Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Title:  Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles Book I)  
Author:  Jessica Spotswood
Genre:  Young Adult
Publisher:  G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Format:  ARC acquired via LibraryThing
Release Date:  February 7, 2012

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 only six months left 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 starts 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 (Summary courtesy of book jacket).

Born Wicked takes the reader into 1890s New England, but it is not the New England of our past, instead it is a vastly different world, a world run by the Brotherhood—an oppressive, religious group that lords over everyone and everything.  After taking control of New England from the witches, the Brotherhood has forbidden any one to use magic and everyone is required to attend religious services twice a week. They believe women have a “higher purpose,” that is to bear children and be a comfort to their husbands, obedient to the Brotherhood, pure of heart, meek of spirit and chaste of virtue. Women are forbidden to run businesses or study at university. The only choices given to women are to marry or to join the Sisterhood, the powerless female arm of the Brotherhood.  The Cahill sisters must navigate their way through this oppressive lifestyle, motherless and constantly in fear of being discovered.  Because the Cahill sisters are witches and discovery would mean the end of everything they know and love.

I enjoyed Born Wicked.  Spotswood has managed to write an original and engaging story in a genre full of copycats and lackluster storylines. She created memorable characters and a fascinating world. She gives us just enough back story to move things forward, but leaves us wanting more. I am extremely curious to learn more about the Brotherhood, how they came to power and why.  I also want to know the history of the witches and what caused them to lose power. I am hoping many of these questions will be answered in later books. Cate, Tess and Maura, the three Cahill sisters, are very well-written, dynamic characters.  There were many characters in this book who took me by surprise, not fitting the mold I expected them to fit. After reading the book jacket, I expected Finn Belastra, the “completely unsuitable” and “forbidden romance” to be one of those bad boy, brooding young adult characters, but he wasn’t.  And I loved him for it. Spotswood throws quite a few curveballs into this story, which is why I found it original and engaging. Things are never quite what you expect. Thank you for that, Ms. Spotswood, thank you.

I recommend picking up Born Wicked, especially if you are looking for something new and different. I really enjoyed it and I will be passing it on to my daughters, I think they will like it.  I can’t wait for the second book!

My grade for Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood:

1 comment:

  1. This has been one of my favorite books this year. Great review!


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