Genre: YA fantasy
To Be Published: April 5th, 2011 by Margaret K McElderry
Pages: 320 (hardcover)
Recommended for: people who have read and liked White Cat, which I so recommend for all fans of contemp fantasy
SPOILER ALERT: If you have not read White Cat and plan to, don't read further unless you really feel you must. There are some mega-spoilers from the first book just in the book's summary.
After rescuing his brothers from Zacharov's retribution and finding out that Lila, the girl he has loved his whole life, will never, ever be his now that his mother has worked her, Cassel is trying to reestablish some kind of normalcy in his life. That was never going to be easy for someone from a worker family tied to one of the big crime families and a mother whose cons get more reckless by the day. But Cassel is also coming to terms with what it means to be a transformation worker and figuring out how to have friends.
But normal doesn't last very long--soon Cassel is being courted by both sides of the law and is forced to confront his past. A past he remembers only in scattered fragments and one that could destroy his family and his future. Cassel will have to decide whose side he wants to be on because neutrality is not an option. And then he will have to pull off his biggest con ever to survive.
Reading Red Glove inspired me to think up an if-then statement: If Holly Black writes a book, then Kat loves that book. And that's a fact. Holly Black really is just that good. I fell in love with her Modern Tales of Faeries series and the Spiderwick Chronicles way back in middle school, so it's really awesome to read The Curse Workers series, which is very different from her faerie books, but with that same feel of the supernatural and bizarre blending seamlessly into the gritty, modern, urban world. This is a fantastic sequel to White Cat, and really I didn't expect anything else.
Seventeen year old transformation worker Cassel Sharpe returns to Wallingford Prep School and his old tricks, but not before his mother-- who uses her curse-working powers to play people's emotions the way a skilled musician plays a guitar-- recruits him to help her snag her latest ultra-rich politician 'catch'. At Wallingford, Cassel meets up with his friends and fellow outcasts, his roommate Sam and Sam's girlfriend, Pro-Worker activist Daneca. But there's another old friend anxious to see Cassel: Lila Zacharov, the beautiful mobster's daughter he's been in love with for ages, the girl he thought he'd killed. The girl who Cassel's emotion-working mother cursed to love Cassel, whether she wants to or not. Zacharov himself has been putting in appearances around the neighborhood, and the word is that he wants Cassel, an ultra-rare transformation worker, among the ranks of his mob. When tragedy strikes Cassel's family in the form of his brother's death, he can hardly help but feel just a little relieved... and more than a little suspicious, when every fragment of the crime scene seems to point directly at Lila.
I love the fantasy of the Curse Workers world. It's completely unique and reeks (in a good way ;) of the Holly Black touch-- magic interwoven with the gritty reality of the city. Cassel's voice and dead-pan sarcasm make the story constantly entertaining and a fast-paced plot filled with unexpected twists like a roller-coaster's turns and loops does the rest: Red Glove is fantastic. Cassel's mother is, as ever, my favorite character, what with her bizarre cons and attempted (and mostly failed) maternity. There are a few big revelations and one big shocker of an event which really threw me off-- these are the kind of plot twists you really can't see coming, even if you consider yourself an expert detective, having spent about half your life watching Monk and Columbo marathons. (Guilty as charged.) Sam and Daneca are brilliant, and both pretty hilarious in their own rights. It's hard to say much about the plot without giving anything major away, but I was very surprised quite a few times. My one complaint is that Red Glove might have 'Middle-Book Syndrome'. You know, where the middle book(s) in a trilogy or a series is good, but not a lot really happens towards tying things up and more problems are created than solved. (I'm looking at you, House of Night series!) But it will be impossible to tell for sure until the next book in the series comes out. Which will hopefully be relatively soon *sigh*, because this one ends on a major cliffhanger. Long story short: I loved the book, definitely recommend it.
Cover: 3/5 (don't really love it-- what a weird expression on Lila's face!)
Overall Rating: 4/5