Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Literary Feast Discussion: White Cat (pages 1-73)

White Cat (Curse Workers, Book 1)Hey, Cool cats!

Sorry we're a little late on this post.  Would you believe I was sleepwalking?  That a cat ate my homework?

On to our discussion of Holly Black's White Cat.  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

SHEL: So, what did you think of the beginning? I have to say, I was won over by page four with "The whole school can see his tighty-whities. I realize abruptly that I'm wearing only boxers. If he looks ridiculous, I look worse."

Monica: I *loved* the beginning. I think it was the way he thought the cat was going to suck the breath out of his lungs -- isn't it fun when folklore works its way into modern stories?

SHEL: Oh, folklore.  It's sneaky like that.  I'm having trouble with the name "Cassel." It just feels like a misspelled "Castle." Which makes me think of Nathan Fillion. Which makes me think of Firefly.

Monica: Which makes me think of Jayne, which makes me think of silly names, which makes me think of Cassel! It's the ciiiiiiiiiiiircle of liiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiife!

Monica: I'm pretty much way intrigued with the history of this world. They're shooting workers in South Korea? They banned curse working right before the stock markets crashed? They willingly put on Pippin in high school?! (It's sort of like the Chrestomanci books, don't you think? Where everything is almost the same, but noooot quite?)

SHEL:  I know, and I like how gradually it's all being revealed.  There's no information dump.  Instead, we're following breadcrumbs through the dark woods.

Monica: Can we all pause for a moment to reflect on how *ridiculously* creepy Maura is in that stairway scene? When she said that the music was "like angels shrieking [her] name," I totally got the heebie-jeebies (45).

SHEL: I just feel awful for her.  Her relationship with her husband is clearly far from ideal.  On a lighter note, I kinda wish I'd started a betting pool in high school. Except I suppose my school didn't really have the extra cash to place bets. Plus, I wouldn't really want to contemplate which teachers were hooking up.

Monica: Seriously, this school seems much more like... I don't know, pick an unrealistic high school. The one from 10 Things I Hate About You, maybe. I'm just having a hard time imagining a massive betting pool, involving the vast majority of the student body, not blowing up fairly quickly.

SHEL: I'm not particularly fond of the cover. I know part of the point of the book is that the characters have to wear gloves to avoid curses. But since I was raised on political and crime dramas, whenever I see someone wearing leather gloves, I assume they're about to commit a murder. Therefore, I think the guy on the cover is about to kill the cat. And I like kitties.

Monica: ::: laughs ::: You're totally right! I hadn't even thought of that, but it totally looks like he's about to give kitty some cement shoes and throw her off the pier!! I was fixated more on the fact that he does not particularly look (assuming he's Cassel) like the descendant of "a runaway slave" or the great-grandson of "a maharaja of India." To be fair, though, apparently he's also Italian / Iroquois, so I suppose I can't get too up in arms about the whitening of YA cover characters. ;)

Shel:  I know what you mean.  It reminds me of the cover drama over Liar.  When will book designers realize we'll pick up books that don't just have white people on them.  But on an unintentional representation note, before I started reading, I thought the two guys on the back cover with their heads together like they're sharing a secret in the shadows was a couple.  I'm only now realizing those are supposed to be Cassel's brothers.

Okay, guys.  It's your turn now.  Share your thoughts.

And we'll be back to discuss pages 74-144 (chapters six-ten) on Friday.  Probably on time.  Maybe.

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