Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2)



White Cat sequel is more mature, more fun.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Fans of this book may want to go on to read other fantasies and mysteries. See our recommended book lists for some ideas.

Positive messages

Good versus evil themes. Cassel demonstrates the importance of standing up for what you believe in -- and teaches that we are not always victims of our environments. Some people are able to break the chains and flourish -- like he does. 

Positive role models

Cassel is a kindhearted and thoughtful teen. Although it's difficult for him to make the right decisions, (with his family encouraging him to make poor ones) he always does the commendable thing. Cassel has many opportunities to act selfishly upon situations that he would better from, but he refuses to take advantage of others even if it means he could come out on top. 


Cassel's mother hits him across the face. A riot takes place between political parties, and the police use unnecessary brutality against the workers. There are also references made to past murders. 


Cassel's mother dresses skimpily and wears heavy makeup, using her sex appeal to attract men. Lila has sex with a boy just to make Cassel jealous. Later, in a descriptive scene Cassel and Lila almost go all the way. Clothes are taken off, and there is passionate kissing and touching.


Cassel's abusive mother calls him a "moron" and a "stupid idiot."  


This book is filled with brand names: Gucci, Mercedes Benz, Dolce & Gabbana, and Armani are thrown around as high-profile people advertise their wealth. Cassel has zero tolerance for the teens at his school who try so hard to keep up appearances, especially when he knows that none of it really matters in the larger scope of life.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Teens get drunk to forget about their problems. Teen characters smoke cigarettes, and there are a few scenes where people are doing cocaine. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this installment is more mature than the first book. Cassel's mother is psychologically unstable and projects her own self-loathing onto her son with emotional and physical abuse. Also, Lila has sex with a boy to make Cassel jealous and, later in a descriptive scene, Cassel and Lila almost go all the way. Clothes are taken off and there is passionate kissing and touching. Teens drink heavily to deal with the pain they are suffering from, and there are references to cocaine. But the protagonist is a good role model who refuses to bend to his bad upbringing: Cassel has many opportunities to act selfishly, but he refuses to take advantage of others and always does the commendable thing.

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What's the story?

When 17-year-old Cassel Sharpe is pulled off his high school football field and handcuffed by federal agents, he worries they will question him about being a transformation worker -- the most dangerous and powerful type of curse worker who can use touch to transform anything; he also fears they may know that his brothers forced him to kill people -- and used magic to erase his memory of the events. Instead, the agents question him about his brother's murder -- and offer him a job working as one of them. But that's not the only career opportunity knocking at his door: The head of the most renowned mob family in the nation has also offered him a job -- promising him wealth in return for his powers. He is faced with a tough decision: live a life of luxury and crime or to live modestly -- and legally? It's a tough choice, especially when the love of his life, Lila, is the next in line to become head of the mob family.

Is it any good?


This book is more mature than White Cat, the first of its series, but it's more fun, too. Black's teen characters evolve into charming and independent free spirits here, from loner Cassel who struggles to do the right thing to hipster Lila, who is confident and comfortable in her own skin. Readers can't help but become enthralled with the characters' witty banter, which is both playful and boisterous. These well-developed characters add to the fun of this magical mystery installment. Readers will have plenty to sort out with the teen protagonist, including who he should trust with his life -- and his heart. 


Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the series. Which installment did you like better, this one or White Cat?  Did you notice any differences in the writing style -- or maturity level of the plot?

  • The marketing for this book claims, "the stakes get higher in book 2." What does that mean for book 3? Do sequels have to keep getting more intense to hold your interest?

Book details

Author:Holly Black
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Margaret K. McElderry
Publication date:April 5, 2011
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):14

This review of Red Glove (Curse Workers, Book 2) was written by

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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 10 years old May 29, 2011

i love this book

it was good to me and i whant to say gogogogoggo to you gise
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much consumerism
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 14 years old Written bynoveleater November 8, 2011

"We are all specialists in our own handwriting." (p.236)

And Holly Black has her own handwriting, or in this case, her own writing style that is fun and leaves for a fast paced thriller with romance, action, and just enough magic to make any fantasy lover giddy with the raw power of Holly’s talent. It is startling to see when an author improves on her own writing, when it is already near perfect. I can’t seem to get enough of Holly’s books. Red Glove continues the story that was finished in Whit Cat, but Red Glove kisses more of the mystery side of conning. It’s hard to image how much Holly must of researched to understand the whole Conning business, but regardless, she does it perfectly. But, parents, be aware that The Curse Workers trilogy is violent… very violent, sometimes disturbing. Guns are used, and shot, murders are constant and a vital element in the plot. Cassel is slapped by his mother, and a riot is violent. This book has an edgy dark feel throughout the pages. Even know the book is dark, it still celebrates loyalty and friendship. Great role models that want him to succeed surround Cassel. Cassel may be a curse worker, but still, he is good at the heart and he only wants to do what is right to the people, he isn’t greedy or cruel. Although, he still doesn’t always spare people’s feelings. The book opens up with him kissing a girl, it is implied they had sex; also there are kisses and romance present, even though it is not the main focus of the novel. In one scene Cassel enters a part where a minor character is snorting cocaine, this is a one-sentence scene, nothing to be worried about. Teens smoke and drink, and in one scene Cassel gets drunk with Sam. The ending is well planned and I can’t stop gushing about how great the ending really is. I also love the political side of this series, and this book in particular. I can’t wait to read the next installment of The Curse Workers.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex


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