Monday, March 5, 2012

Born Wicked, by Jessica Spotswood

Release date: February 7th 2012
Published by: Putnam Juvenile
Genre: Historical Fiction (YA)
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon


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.

My thoughts:

Born Wicked was everything I thought it would be, and more. I haven't read much about witches, save the brief encounter with Heinrich Kramer in One Grave at a Time, where Bones and Cat send his ghost back to its grave. Since then, I've felt incredible curious about them; how it must have been, living in the shadows,  as Inquisitors searched for them?

Jessica Spotswood provided me answers, and I was mostly satisfied with them. Our protagonist is Cate Cahill, the oldest of three motherless sisters. Since her mother's death, Cate's been carrying a burden much too heavy for a girl of her age: They're all witches, she and her sisters. The thing is, the witches have fallen long ago, and now the Brotherhood rules Chatam, and Cate has to pass as a normal citizen in order to live. Her family is wealthy, her dad - though absent most of the time - is respected, and her best friend, Paul, is about to propose to her. It's the perfect hiding place. 

Cate, though, doesn't expect to find her mother's diary, which speaks of an old prophecy conceiving the idea of a trio of sisters, powerful enough to allow the witches to rule once again. And so the ride is on. Can Cate figure out if she's the one the prophecy is talking about before she has to declare her intentions? 

I enjoyed Cate's point of view, and herself as a character, but she was so scared of the Brothers finding out her secret that the narration was rather tiring at some points. Her doubts, insecurities, and impulses are great at the beginning of the book, but it gets old. Her concern for Maura and Tess was understandable, of course, but still, I'd like to see more of Cate as a free girl, like the one she turned into on the second half of the book (kind of). 

The mysteries surrounding the prophecy was contagious, and it was interesting to see the Cahill's witchery being masked by tea parties, boring conversations, and blessings from the Brothers. I know some reviewers didn't like Born Wicked because it didn't provide us with a lot of magic. I found this aspect of the story fascinating. It makes us see not only the magical part of the Cahills, but the human part, as normal girls from the early 20th century. 

Now, talking about human feelings. I began to read this book months after I checked out the synopsis, so it was a dive in the dark. I'm glad I did this. It made me scream in frustration, wondering who the love interest was, or if Mrs. Spotswood was developing a love triangle, after all. At first, my heart belonged to Paul. He was the charming one, who knew Cate above all else, and wanted to love her and make her happy. And then Finn came, and ruined what I thought was a wonderful character. Compared to Finn, Paul was too sure of himself, straightforward (and not in a good way) and manipulating. 

Finn's relationship with Cate is a treat that adds lightness to the story. He genuinely cares for her, and he shows it with jokes, conversations, acceptance, protectiveness (but not overprotectiveness). It's great awesome to read about a guy like this, who tries to win a girl over with his heart, not with his body. Suffice it to say, I love Finn. 

Born Wicked is a great reading to those who love historical fiction and romance. The ending will frustrate you so much, but overall, I think the story makes it up for it. I can't wait to read the next book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles XD 

1 comment:

  1. Lovely review, Beatriz! I have wanted to read this book for ages now and must get a copy in my hands soon. ;) I love witch stories myself and this sounds right up my alley. Glad you enjoyed it. :)