Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Born Wicked - Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)
Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) - Jessica Spotswood
Grade: YA
Rating: 5/5 stars

Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave.

Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.

If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other. (Description from Goodreads)

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If I rated books higher than 5/5 this book would get a higher rating. Mystery, magic, stolen kisses, dangerous prophecies; it has it all and more.

Cate Cahill is a witch. Her mother was a witch; her two younger sisters - Maura and Tess - are witches. But being a witch is a crime, which makes it difficult to live in a small town in New England, especially when it's necessary to try and hide any powers from the Brotherhood, the religious body that rules the world 'Born Wicked' is set in.

The Brotherhood concerns me, they're very quick to jump to conclusions and also have eyes everywhere. Nothing goes unnoticed by them. But they're not the only concern. There's also the Sisterhood (the female sect of the Brotherhood). I definitely think there's more to them than we're given. Where the Brotherhood's intentions are all out in the open, the Sisterhood is mysterious and twisted at times. Makes you question their every move.

I love the family strength and commitment that gets shown by Cate and her sisters. Yes, there is tension (as all good families have) but there is never any doubt that Cate, Maura and Tess love each other and would do anything to make sure they all remain safe.

I haven't read many alternate history novels; I haven't branched into that genre much. But Cate's world, Jessica Spotswood's alternate world, intrigued me so much. Religion and the persecution of witches is not a new concept, but Spotswood drags you in instantly and it's impossible not to have a passionate response to the idea of innocent women being locked up or forced into hard labour because there is a chance they may be witches. Magic is not just frowned upon, but feared, especially by Cate and her family. Cate's desperate need to keep her family's magic a secret keeps you on the edge of your seat. You're never sure who you can trust or if someone's going to get caught doing magic in the back yard.

Magic, and dealing with the consequences, is obviously a big part of the story. Although there wasn't as much magic using as I thought there was going to be, it fits with the way the story flows. You don't expect spells to be spoken on every page when Cate is trying to hide that part of her. I hope the next book will give as a chance to explore the magic side of this world.

You can't talk about 'Born Wicked' without mentioning romance. Cate's in a tricky situation; not only does she face the dangers of using magic, but if she doesn't find a husband or choose to become a member of the Sisterhood by the time she is 17, she will have her future decided for her by the Brotherhood. Lucky for Cate, she's got a couple of suitors after her heart, one of which you can't help loving instantly. Is it bad form these days to want a gardener to fall in love with? Well, even if it is, I want a gardener and I want it to be Finn Belastra! He is a caring, gentle, concerned young man, who is extremely dedicated to the ones he loves and he makes me melt. The connection between Finn and Cate is hard to miss and leaves you wanting more.

Dying for book 2, even though I know there's a long wait ahead of us. Amazing start to the series.

5/5 stars

(Originally posted on Goodreads)


  1. Great review! I really loved this novel especially dear handsome Finn . . . there's not enough praise for him.

    1. Oh, Finn...isn't he just perfect? At the beginning I thought it was going to be hard to pick between Finn and Paul, but then you put them together and you're all "Paul who?" Finn just blows him away!


    2. I actually came to love Paul too but yes, Finn shines in the end. :)

  2. TEAM FINN, he is just beautiful..*sigh* Wonderful review!!

    Yes loooong wait until book 2, cause I think this party is only getting started with this series:D


    1. Finn's just awesome. You can't not love him!

      Hopefully we'll get teased with another awesome book trailer for #2 before the release. At least that'll give us something new to obsess over.