Sunday, March 18, 2012

ARC Review: Black Heart by Holly Black

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date:  April 3rd, 2012

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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

**Thanks to Kelsey, Amber, Shannon, and Lori over at Southern Book Bloggers/Southern ARC Tours for the opportunity to review this amazing book!**

I'm going to begin this review by publicly stating that I am absolutely CRUSHED that this is the final book in the Curse Workers trilogy.  I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute spent reading the three books in this trilogy, and I wish that Holly Black would consider writing more of the world it takes place in.  It's not that I'm unhappy with how she ended things.  Actually, quite the opposite is true, I just crave more.  I'm a huge fan of her writing, and when the first book, White Cat, was released, I was skeptical because it wasn't about fae; she is the MASTER to whom all other writers of fae should bow, and I was wondering if she could do supernatural mafioso.  Well, she can, and she has, and now that it's over, I can say, without pause, that she did it brilliantly!!  I loved White Cat (read my full review HERE),  I loved Red Glove even more (read my full review HERE), and this, the final book, was even better.  Now to my review of it...

It's going to be very difficult to review this book without spoilers for books one and two, but I will stick to my "Spoiler Free" policy, and try because I really want everyone who has not read this series yet to run right out and get started!  Because the only thing I didn't like about Black Heart is the fact that it was the last book, I am going to bullet point my love...
  • Characters:  The characters are pretty much the same as those in the first two books.  There are a few that aren't part of the story anymore, and there are a couple of new ones, but the main characters are still Cassel, Lila, Sam, and Danica.  Barron makes more of an appearance in this one as well.  The characters are still awesomely flawed, and brilliantly written.  Holly does a fabulous job documenting the internal struggles that they face from Cassel's POV.  The new characters who were introduced definitely added elements of surprise to the story, shaking things up a bit.
  • World:  Did I mention that I love this world she's built, and would love to read more books set it in?  A world where everyone wears gloves because you never know who might be a "worker", or what kind of "worker" they might be?   A world where one of the core platforms of every politician is "Worker Rights"?  This world is so smartly woven, with such a modern "what-if" spin.  I love it because it is relateable and plausible.
  • Plot and Pacing:  Cassel's internal struggles, general mistrust of everyone, undying love for Lila, and dedication to his mother are all showcased in gigantic ways in this book.  Yes, they played huge roles in the first two, but a lot of things come to a head in this one.  There were some very unexpected twists in the story and everything moved along smoothly.  Cassel had to make a lot of decisions about questions that didn't necessarily have good choices for answers.  This was much more unputdownable than the first two books, and that is saying something!
  • The Writing:  Did I mention I'm a HUGE fan of Holly Black's writing.  She manages to draw you in and then use her words like duct tape to bind you to the book until the final page.  I have never been able to a put one of her books down to read something else, and this was no exception.  Her writing truly casts a spell on me.
Overall, my reading of this book was bittersweet.  I loved it so much, but I got more and more sad, the closer I got to the end.  Yes, I loved the end.  It was an absolutely PERFECT ending to Cassel's story, and I could not have asked for more on that, but there are so many other rich characters who I would love to read more about.  Who knows, maybe she'll consider a spin-off series...  *drops to knees in ardent prayer*

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★++ 

Grade Level Recommendation:  I'm going to recommend this as a series, now that it's complete.  I would call this a "Supernatural The Sopranos Lite".  If a movie were made of these three books, it would definitely be PG-13.  There violence, sex, drugs, and crime.  That said, it is thought provoking  and I think the protagonist makes the right choices in the end.  There are lessons to be learned.   This series is suitable for ages 13 and up (8th grade+).

**Don't forget to enter my GIVEAWAY for a SIGNED hardcover copy of Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver.  Click HERE! **


  1. I've just read only the introductory passage about the book and I'm deeply impressed by the plot. I do want to know the details.

    BTW, I like the picture on the cover.

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  2. I got the chance to meet Holly Black when I worked for Barnes and Noble!
    She was just amazing :]
    I have read many of her books but strangely not this series!
    So thank you for giving me a new series to check out :]


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