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Black Heart (Curse Workers) by Holly Black

Black Heart (Curse Workers) (edition 2012)

by Holly Black

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309None35,980 (4.21)10
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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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 |
Find this review and more at On The Shelf!

I thought this was an excellent conclusion to the Curse Worker series! It was the most suspenseful of the three and really showed Cassel’s powers off. Cassel is quite witty and sly and takes a lot of risks. If I was in position, I know it would be very hard to trust anybody and make a huge decision like the one he faces. In the end, I like the way he handles things and takes care of a few issues.

I felt so bad for Cassel at several points because of how much he cares about Lila, but he thinks she can’t love him back because of his mother working her. I like Lila, even if she is the daughter of a crime boss. Cassel’s mother on the other hand, I never cared for through any of the books, but I guess you’re not really supposed to. She is so selfish and manipulative and shallow. Sam I also still like and he is still very loyal to Cassel, even though there is some danger for him being Cassel’s friend.

I really like the way this one ended, and thought it was a good wrap up for the trilogy. I kind of wish there would be another book for the series, but even if there never is, I would still be satisfied with the way it ended. I own the first book, and I will be buying the 2nd and 3rd books as well since I enjoyed them so much. I love the dotted cover art and hopefully I will be able to get the author to sign them like my first one if she comes to YallFest again this coming November.

Good characters, exciting, good descriptions, good ending. ( )
1 vote VykiC37 | Jul 15, 2013 |
I’m so happy and excited that I read this book. Really happy. I have to say though, I’m sad to see the series end. I can see it opening door to other stories that I wish I can read. With that said, I really loved this series as a whole.

Plot. Through out this series as well as each book, the plot has been consistent in growing and leading the reader to a whole other world. A world full of magic and chaos. I’m really loved how easy it was for me to open the book read the first page and I’m in. Back in Cassal’s shoe ready to play the game he’s been playing he’s whole life. In this story, every chapter is just as exciting as the last. Every moment of Cassal life leads up to final magic trick that can save him or break him,.

Characters. The minor characters in the book go father with Cassal. Most have supported him and befriended him. Others just continuously stabbed him in the back. Through out the series and in this story particularly, you can see Cassal’s strength. He is much more sure of himself, finding strength in places he didn’t realize he had. I admired him to make things work out for him. He needs it.

Love. Through Cassal’s messed up life he has faced many demons. Cassal has finally taken something for himself. It has been difficult and hard, but the reader see’s Cassal over come all of that. He has lost so much and fights for what he has left. Hope and love.

I could name more points but I think if I keep going, I’ll just spill the ending. Which for me, is the best part. Vague and complete, Cassal takes what he wants and runs for it. Good for you kid!

No amount of words can describe how much I love this series. Black Heart is exciting yet moves forward with such enticement and thrills you can’t help but be hooked. A compelling piece of work that completes the series, Black Heart is memorable. ( )
  Bookswithbite | Jun 18, 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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