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Because I'm Batman

Red Glove - Holly Black I picked up two of these from the library. One has a simple, sparse design that I really like. The other is this ... with some blond gal (Lila?) and a red glove. Must say, I prefer the cover set with the 20's style font and limited graphics over black. On to the review:

Characters: Cassel continues to be a kid trapped between lies, trying to protect his family and himself while also trying to do the right thing. There were several points in the story where I did not like Cassel's actions or thoughts, but this was mitigated by his own self-critique and, in some cases, self-loathing. He continues to analyze his past and present actions and, more importantly, the motivations behind them to figure out what kind of person he is and how he can change. In many ways, Red Glove was an introspective piece. His school friends, Lila and his family are still present, but all seem to stay much more in the background with fewer active roles than they had in the first book, though one in particular is given more depth.

Romance: Cassel remains in love with Lila, but he's pretending not to be because his mom worked Lila to make her love him. It's not quite as muddled as it sounds, but, I confess, I have yet to really understand Cassel's "love" for the girl. Fascination, curiosity, lust even, but love? Eh ... Then again, I'm generally skeptical of high school "love" in general. On a separate note, the sexual content has increased in this installment; one incident has some detail. It is worth noting that none of the sexual encounters are treated as purely pleasurable, consequence-less incidents. There is definite emotional backlash for several parties.

Plot: With a brother newly murdered, Mom up to her old tricks, and Lila cursed to love him, Cassel is in for a headache of a school year. It doesn't help that the feds are on his case, the mobsters are courting his skills, and he's failing several subjects. Cassel spends some time investigating and keeping up with school drama, but a great deal of the plot seems devoted to his internal struggle, good versus evil, murderer versus victim. Much more introspective than the first, but the pace didn't suffer for it. And there were mean poodles.

Conclusion: The answer to all Cassel's problems is, understandably, the least of several evils and a setup for the next book. It wasn't the tensest, most action packed climax ever with blazing guns and fireworks, but it made sense and, despite being a lead-in for book 3, gave decent closure to several issues.

Final Thoughts: While I could have done without the increased sexual content and with, perhaps, a tad less of a Gollum act, I still enjoyed Red Glove and am looking forward to finishing out the trilogy.