Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: February 7th 2012
Length: 330 pages (Hardcover)
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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 have wanted to read this book for quite some time now, but haven’t had the opportunity…until now. I’m really happy I have finally read it, because I thought it was a really good, enjoyable book.
The story follows the life of Cate Cahill and her two sisters. They’re witches, living in the worst imaginable period of the time. The time of witch-hunts. The time of the Brotherhood.
Cate, the main character, has a lot of weight on her shoulders. Before her death, Cate’s mother had her promise to protect her sisters, no matter what. Sadly, Maura and Tess have not made it an easy task. While struggling with this, Cate also has to make the decision that will determine the fate of not only her, but also her sisters’, future, and she has only a couple of months to decide. Should she marry the boy from her childhood that has returned, find another husband, or join the Sisterhood?
I really liked the plot of Born Wicked. It kind of gave me the sense of Pride and Prejudice, whilst being completely different. I absolutely love reading these kinds of stories, you know. The dresses, the tea, the language. The whole world and society intrigues and interests me!
While I really enjoyed the setting and plot, it also made the story kind of slow. It wasn’t a big problem for me, but I can imagine some people might lose interest after a while.
I actually love the cover of this novel! The colours and the contrast makes it look beautiful and mysterious. A perfect build-up for the story :). I’m really sad they decided to change them.
The characters in this book, and the dynamics between them, were great. Especially between Cate, Maura and Tess. Cate loves her sisters more than anything in the world, but it’s hard for her to know if, or when, she should behave like a mother, sister or friend to them. She would never admit it, but sometimes I think she feel a bit suffocated by them.
“When I was her age, I liked to run through the gardens, and I suppose I was careless with my magic too. But I had Mother to look out for me. Now I have to play mother for Tess and Maura, and ignore the wild girl that still bangs in my heart, begging to be let out.”
Cate often thinks that her sisters are better than her at everything. Maura is beautiful and full of spirit and dreams, and Tess is a natural at everything, magic, learning, reading people and baking. One thing Cate has though, is her roses.
“Gardening is the one freedom I’ve allowed myself.”
In the garden, she can be herself. She doesn’t have to think about wether she is muddy or not, she doesn’t have to hide from the judging eyes of the Brotherhood, and she doesn’t have to follow the orders of anyone.
While Cate is very caring, she is also very fierce, stubborn and snappish. I really like those kind of traits in a character :).
“Worse, my pointed chin hints at stubborness. It’s an ill-kept secret, though- one you’d uncover by talking to me for five minutes.”
One of Cate’s faults though, is the fact that she often makes promises she can’t possibly keep. Sometimes, I just wanted to yell at her, even though I know that everybody have sides of them that aren’t particularly good.
“Just promise me you won’t go off and marry someone else. Can you do that? For your old friend, at least?” I squeeze his hands, grateful for his understanding. “Yes, of course. I promise.”
There is a tiny, teeny bit of love triangle and insta-love in Born Wicked, but since it isn’t a very severe case, I can forgive it.
As it is said in the synopsis, the one Cate really cares about, is Finn Belastra. Finn is a pretty poor bookseller, who’s also the family’s new garderner. The two of them fall in love pretty quickly, but I guess that’s pretty logical, counting in the fact that they live during the 18th century + that Cate is a 16-year old being in a relationship for the first time.
I loved their scenes together, since I found them very funny and sweet. Some scenes were a bit cliché, but it didn’t bother me.
“Will you toss me an apple?” I pluck an apple and throw it to him. He ducks. “You were meant to catch it,” I point out, swinging one leg over the branch, scrambling to find my footing on the lower limb. “You surprised me with your excellent aim. It’s- ” I glower at him. “If you say `good for a girl´, I’ll never forgive you.” “I wouldn’t dream of it. You terrify me,” he laughs.”
Now to the Brotherhood. Those creeps pissed me off with all their “women should not think” and “you made me angry so therefore you’re a witch, I will send you to an asylym now, bye!”-nonsense. Gaaah!
Worst of all, they made Cate believe that what she is, is something wrong. That being who she is, is something shameful.
“Miss Maura Cahill! To whom do you owe obedience?” Next to me, Maura stiffens. “The Brotherhood. My father. And someday, my husband,” she replies, her voice crisp. “That is correct.”
“…they know how rare true witchery is. That’s almost worse. It would mean the increase in arrests isn’t due to any wrongdoing at all; it’s only meant to keep us frightened.”
“Too much knowledge turns a woman’s head,” Brother Ralston says.”
Come to think about it, the Brotherhood reminds me a great deal about the dudes in The Chosen One. If a girl in Born Wicked didn’t “catch a husband” (yes, they used that expression), the Brothers would pick one, most likely old and weird, for her.
Wrapping this up: it was a great story, I liked the tone, the characters were interesting, well built and the relationship between them were awesome. There were some secrets sneaking about in there, and I didn’t figure all of them out too early on in the story. The author didn’t wait too long to reveal them either, so that was really good :).
And last but not least…..
The author used the word “wicked” a lot! I could say it all day ;). Wicked…wicked…wicked….wicked…WICKED. I love it ;D.
I’m very curious about the next book in the series, Star Cursed, which comes out June 18th. :)
“I hate autumn,” she complains, biting at her lip with pearly teeth. “It feels so sad.” “I like it.” There’s something invigorating in the crisp September air, the searing blue skies, the interplay of orange and scarlet and gold. The Brotherhood would probably ban autumn if they could. It’s too beautiful. Too sensuous.”
“Our governess will excel in all the pretty, useless things young ladies of our station are expected to embrace.”
“No matter how safe and beautiful it is, a cage is still a cage.”
“My hem grow damp and heavy; the mud sucks at my skirts. I feel like the earth itself is pulling at me, slowing me down.”
“I find it satisfying, leaving things better off than when I started. And I don’t like being cooped up inside.”