Saturday, December 3, 2011

Review: Red Glove

Title: Red Glove

Holly Black

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Part of a Series?: Second in series; Click here for first review
Goodreads Summary:
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.
Unfortunately, Red Glove was a definite disappointment. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't up to the standards I had for the series after White Cat. The first book had drama, mystery, suspense, and intrigue, all with a believable male protagonist. Yet all of those great aspects seemed diminished in this book. 

First off, I thought the book lacked a certain...pop? It wasn't boring, but the mystery wasn't nearly as interesting as the last book's backstabbing who's-who's-ally drama. Cassel spends the entire book ditching school to go on little random outings, partly because he's a big sufferer of senioritis and partly because the FBI has him working to find his brother's murderer. The identity of said murderer wasn't really all that important though. When the big reveal happens, Black literally spends a few pages on the confrontation scene. It was not the climax I expected it to be. In general, the main story was heavily diluted so Black could spend more unnecessary pages on Cassel's internal conflict. 

Why did Black spend more time on Cassel's mental monologues? I liked how White Cat portrayed a male protagonist who didn't spend so much time in thought. Furthermore, I was pretty ambivalent about Cassel's new no-care attitude about school, family, and life in general. He lied plenty of times in the first book, but now Cassel just seemed to lie because the truth was too much of a hassle. It was frustrating, and it made it hard for me to care for him. He treated in his life like it was a con, including his relationship with Lila. I could understand him for wanting to distance himself while Lila was cursed. But he also used Lila for his own gains, and I'm glad it all backfired in his face in the end. 

The good thing about Red Glove is that it contained more of the characters I wanted to read about: Sam, Daneca, and Cassel's mother. They were secondary characters that really got a lot more description instead of remaining 2D filler characters. I was especially happy with the amount of time we got to read about Cassel's mother. She's a double-edged sword in Cassel's life. Because she's a emotion worker, her blowback makes her emotionally unstable. She could be the maternal mommy and the hysterical ex-con all on one page, and I found myself enjoying every second she was featured.


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