Black Heart by Holly Black

Posted April 4, 2012 by Sara | Novel Novice 1 Comment

That moment when you finish the final book in a beloved series, and it was everything you’d hope for and more, and then depression sets in as you realize it’s all over? That’s where I found myself upon finishing Black Heart by Holly Black, the third and final book in her Curse Workers series.

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.

Black Heart is a masterful conclusion to an already stellar series. I’ve loved the Curse Workers series from day one. Every book in this series has been pitch perfect, and Black Heart is no exception. Black takes her brilliant “mobsters & magic” universe to a climactic and exciting conclusion. The tone and mood of the book is on point with the entire series, and it’s thrilling to see Cassel’s character arc come full circle. He’s a complex character, in a difficult situation. In Black Heart we see Cassel finally come to understand what it is he really values in life — and see him stand by those values, despite the challenges facing him.

All of the characters in Black Heart face difficult situations and uneasy questions. Black masterfully leads (or should I say follows?) them through the murky world they inhabit to a stunning and complex finish. And while we leave Cassel, Lila and the rest in a good place, there’s definitely room for more stories in this universe.

At this point, I know Black Heart is meant to be the final book in the series — but I do so hope Holly plans to revisit it again someday. I love this world and these characters, and I long to spend more time with them. For now, I’ll have to settle for some re-reading.

Sara | Novel Novice

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