This is the sequel to White Cat, which I reviewed earlier this year. I really liked that book. I think I like the sequel even better.
Cassel Sharpe is starting his senior year at an exclusive high school, but his troubles are far from over. His oldest brother is murdered, and the Feds want Cassel to join them and find the murderer. They don't plan to take no for an answer--and they're perfectly capable of going after Cassel's emotion-worker mother, who's taught Cassel everything he knows about conning people. But the head of the Zacharovs, a mob family that Cassel's own death-worker grandfather works for, wants Cassel to join the family business. And Zacharov's daughter, Lila, has enrolled at Cassel's school.
The plot is intricate and dark. The more I learn about this world, the more I want to know about it. Cassel found out in the last book that he's a rare transformation-worker, a secret that's leaking out despite his attempts to hide it. He has to make hard choices between loyalty to family and friends and what's right, and the choices aren't a bit clear.
I like Cassel, who's smart and a fast thinker. He isn't afraid to face his own doubts about himself, too. His relationship with Lila and his other friends is as complex as the main plot.
I still can't say I'm enamored of the present tense writing. I keep seeing it in YA books lately, and it always comes across as gimmicky and frequently jarring. But that's the only real problem I have with the book. I really hope there are more in this series.