Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication 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.
I fell in love with Born Wicked from the very start and that love never once faltered until the last page. Born Wicked is a well thought out combination of Victorian/Edwardian society and a dystopian society, both of which are settings I love. Not to mention the addition of magic and witch-hunts.
I think the world-building is what really make me fall in love with this story. I felt like I was right in Cate's world with her, frustrated and helpless in the face of both the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood. There were so many times I just wanted to shout and hit people and generally throw a tantrum about the situation Cate and her sisters were put into. I love the combination of old-fashioned manners and societal rules merged with a dystopian type government and the presence of magic.
I really enjoyed Cate as a character. She was definitely flawed, but there were so many good qualities in her that I admired. Honestly, she reminded me a lot of Katniss; she was so committed to doing what was best for her family, no matter what. Don't get me wrong, there were times I wanted to shake Cate, but there were at least as many times that I wanted to give her a big hug. There was so much pressure on her and she was forced to shoulder it alone.
I also enjoyed the other characters, especially Cate's sisters, Maura and Tess. Maura was high-spirited and strong-willed and her and Cate naturally butted heads in a way that felt like such a genuine sister rivalry. And little Tess was absolutely adorable and was probably my favourite character. If Cate was Katniss, then Tess would be Prim. There were also a few boys involved in Cate's life. I had a personal favourite, but I don't want to give away too much.
Not all of the characters were loveable, however. The Brothers made me feel ill and angry and violent. Elena rubbed me the wrong way from the start. But the character that made me the most angry never actually appeared in the book: Cate's decreased mother. I feel bad being so angry with someone who's dead, but she left such a burden for Cate and kept them so sheltered and ignorant.
Overall, I absolutely loved Born Wicked. The ending hit me square in the feels and I actually shed a few tears (something I haven't done in a while). I can't wait to get my hands on Star Cursed!
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