Author: Holly Black
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pub Date: April 5, 2011
Format: Galley via S&S Galley Grab
Y'all. Holly Black is awesome. I loooved White Cat, the first book in the Curse Workers series, and couldn't wait to get my hands on Red Glove. When it came up on Simon & Schuster Galley Grab I squealed and hit download so quickly Superman would have been impressed.
Red Glove launches the reader back in to the gritty, slick, double-crossing world of New Jersey, where Cassel is helping his mom run cons. He's disgusted with the whole set up, and particularly with his mom, who, at the end of White Cat, cursed Lila Zacharov (aka the girl he's desperately in love with, who happens to be the daughter of a worker mob boss) to love him. Unfortunately, Cassel doesn't want forced, fake, blind love. He wants the real thing. But that worry takes a back seat to the rest of his problems when his brother Phillip is murdered by a mysterious lady wearing red gloves.
Shortly after the funeral, both the Feds and the elder Zacharov start courting Cassel, who is the rarest form of worker--a transformation worker, to work for them. Then, just for funsies, his middle brother, a memory worker, proposes that the two of them go into business with a different worker mob. Instead, Cassel decides to outsmart them all, and solve Phillip's murder, just to spite them.
That all sounds like a whole bunch, right? Right. But while reading, it's obvious that Cassel, like most high school seniors, is struggling with two BIG decisions. 1) What to do about Lila, whom he desperately wants to be with, and 2) What to do with his future--does he go to college? Join the FBI? Join a mob? Although most seniors aren't juggling the last two, Black writes it in a way that is reminiscent of the future-decision-making-process everyone has to face. Sure, the decision Cassel is grappling with is grittier, but, in truth, it's really no different than the issues any other high school senior is facing. That quality helps keep the book feeling real instead of paranormal or fantastic (in the fantasy genre sense of the word.)
So, now let's talk about Lila. I think Lila is awesome and compelling and great. Even under a freakin' love spell, she tries her best to remain her own person, she tests boundaries, and she pushes buttons. You just can't help but love a girl like that. And though through the entire book I wanted to bonk Cassel on the head with something heavy and tell him to stop being mean to Lila and give them a chance, because--who knows?!--maybe after the curse wears off, she'll still love you (Yep, I'm definitely a romantic. Not really sure when that happened, but there it is.) and you can live happily ever after, running a worker mob, [THIS IS ABOUT TO GET A LITTLE SPOILERY] I liked what happened after the curse wore off even better. If Lila and Cassel can't be together, then they should be nemeses. Yeeeessssssssss.
Stylistically, I find it fascinating that Black writes the Curse Workers books in a way where the plot escalates and thickens and twists, without the reader realizing exactly how escalating and thick and twisty the plot really is. It wasn't until I was trying to explain the plot to my mom that I figured out "Hey. This book is freakin' complicated." Normally I can feel the pacing or the action accelerate, but in this series, I just read along and then all of a sudden I'd find that I had been holding my breath or turning pages (well, pressing the turn page button on my eReader) so rapidly that I had cruised through 50 pages in less than that many minutes. I don't know how she does it, but I looooove that she does.
Overall, Red Glove is a fantastic sequel. It moves the series along in the direction I thought it would go, but in an unexpected way, and the character development is phenomenal. When I reached the last page, I thought "It's gonna be a long, loooong year waiting for the next book."
1. I looooove that Black adds in nods to her fellow authors in her books. In this series, there is a very minor character named Jace and a major character whose last name is Wasserman.
3. There's a character who goes to ARKANSAS in this book!!! I'm from Arkansas! *hugs self in glee*
4. There's a character named BETHENNY in this book!!! My name is Bethany! Different spelling, but still!!!! *jumps up and down*