well is set up this story in a very familiar setting but then took it somewhere most young adult books do not go. There is sex, there is drinking, there is death and sociopathic behavior and the ending of the series is not storybook at all. So the ending is anti-everything we want for our kids or our parents dream about for us but you know what? It is perfect for this series and I loved that Holly Black ended it the way she did.

Now I listened to this series in audio, despite also owning it in ebook. I think I should have read it. The narration was done well, I guess ... but it didn’t grab me. I need to say thought, that the narration does not detract or take away from the story at all. Despite that, I would suggest reading this series. I recommend this book to people who enjoy darker urban fantasy stories and who are okay with a slow build in the beginning of a story.

To read more about this and other reviews check out www.badassbookreviews.com ( )
1 vote ReginaR | Aug 3, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Holly Blackprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Eisenberg, JesseNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Cassel Sharpe, a powerful transformation worker, is torn between his decision to work for the federal government and his love for Lila, who has joined her father's criminal organization.

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