I don’t like lazy writing. I don’t like convinced convenience. In the end, if you can’t make me understand why something is happening using formulae from the world I live in, then you’ve screwed up. Using magic or blaming something on the juvenility of teenagers does not cut it.
That’s why, at the end of the day, Holly Black’s ‘Red Glove’ will receive a lower rating than it would have had I finished reading the book 3 pages earlier.
To be fair, I want to reiterate that the problem comes at the very end of the book, and you may end up disagreeing with me on the validity of the characters’ rationale. Up until that point, Holly Black is writing one of my favourite modern day fantasies.
Red Glove is the second in Holly Black’s ‘The Curse Workers’ series, which kicked off last year with ‘White Cat’ and which I scored pretty highly. I loved the innovative way in which Black drew us into a modern-day world which is just a little skewed from reality. I thought the way in which the magic ruled the thoughts of everyone was clever and made for a very believable tale; wouldn’t you be a little bit nervous if just about anyone in the street could wipe your memory or make you do something you didn’t want to do.
So I was really excited to sit down and read Red Glove the other day; not only to continue reading a great story, but to interact with characters that I really enjoyed reading.
For the most part, Black’s teenage characters don’t act like the stereotypical-yet-unrealistic teenagers of so many books: they made justifiably insane and silly decisions, while never straying from the explainable; the realistic.
That is, up until the last few pages (sorry, I’ll shut up about that now).
Red Glove’s story is great, even though the authorities may be a little bit too dumb for my liking. Cassel is appropriately affected and stressed by the events going on in his life, and you really do route for him to pull through; to not cock everything up.
His friends are fantastic; funny, loyal, with their own quirks and issues. Lila especially makes this book fantastic, because we get a character who is from the darker side of the tracks, but one who – like Cassel – doesn’t necessarily thrill to stay there.
In the end, I did enjoy Red Glove, despite the last few pages, and by the time the third book comes out in 2012 I may be thoroughly devoid of frustration (though it will immediately pop back up the moment I start reading). Holly Black uses her writing to weave a clever and dark tale of tragedy and bad luck, all the while keeping you a little in the dark and on the edge of your seat.
Review by Joshua S Hill
Holly Black is the bestselling author of contemporary fantasy novels for teens and children. Holly collaborated with her long-time friend, Caldecott award winning artist, Tony DiTerlizzi, to create the bestselling Spiderwick [...]
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