Cassel Sharpe thought he knew all the angles. He thought he understood his family of criminals and curse workers even though he wasn’t really a part of that world.
That was before Cassel found out he was a Transformation Worker. That was before he betrayed his brothers before they could do the same to him. That was before the girl he thought he killed came back. It was long before she was cursed to love him.
Now the mob wants Cassel on their side and the feds are asking him inconvenient questions about a red-gloved murderer. Cassel is being pushed down a path he doesn’t want to follow–one he might have to walk alone. But what if he doesn’t have any other options?
The only thing Cassel really knows is that the future is going to be here soon than he thinks in Red Glove (2011) by Holly Black.
Red Glove is the second book in Black’s Curse Worker’s trilogy. (It’s preceded by White Cat and will be followed by Black Heart.)
Black’s world building in this series is phenomenonal. Red Glove expands on details and presents new aspects of Cassel’s world including politics and cops–something every good noir story needs. Possibly because the groundwork was already laid, this book feels less graphic and gory than White Cat.*
As the second book in a trilogy, Red Glove does its job perfectly by both expanding on the events in the first book and building up to (what will probably be) a sensational conclusion in book three. The story here once again delivers a satisfying blend of fantasy, noir, and good old fashioned suspense. Cassel remains a delightful narrator even when he is unethical and dangerous; his moral struggles and frank assessment of his own character are part of what makes this series great. Even better this book confirmed that maybe, just maybe, Cassel might be okay at the end of everything. Or not. If nothing else, he might finally know what kind of man he really is.
*Or maybe it was just me. I was amazed at how much less devastating the reality of curse worker blowback felt in this book. And I was thrilled at how much more I enjoyed this book compared to the first. Yay.
Possible Pairings: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell, The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Heist Society by Ally Carter, Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Into the Crooked Place by Alexandra Christo, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, Money Wanders by Eric Dezenhall, Chasing Power by Sarah Beth Durst, Clarity by Kim Harrington, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt, Leverage (television series), White Collar (television series)