Black Heart by Holly Black

Posted On 24 March 2015

Filed under Book Reviews

Comments Dropped 15 responses

Just finished reading Black Heart by Holly Black which is the third and final instalment of the Curse Worker series.  This has been such a good series and I’m so pleased that the ending does not disappoint.  In fact I’m a little sad it’s over to be honest.

The Curse Worker series brings to us a world of illicit magic.  This is a bit of background about the world from my previous review:

‘The magic in Curse Workers is split into a number of areas, emotional, death, dreams, memory and transformation (the latter being incredibly rare) and the opportunities to turn these abilities into criminal activities is enormous. That being the case everybody must wear gloves (to prevent cursing somebody accidentally – or intentionally – by touching their fingers to somebody’s skin) and the Government are trying to draw the net in around curse workers by proposing to make compulsory a test which reveals if a person is able to perform magic. Working magic is illegal and results in prison which basically means that most magically gifted people will have broken the law simply when they performed their first curse, whether knowingly or not! ‘

Cassel Sharp comes from a line of notorious curse workers and has been involved in plenty of crimes.  I won’t go into the circumstances because it will certainly spoil the previous books. You’ll just have to trust me when I say that Cassel is trying to be good but it’s difficult in a world where there seems to be no obvious good sides in the mix.  Everyone is out for what they can get, everyone seems to be lying or twisting the truth and things are going to get very scary for Cassel very quickly.

What I really like about this series.

Well, the writing is really good.  This is a YA series but it has plenty of good characters and strong world building.  The magic system is really quite fascinating and all magic users pay a price for their curses – they may lose a finger or they may lose a slice of memory – enough magic and they may forget themselves completely.  The world itself almost puts me in mind of that from X-Men where your regular, mundane people are afraid of magic users – and to a lot of extents you can see why.  A lot of curse workers wind up as gangster fodder and the more sought after a worker’s gift the more in demand they are – don’t forget the price for practicing though which can sometimes be very high.  Of course there’s always two sides to an argument.  Curse workers are manipulated into working for the army, Government or rich people who need magic to keep them alive and kicking – or simply provide them with good luck as they gamble the night away.  Children who manifest magical abilities are oftentimes thrown out of families and left to make their way as best they can.  So, you can soon see there are two sides to every story.

We spend most of the story with Cassel and he’s a very easy character to like.  He’s resourceful and, well, frankly, easy to understand.  He’s motivated by love – for his family and the girl he’s been crushing on since forever.  This isn’t a love story though, although there are a few elements of romance here and there they are very few and far between.

The main gist of this story is how Cassel is going to sort out his new found commitment to the Feds whilst still doing the right thing.  It’s a difficult choice made even more difficult by the fact that if his family and former friends find out he’s working for the Feds then he might as well buy cement boots and go for a swim somewhere deep.

On top of this, and though it might not be his biggest worry, school is going weird with blackmailing and shootings!

So, plenty going on all culminating in a rather dramatic ending.

I do like Holly Black.  I think her series always contain originality, good writing and likable characters.  I would certainly recommend the Curse Workers.  It is YA but it’s written so well that it will certainly appeal to an adult audience.

This book is one of my backburn books and also completes one of my uncompleted series (of which I have set myself a goal to finish 10 of during the course of the year).

15 Responses to “Black Heart by Holly Black”

  1. RoseReadsNovels

    It is very sad to come to the end of a good series, sometimes I feel a real sense of loss. I’m adding this series to my stack of books, thanks for recommending.

    • lynnsbooks

      It is a good one – I admit that I have a soft spot for Holly Black but I think it’s very well justified.
      Lynn 😀

  2. jenclair

    This sounds like a good series. I love a good YA that targets more than just a young audience. Thanks, Lynn!

    • lynnsbooks

      It is good – very readable and difficult to predict what will happen next which I always enjoy.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I don’t read much YA but have enjoyed both the Holly Black books I have read.

    • lynnsbooks

      I will have to come and check out your Holly Black books. I do like her.
      Lynn D

  4. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I’ve never read any Holly Black, but I hope to soon with The Darkest Part of the Forest. She’s got a lot of books, I don’t even think I’ve heard of this one yet and it’s the third of a trilogy!

    • lynnsbooks

      I really liked her fae series. Very good. I have the Darkest Part of the Forest and I’m looking forward to it.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Danya @ Fine Print

    Is this the UK cover? UGH it’s so much nicer than the North American ones. One of the things I like best about Holly Black’s books is that she puts her characters in these intense moral quandaries, you know? Family or what’s right? Magic or smarts? Hard to choose, sometimes. Still not over that plot twist in White Cat!!!

    • lynnsbooks

      I know – White Cat was great. I think this is a really good series to be honest but then I do like Holly Black.
      Lynn 😀

  6. A pox on both your houses… | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] doodle from your last week’s reading or just anything else in general. My recent reading includes Black Heart by Holly Black – this is a series about curse workers whose magic can be transmitted through […]

  7. March brings breezes sharp and shrill… a quick recap | Lynn's Book Blog

    […] Black Heart by Holly Black (Backburn and Completed Series) […]

  8. dastevensish

    I don’t know this series has never quite caught my attention before, though I’ve certainly heard of it. You just changed that though–I definitely want to read it now!
    And oh how I love that cover!

    • lynnsbooks

      Yeah, the cover for Black Heart is really good. I enjoyed it – I admit though that I do like Holly Black. If you read it then let me know what you think.
      Lynn 😀

  9. ‘The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.’ | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] Black Heart by Holly Black – I really enjoyed this series about a family of curse workers.  The majority of the story is set in a school environment. […]

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