Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Pages: 330
Genre: YA Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: February 7, 2012
Source: ARC from LibraryThing Early Reviewers
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

The Cahill sisters are a bit strange, that is according to the rest of the town. They stick to themselves, have a desire to learn new things, read books, and haven't even officially presented themselves in society yet.  The truth of the matter is that they are witches, but even their father doesn't know the truth.  Their mother, who died many years before, was a witch as well and the only one who knew their secret.  This secret must be kept at all costs, because the Brotherhood pretty much hunts for witches and in the past they have been punished severely.  Cate Cahill, the eldest sister, feels responsible for her younger sisters Maura and Tess, especially now that their mother isn't around to protect them.  But the problem is that Cate is turning seventeen soon and according to society's rules, she will have to either get engaged, join the Sisterhood, or let the Brotherhood find her a suitable mate.  Cate could just marry her childhood best friend, Paul, but she is worried about the fate of her sisters, especially after receiving a note of warning and reading her mother's ominous diary.  Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood is a fascinating tale that has me desperate for book two in the series.

Cate Cahill is the kind of heroine I love. She's bookish, likes to garden, is protective of her family and is deep down a non-conformist.  She finds herself in many precarious situations in Born Wicked, but is determined to do the right thing and not let down her sisters.  One of my other favorite characters is Finn, the bookstore owner's son.  He is smart, kind, and protective of his family as well.  This character took me by surprise and I wasn't expecting to like him as much as I do.  I liked the tension between these two, especially since Cate knows full well that Finn is "beneath her" and a relationship wouldn't be socially accepted.  On the other hand, there is Paul, her childhood friend, who appears to be a bit of a womanizer, but seems to be sincere about Cate. I am not 100% sure about him though.

The setting of Born Wicked is something I found captivating.  It took me awhile to get used to it, because I was thinking it was a historical fiction that takes place in New England; however, with Spotswood's invention of the Brotherhood and Sisterhood, it put a new spin on history.  Interestingly enough, it's an alternative version of New England in the 1800s; plus, Spotswood creates such an interesting world where women have practically no rights, aren't encouraged to "think too much" and must get married at seventeen or join the Sisterhood.  There's no doubt it's an intense world.

I can't wait for the next book in the series since Born Wicked left me craving more.  Born Wicked was one of those books that I quickly finished in a few days despite my busy schedule, because it was just that good.  

*Watch the book trailer


  1. Loved this book something fierce! Alternate history for the win!!!!!!!!

    1. YA Bibliophile- Me too! Can't wait for book two. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I'm literally drooling over this one, I can't wait to go get a copy! I like historical fiction aspect of it, especially the fact that she's added so much to the history that it takes you a little while to get your bearings. I usually enjoy when that happens:) So glad you loved this one Christina!

    1. Jenny- I think you will enjoy it-- I hope you get your hands on a copy soon! Thanks for visiting!

  3. I really liked the alternative setting too, once I got used to it. It was so fascinating...and I loved Finn, too!

    Great review :)

  4. I wasn't sure about this one for me - I think it might take me a while to get used to the alternate history setting, but since you loved this one so much, I'll just have to check it out at some point!

  5. Amazing blog!! Great stuff!! Keep it up! You have a new follower btw :)



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