09 August 2011
There are spoilers for the first book in this paragraph... In the second installment of Black's series, Cassell (after learning he is one of the most powerful worker's in the world) searches for his brother's murderer while feeling trapped between the FBI and a Crime Boss (who also happens to be the father of the girl he loves). Meanwhile, he fights feelings for Lilah, because she was cursed to love him and he doesn't want to take advantage of her. End spoilers.
Like I said, the world-building is phenomenal. I can't say it enough. There are whole histories that make the world seem even more plausable than our own. I also enjoy that the fight for Worker's Rights comes through even though Cassell does his best to ignore it. It was perfect for creating a full and complex world in this book and added some amazing set up for what I expect to be an equally awesome final book.
I loved the plot. Yes, it was a "middle book", in that much of what happens is bridging the story for the final showdown, BUT I though Cassell's investigation tied the second book together extremely well. The pieces of the series plot seemed totally natural and enhanced the second book even while I knew they were setting up the third. In the first book Cassell had to investigate and react. In Red Glove, he has had time to process his thoughts and he needs to make real decisions, complicated by the fact that there are so many people trying to control him.
But the world and the plot could call apart if it weren't for the characters. I love them. They are all so real, they are all so developed. They have their own things going on, they have their own problems. There was so much tension between Cassell and Lilah--it was a special kind of angst, my favorite kind. As with the first book, I loved that many of the characters were bad people and even though Cassell wanted to do the right thing, he also wanted to protect them. Cassell's relationship with himself is probably one of my all-time favorites. He sees himself as a terrible person, he loathes himself, and yet he still has hope that he can be a better person. He wants to be a good person.
And, oh god... the end! It felt unexpected, but totally the only thing that could have happened. I am now dying for the next book and I can't even find it for pre-order on Amazon yet. I can not wait to read it. There is so much set up in both Cassel's life and the world at large, problems he has been trying to ignore for the better part of the first two books. And isn't Black Heart a perfect title?