Why White Cat is like Crashing a Sexy Motorcycle

Let’s face it: being creative is hard. And being creative online is even harder. And having a blog series planned and never quite being sure how to get around to writing it is hardest.

So in my agony, someone told me to write this blog post.

And I’m not pointing fingers or anything, but it’s Snifferblog‘s fault.

So if I make you want to read this book at all: thank me, but blame him.

So, White Cat.

White Cat is the first book in Holly Black‘s The Curse Workers series. It consists of:

  1. White Cat
  2. Red Glove
  3. Black Heart

and is the one series I will unabashedly make anyone read regardless of genre orientation. They rank in my top three series, Red Glove in my top ten books, and Holly stands as my second favorite author, ever.

So obviously I think pretty highly of them.

But why is White Cat like crashing a sexy motorcycle? And how come my writing partner hit the nail on the head without having read the book yet?

Okay, admittedly, it could have something to do with the original cover publication:

whitecat(I may or may not have forced said writing partner to take home this edition out of my personal collection of…4+ copies. This may or may not be a common practice of mine. “Go on,” I say to skeptical friends, who have no choice but to take the book from my eager hands. “Give this a shot. I will tell you very little about it but sing its praises until my dying day. Go forth and read, dubious friend.”)

And so, admittedly, this cover looks like a kind of cheesy crime novel that may or may not involve a motorcycle or something. Right?

(Spoiler: No motorcycles of any kind are ever featured, much less crashed, over the course of this series.)

But there’s something about White Cat and its ensuing journey that makes this particular aesthetic inexplicably right. I can sum it up on one word:

Cassel Sharpe.

Cassel Sharpe is the hero of this story, and this boy is very much the living idea of crashing a sexy motorcycle.

Cassel Sharpe is a hot mess. Even outside of the things he struggles with inside the plot (having magic used upon him, having magic himself, murder, mayhem, school, love, hate, betrayal, the FBI, etc.) Cassel has a lot of issues.

For instance, the boy practically lives off of crappy coffee. It’s like a superpower, this ability to exist purely on caffeine and occasionally making it to dinner.

Perhaps this is the reason for Cassel’s particular brand of bitterness and smart-assery. Because another thing about Cassel Sharpe that makes him the perfect rider for this motorcycle wreck is that his heart seems to be about as black as his coffee. Cassel is very good at being involved with the magic mafia and also at lying to your face–and himself. “I’m fine!” He says, pushing 90 on the interstate without a helmet on.

And that never ends well, now does it?

Cassel’s funny. He’s funny, because he’s a very genuine person, while also being a great con. And you can’t trust him but you love him anyways, and some part of him will always be Devil’s Backbone by The Civil Wars, but the thing is another part is definitely Mr. Brightside, and what a contradiction that is. And really, I think that someone needs to tell him about Billy Joel’s Vienna and set his heart straight.

Because Cassel Sharpe is so stupid. He’s so enormously stupid. I mean, who buys a sexy motorcycle anyways? What kind of person owns a sexy motorcycle? The stupid, messy, conflicted, emotionally reckless kind, that’s what. The kind of person that is so very much a living, breathing thing that they–as a character–have major influence on their story as a whole.

Which brings me to why Cassel Sharpe is the reason White Cat is like crashing a motorcycle. Cassel inhabits his world and drives it around as much as he would a piece of vehicular terror like a motorcycle. Around and around he goes, down streets and alleys and up into different cities and back to school and around and around some more, roaring into places and roaring back out again and leaving behind burnt rubber and the smell of exhaust.

Cassel is atmosphere. And he makes the atmosphere of any place he’s in better by being in it.

So I guess that’s kind of where the sexy part comes in, since we’ve covered the crashing.

Are you beginning to understand? I hope so.

White Cat is like gravel in your palms and blood on a leather jacket, and walking away from it like a miracle with a smile. Just like that.

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