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Black Heart (Curse Workers) by Holly Black

Black Heart (Curse Workers) (edition 2012)

by Holly Black

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4303424,529 (4.17)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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Cassel Sharpe was raised in the Curse Workers's world, where everyone is a con artist and every choice is a potential trap. His mother can emotionally control him, his brother can manipulate his memories, his ex-girlfriend is now part of the mob and he himself has a power so rare that its nearly mythical. He wants to get a high class education and win himself free of all the plots, but instead he keeps getting pulled deeper.

The world building remains awesome. There are workers and non-workers. Workers can enact magic with a touch, but experience blowback if they do. For example, emotion workers can manipulate other people's feelings, but in return their own emotions become unstable. Or there are death workers, who can kill someone with a touch, but in return a part of their body dies--a tooth if they're lucky, their heart if they're not. Even healing has blowback of its own: by healing others, one becomes sick oneself. Working magic is dangerous and not to be done lightly. But for all that, it's so powerful that it's still used. And because all the magic is touch-based, everyone wears gloves constantly, and seeing someone's ungloved hand is both incredibly intimate and a little scary.

Cassel, and all the supporting characters, are equally well-thought out, well-rounded creations. And the plot is as twisty as ever, though not quite so mind-blowing as the first two books. I really loved this series, but I think Black was smart to end (or at least pause) it here. Cassel quitting school, the FBI, and all pretences of normality in order to have a little time with Lila was an incredibly gutsy plot twist, the equivalent of having Harry Potter quit Hogwarts in, say, the fifth book. It was smart, it was unexpected, and it completely shook up the books' loose formula. In all three books, Cassel has to juggle school, curse working, and the law--after the last chapter, the juggling act is over. ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
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 |
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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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