Feb 9, 2012

Book Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
(The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)
Release Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; 326 pages

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.

First, I have to say I think I was born in the wrong century. Books from the 1800’s or even early 1900’s where girls were proper and wore these amazing dresses always fascinates me. If you knew me, you’d never believe this because I never wear dresses or even dress all that feminine but let me tell you, if we dressed like they did back in the 1800’s, I would be in heaven. It’s always fascinated me. BORN WICKED is no different. I don’t think my mind would be fitting for a girl of that era but I would try. Girls are so proper and just so – I don’t know what word I’m looking for. I respect them because, like Cate, its like society wants you to dumb yourself down to make the male sex appear to be superior. I have to say I’m glad we’ve moved past that but if only we still dressed like this…

Now, moving on from what they wear . . . this book was amazing. I’ll admit, I don’t read many witch books; I’m not sure why I don’t. I actually like the idea of witches but I guess a lot of these types of books haven’t sparked any interest with me? I’m not sure, but I’m definitely up for suggestions, if you have any you’d like to share. But I’m definitely going to be searching for some because I really enjoyed reading this. There wasn’t a whole lot of magic used but enough to appease an appetite for it.

Cate Cahill is the oldest child in her family and with the death of her mother; she has now become the woman of the house. She is sixteen years old and is on the verge of being forced into an engagement with a suitor. All girls must announce their intended three months before their seventeenth birthdays, which hers is coming up faster than she anticipated. She assumes her suitor will be her childhood friend, Paul McLeod, but she hasn’t seen him in years and he never even came home from University for her mother’s funeral. That doesn’t sit well with Cate but he comes home and makes it a point to sweep her off her feet. It’s apparent his intentions for her but an unlikely suitor sneaks in to the picture. Finn Belastra. He’s not a respectable boy from a well respected family, in fact, he’s been hired by Cate’s father as their new gardener. But you can’t control what your heart wants – but sometimes you need to make sacrifices, whether your heart agrees or not.

There is a prophecy talking about three sisters who will come of age at the turn of the twentieth century who will either help the witches come back to rule in their power they once had or become a second terror. Cate believes she and her two younger sisters, Maura and Tess, are these sisters and it scares her. She promised her mother she would protect her sisters but what happens when she finds out part of the prophecy that will have her sisters turn against each other with one of their lives on the line? To what lengths would you go to protect your sisters? The only friends you’ve ever really had, the ones you swore your mother you’d protect right before she died? It’s a heavy burden that Cate carries…

This is another love triangle I really love. Lots of triangles annoy me but this, no, not this one. I really liked Paul when he first appeared in the story, but it didn’t take long for my feelings to change about him. He’s not a bad guy, per say, just not the best, either. Especially when it came to how he once treated Finn, that made me change my views on him. But I can see why Cate is so torn between them or what they represent, really.

This book has religion in it but again, it’s done nicely where it’s not being shoved down one’s throat. I respect that. And it was needed for the story, it was used nicely. The Brotherhood are those overly religious types who like to force their ways down your throat, and unfortunately here, they have the power to be able to do so. To me, they are the devil.

I love how balanced this book was. Not a whole lot of action, not a whole lot of magic, not too much romance but enough – it was so evenly balanced and it was paced perfectly that the reader will just want to keep turning page after page. The tension between Cate and the middle sister, Maura, makes it relatable if you have a sister or even brother of your own. Siblings are at each other’s throats a lot. This book was just, overall, put together wonderfully.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves books written in the Steampunk time period’s. If you like Fateful, Infernal Devices, etc – I think you’ll enjoy this. Obviously, if you’re into magic and witches, this is a book you’ll want to pick up. Even if you’re really not, like me, you’ll want to pick this up if you’re into fantasy novels.


  1. A love triangle that isn't annoying? Yes, please! Of course, you know this one is on my list and I have it from the library RIGHT NOW, so yeah. I need to read it SOOOOOOOOOOON. :)

  2. I, at least, did not find it annoying. Maybe because it's the time period or just how the author managed it...I kind of really like it. It'll be interesting to see what she does for the next book, that's for sure. And yes, you need to read it before next week! ;)


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