Months have passed since the ending of White Cat, but Cassel Sharpe’s life hasn’t regained its balance. Coming back to Wallingford for school, he’s pleased to be sharing a first floor room with Sam so he doesn’t have to haul everything up the stairs. He’s glad to get further away from his mom and her emotional curse work, especially after a botched con on a mark at the end of the summer. He’s back at work managing the bets of Wallingford students with cash to burn.
Moving back to campus, however, is the easiest thing for Cassel in Red Glove. He’s horrified to find Lila is now enrolled at Wallingford because Lila is still under the influence of his mother’s curse on her. She has to love Cassel, and it is increasingly difficult for him to remember that. As he tells one of his friends later in the book, he can’t trust himself to keep Lila at arm’s length because of his past feelings.
Wallingford is festering beneath the surface over the issue of proposition two, which would require testing to identify curse workers. Rumors start spinning, student involvement in a protest is curtailed and a club in support of workers becomes a target.
Cassel’s also being recruited by opposing interests for the rarity of his curse. Federal agents want his insight on workers and his assistance in investigating a recent murder. They are peppering Cassel for information before they reveal the identity of the murder victim to him–Phillip Sharpe, his oldest brother. Meanwhile, the head of the Zacharov family wants Cassel putting his talents to work on his side. Cassel is offered threats and cars from both sides.
Friends Sam and Daneca help Cassel investigate his brother’s death with a minimum of detail from him. Throughout the book, Cassel struggles with who and what he is. He tries to act like a friend and tries to show it by confessing what he ought not. More and more, he can see his brothers in him. He is faced with evidence of what his brothers made him to and how they accomplished it. Cassel plays everyone all the time, though Sam makes it clear Cassel doesn’t pass as normal nearly as well as he thinks. He also makes a number of mistakes in this story in regards to people he regards as family.
I enjoy Cassel’s narrative voice and the feeling that you can never quite trust anything that he perceives. His mom plays a larger role in this book and her decision at the end of the book stands to escalate everything. His grandfather steps into somewhat of a lesser role in this book. I like how he doesn’t push questions when Cassel is loathe to answer.
This is a great, gritty young adult read with magic and mobsters. I am eager to see how the trilogy will end when Black Heart comes out.
To read some of Lila’s perspective on events before White Cat and Red Glove, check out: http://thecurseworkers.com/13pieces/