Titles of books always make me curious. I love trying to spot where exactly the reference to the title occurs, if at all. And if there isn’t an overt reference, I love trying to figure out where the title comes from.
In Holly Black’s second installment of the Curse Workers (Red Glove) we get an overt reference; it occurs more then once. But I can’t help but feeling like the book would have been much better named. Admittedly, Phillip’s murder and the red glove worn by the mysterious woman who is wearing them (who turns out to be not so much of a mystery) are part of a story line that is threaded throughout the story. But, I have a feeling, Cassel’s ability to transform himself (which, for the first time is when he turns himself into a black cat) is probably more important to the series then the existence of the red gloves. The White Cat in the first book was important both to the story at hand, as well as the series. Since it gave us, in a lot of ways, many of the details that were necessary for book two. And Cassel’s abilities are probably bigger then just the one time ability to transform himself that we see in Red Glove. So… I would have renamed the book. Plus, the link between the black cat and the white cat (“White Cat”) would give us much more of a link between Lila and Cassel. Which I assume, and hope, is one of the primary story lines we will see in Black Heart. Although what to call installment three, and not use the same color? Well, I will wait until after reading the third to see how to answer that question!
Review of Red Glove:
I realized that I have a hard time reading books that are written in the first person. I don’t mind when they are from the pov of one particular character, but when they are written in real time as if the events are happening around the characters (all present tense verbs) and from one pov, it seems choppy. This series isn’t written as well as Holly Black’s Modern Fairy Tale series. Like with the first, the writing is not very elegant. It’s a little ADD for me. The way Cassel’s mind drifts and treats some things with great detail and other things get short-handed – and there’s no consistency to it. Sometimes it’s surroundings that get the short-shrift and sometimes its events and sometimes characters. It was just ok. The plot picks up where we left off, but I am not sure that the author had a very good idea of what to do with a number of aspects of the overall story arc. In fact, I am not sure there was an overall story arc in the series, except that we have 2 books in the same world with the same characters. I expected much more from the dilemma about the Lila-Cassel curse, and I was disappointed.
The concept is still novel and confusing all at the same time. Workers who work only with their hands (as opposed to any other part of their bodies when skin to skin contact occurs?) so they all wear gloves – it’s unique. There is a line between spells and it being simply a talent, but that line isn’t explored or very clear. The introduction of the feds was sort of boring. And the relationship between Lila and Cassel was strained. More then just as a result of the curse. It was as if the author didn’t really know what to do with that portion of the plot. It got just enough focus to be sort of a tease and not nearly enough to mean much.
Like the first, this was a quick read. It was ok – and we will see where Black Heart, book 3, goes from here.