Target Audience: Young Adults/Adults
Wow, this book is absolutely amazing!!! Don't get me wrong I'm not some con loving criminal but I have to admit reading about that lifestyle is absolutely fantastic. Red Glove is just as twisted, frightening, and unbelievably original as White Cat was, if not more. Here's my brief spoiler free description before I go further into my review, and please, if you haven't read White Cat, DON'T read any further...
Cassel Sharpe spent years thinking he had murdered his best friend Lila only to find out that in fact he had changed her into a white cat. How? Cassel is a transformation worker, able to transform people into anything he wants. Cruelly forced into doing his brothers murderous deeds and then forced into forgetting, Cassel wasn't even aware of his power until the truth came out when his brothers plans went wrong.
Now things take an even bigger twist, Lila is now human again and has been forced to love Cassel by the hand of his emotion working mother and things go from bad to worse when Cassel's brother is killed and both the Law and the Mob try to get Cassel on their side, neither of which is an appealing prospect for him. As the sides gear up against him and as his troubles with Lila grow, Cassel will have to work his best con yet to get out of trouble.
Well what can I say? I just love the world this is set in. Yes, it is modern day America but with a twist. Some people are born with the gift of Curse Working, meaning they curse/gift people simply by touching them. This may seem wonderful in theory but in this story Holly Black has realised what the consequences of such powers would be.
The result? Two sides: the pro-workers people and the anti-workers and a whole mess of politicians trying to force through laws that mean manditory testing to find out if your a worker. In this reality, everyone wears gloves so that no one will fear being touched and therefore 'worked', and to me this was a fascinating and yet sadly bleak future where there is little trust among anyone.
Having said that though, trust seems to be a theme in this series and in this book. Most of the characters in Red Glove are conning someone to some extent and in some cases it's pretty amusing, and in others very tragic and dangerous. What I found most amazing though was the strength of family values in this book, and the length to which Cassel went to protect even those that have hurt him was amazing.
The other thing I loved, in a more general sense, is the idea of Blowback. In most books you'll get characters that have limitless powers for them to use and abuse. In this reality there are consequences, for example, if your a death worker and you kill someone using your power, something else on you has to die. For example, you may lose a body part. I thought this was a genius idea and it added weight to some of the characters actions, after all, if your willing to lose a finger to kill someone, then you must really hate them!
The characters themselves were fantastic in every way. Cassel opened up a lot more in this novel and as a result was able to handle things a lot better and learn from his past mistakes whilst coming into his own instead of being led along by his family.
Other characters shone in this installment as well, including Sam, Daneca and Lila. I can't really say in what way though without spoiling something, and I will not spoil this book for anyone :-)
I'm going to wrap this review up by saying that this is another wonderful novel by Holly Black and as well as having one hell of a con job at the end and a wonderful romance on the side, there is a meaningful undercurrent regarding family, ethics and ultimately doing what you believe is right, NOT what everyone else believes to be right.