by Holly Black
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Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.
But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.
“I hate that I love this. I hate that the adrenaline pumping through the roots of my body is filling me with giddy glee. I’m not a good person.”
This book was full of charms ← See what I did there?
▧ Charm ⁂1 : I do love me some liar ⁂
Beware of Cassel Sharpe, professional liar and Master of the game of make-believe. You’re going to love him.
“Being a con artist means thinking that you’re smarter than everyone else and that you’ve thought of everything. That you can get away with anything. That you can con anyone.
I wish I could say that I don’t think about the con when I deal with people, but the difference between me and my mother is that I don’t con myself.”
Charming, deceptive, untrustworthy, sarcastic, selfish : Of course I loved Cassel, what do you think? Since he was fourteen and well, hmm, killed his best friend and first love, Cassel learnt that to survive he has to become a Master of pretending. All the time.
Friendship? Nothing more than an exchange of goods. Who’d want a killer of a friend? Yeah? No hands raised? That’s what I thought.
Love? Yeah, sure. A good way to fake normality.
Family? You mean the curse workers who always kept him in the dark and fed him with snippets of affection? Them?
“I’m not good at having friends. I mean, I can make myself useful to people. I can fit in. I get invited to parties and I can sit at any table I want in the cafeteria.
But actually trusting someone when they have nothing to gain from me just doesn’t make sense.
All friendships are negotiations of power.”
Don’t get fooled, despite the fact that he basically tries to con everyone, we can’t avoid seeing the extreme vulnerability that all his tricks can’t hide, and then… Then we ‘re dealing with a charming and hopeless male-lead we can’t help but care about.
▧ Charm ⁂2 : Of course I’m lost! And I love it. ⁂
What a multi-layered mystery! Each time I thought I finally got it the truth slipped through my fingers. There are many subplots in this story and that’s for the best : we never know who Cassel can trust, damn, we don’t even know if we can trust Cassel most of the time! Everything can be a con and this makes every decision or action suspect – try to overtake Cassel’s shenanigans and you’ll see.
“Marks think they can get something for nothing.
Marks think they can get what they don’t deserve and could never deserve.
Marks are stupid and pathetic and sad.
Marks forget that whenever something’s too good to be true, that’s because it’s a con.”
As for the writing, I have to point that I was pleasantly surprised by Holly Black. Indeed it’s my first book from this author and I must admit that I was really wary at first. What a fool I’ve been! It was a captivating page-turner that never bored me.
▧ Charm ⁂3 : Why can’t I be a curse worker, huh? Why? ⁂
Never ever forget your gloves, otherwise you are likely to experience one of these delightful experiences :
✔ To find yourself somewhere without any idea how you came
✔ Be changed in a cockroach. Yeah, that sucks.
✔ To start sobbing in remorse for something you didn’t even do.
✔♪♫♬ Beware of the music you hear. ♪♫♬ Just sayin’
▧ Charm ⁂4 : Applaud the cat. Just do it. He’s got claws. ⁂