Thursday, December 22, 2011

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (ARC)

Title: Born Wicked
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles 
Book #: One
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: 2012
Source: Around the World ARC Tours
My Rating: 

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. (taken from

As soon as I saw Born Wicked compared to the Gemma Doyle series, I knew I needed to read it. While the book didn't rank nearly as high as the Gemma Doyle books, I did thoroughly enjoy the story. 

At first I was a little confused by the setting. I eventually assumed that the tale takes place in an alternate history in which women are oppressed by the Brotherhood. Before the Brotherhood, witches ruled the people. Now witchery is seen as the ultimate sin and punishable by life imprisonment or death. Women are considered to be frail and easily corrupted, and each girl is expected to declare her "intentions" at a ceremony. Basically, a girl's only choices are marriage or joining the Sisterhood, which is a convent of sorts. 

The Cahill sisters' relationship was intriguing. Cate, the eldest, feels obligated to protect her younger sisters due to a promise she made to her deceased mother. Responsible, yet hot-headed and stubborn, she takes her task seriously. The second oldest, Maura, is a wild red head filled with passion and romanticism. Tess is the youngest, but by far the wisest. While the girls have their fair share of spats, the love between them is evident. 

love it when an author breaks the trend of love-at-first-sight scenarios. I don't want to spoil anything, but the romance was wonderful. Unexpected and tempting, Cate's relationship is addictive. In fact, it sometimes felt like the love story overpowered the supernatural elements of the book. I kind of wish there had been a stronger focus on the Cahill sisters' magical abilities. 

Up until the climax, events progress pretty slowly. Cate is worried about her sisters, her future, and her family's safety. She spends the majority of her time fretting over what-ifs. Then BAM! Everything hits at once. Within the last few chapters, so much happens. I was shocked by Cate's final decision, and I'm desperate to find out what happens next. Sequel please!?

This book wasn't a love, but it was certainly entertaining. The cliffhanger will definitely force me to get my hands on a sequel, and soon! Feel free to give this one a try if you're a lover of magic, historical fiction, and forbidden romance.