Die deutsche Rezension findet ihr hier
.This review contains spoilers for the previous books.
If you told Cassel that he would work for the government some week ago, he would have laughed at you. His mother constantly clashes with the law, his brother seems unable not to lie, the girl he loves will be the next mafia boss in the city – he himself is anything but an angel. And still working for the government is what he does right now; even worse: Barron, too. Nobody must know, because any other possible betrayal couldn’t have been worse. But we all know how these things work, don’t we? It never rains but it pours. Soon, Cassel is involved in way too many conflicts, and each and every one of it could cost him his head.
Why make it easy when it can be complicated as hell? That seems to be what Holly Black thought (again) while writing “Black Heart”. Of course, Cassel can deal with all that trouble, but he really earned himself a break.
Instead, he trains to become an agent, solves his mother’s problems, gets his heart broken (which is partly his fault), mediates between his friends and puts his life at risk more than once. That his marks are on a vacation in the underworld will hardly surprise anybody.
“Black Heart” has what I partly missed in “Red Glove”: the surprise, the suspense. It’s not the same as in the first books but things don’t have to be the same to be good. Here, secrets big and small will be revealed, we get answers to questions we didn’t even know we had, so that sometimes I just sat there open-mouthed. Some of the secrets are hilarious, some are perfect brooding material and others are a little bit sad. You get an offer from every site of the emotional plate, so it really doesn’t get boring.
Besides, the characters wouldn’t even allow that. Cassel is someone you can only be sorry for, at least most of the time. Just take his relationship with Lila – he likes her and she likes him, only he doesn’t want to get that; if you could punch some more self-respect into someone, I would have done it with him. Still, you simply have to admire his way of getting away with everything; also, you have to admire he still finds the strength to try it – it’s nice really, because despite everything, you still want the best for the charming part-time criminal. Though our views differ as to what the best actually is.
Anyway, this book causes a lot of feels – whether that concerns Cassel and Lila, the Sharpes as a family, Cassel’s friends or the workers‘ situation in general. We never get to know the whole Sharpe family, Cassel’s father is long dead after all and the times in which the boys could live a careless life are over. But we get glimpses and that this life isn’t there any longer hurts. It’s the same with Sam and Danceca; I guess I’m not the only one who wants to see them happy – preferably together? That’s the question and even now I can’t say whether I could answer it. And of course the workers, who work for the good guys and the bad guys, who sometimes aren’t left a choice, who misuse others and are misused, who mostly only want to live life without the fear of persecution. How could you not suffer with them?
The workers are actually part of the point that bothered me the most (though not too much). I had hoped for more politics; I want to know what will happen to the workers’ rights. We get an indication as to which direction things are going to take, but that can change quickly enough. It would have been nice to get to know more about the whole thing, even though it only partly concerns Cassel who has to worry about other things as well. Who knows, though – maybe Holly Black will work on a fourth book one day and more of my questions can be answered.
So that’s it with Cassel Sharpe and us – for now, at least. It has been quite the trip that made lots of fun, but was responsible for less nice emotions as well (in a good way, though). Fortunately, “Black Heart” is better than “Red Glove” and even though you can consider the ending as closed, I wouldn’t mind another book in the series.