Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review: Black Heart by Holly Black

Wednesday, March 21, 2012 with 6 comments
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Title:  Black Heart
Author:  Holly Black
Series:  Curse Workers
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry, an imprint of Simon Schuster
Publication Date:  April 3, 2012
Source:  Southern Book Bloggers ARC tour

Cassel Sharpe knows he’s been used as an assassin, but he’s trying to put all that behind him. He’s trying to be good, even though he grew up in a family of con artists and cheating comes as easily as breathing to him. He’s trying to do the right thing, even though the girl he loves is inextricably connected with crime. And he’s trying to convince himself that working for the Feds is smart, even though he’s been raised to believe the government is the enemy.

But with a mother on the lam, the girl he loves about to take her place in the Mob, and new secrets coming to light, the line between what’s right and what’s wrong becomes increasingly blurred. When the Feds ask Cassel to do the one thing he said he would never do again, he needs to sort out what’s a con and what’s truth. In a dangerous game and with his life on the line, Cassel may have to make his biggest gamble yet—this time on love.

I read the first two books in the Curse Workers series on my Nook, but when Random House offered up the audiobook for White Cat for free last year, I couldn’t pass it up. And I loved it. But while I was reading Black Heart, the final (*sniff*) book in the series, I couldn’t help but hear Jesse Eisenberg as Cassel Sharpe in my head. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Honestly, it’s probably more of a reason for you to listen to the audio yourself. ;0) Eisenberg really added a layer of nerdy hotness to the character of Cassel, and after hearing the audio, I saw this character in a whole new light.

Black Heart got off to a bit of a slow start for me, but once those two brothers were back to their conning, manipulative ways, I was back on board. Even though there’s still some animosity between Cassel and Barron because of the events that transpired in Red Glove, they’re still up to their old tricks, and I loved it. I loved seeing them working together again, even if they are both overly suspicious of each other.

I also adore Cassel. He is so self-deprecating and hard on himself, and you just can’t help but hope that he gets his happy ending after all. He may not be taking bets from his classmates at prep school anymore, but he’s definitely still playing the game. He’s just out to catch much bigger fish in this book.

The world of the curse workers is still dark and criminal and, well, creepy, and there is still so much Cassel has to learn, especially with Lila’s mob boss father courting him and his alliance with the Licensed Minority Division. But Cassel’s not stupid. He knows that both sides of the law want him for one thing: the unique nature of the curses he can work. Now he just has to decide which side is the right one for him.

The open-endedness of the novel was perfect and left me wondering if Black might consider writing more to the series one day, but I won’t hold my breath. Even with the hints she dropped, and some of the twists she threw into the story, and even considering the things she left unresolved, I still feel like this book was the best possible way to end this series.

Here’s a quote from p. 179 of the ARC – subject to change, as is the nature with ARCs – that I think just about sums up Cassel. It’s a conversation between Cassel and Daneca, one of his school chums:

   “Maybe it’d help if I put my cards on the table. Tell me what Barron said, and I’ll tell you the honest truth. This is a one time offer.”

   “Because tomorrow you’ll go back to lying?” she asks.

   “I don’t know what I’ll do tomorrow. That’s the problem.” Which is one of the truest things I have ever said.

Rating:  Photobucket

And now a short trailer for your viewing pleasure:

And now here's the part where I get to gripe about the cover makeover the series underwent between books two and three.  I liked the old covers better.  The End.  :0)


  1. This series sounds cool and I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for including the trailer...will add these to my list. If you'd like to add me as a nook friend my nook email is

  2. I read Black's Tithe series, and really enjoyed it. I have the first book in the series and plan to read all of them at dome point. I'm glad you enjoyed this Cassel seems awesome. Great review!

    (I completely agree about the cover change. Old was better. Whyyyyy???!?

  3. I have book one and two. I have not read either. there is just something about these books, I can't pick them up. from the description, I just don't know if I'll like them.

    I read the tithe series, and the middle book, cant remember the name. that was my least fav of the two, I wasn't into all the faerie drug mumbo jumbo. If I want to read about that shit, I'll pick up my local paper.. minus the faeries of course. I just get the feeling that these books are a little darker like that one was.. so I have been steering clear.

    I only bought them because they were super duper cheep when borders closed. lol.

  4. Great review. I can't wait to read this!
    -FABR Steph

  5. Oooo, I have the first book of this series on the Nook. I've had it for a while, but, as usual with your reviews, you've made me want to bump it to the top of my TBR list. You know you really got me with that quote - love it!


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