Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Born Wicked: The Cahill Witch Chronicles Book 1

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Published: February 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
The Cahill Witch Chronicles: Book 1

Born Wicked, the debut novel by Jessica Spotswood, is a definite must-read. Ms. Spotswood has created a book that will grasp hold of you from the very beginning and claim you until the very end.

Cate Cahill and her sisters are witches hiding in plain sight. As the eldest sister, Cate must help her sisters develop their magic, but more importantly, she must ensure no one ever find out about them. If suspected, at best the sisters would be put in the asylum; at worst- they would hang. Cate and her sisters have managed to stay under the religious Brotherhoods' radar, but recently, more and more innocent girls are being accused and carted off with no proof. Besides protecting herself and sisters from suspicion, she has an even bigger problem to worry about: her 17th birthday- which is fast approaching. In their civilized society, girls turning 17 must either marry or join the Sisterhood (the female version of the religious Brotherhood). While neither idea is desirable to Cate, her time is running out. Before Cate realizes it, she is juggling magic lessons, the Brotherhood, a marriage proposal from a childhood friend, and a growing attraction to her family’s new gardener, Finn Belstra.

Cate was a great lead, she was strong willed, caring, and independent. She fought to keep her sister safe and always made self-sacrificing decisions. I enjoyed reading her inner monologues and witnessing her relationships with Finn, Paul, and her sisters. Before getting in too deep, I have to say how much I ADORED Finn! He is the perfect combination of nerd-hottie! Smart and well read, but cusses like a sailor at just the right time. I love that he wore glasses and had ginger hair and still came off as sexy. (Not that those aren’t attractive qualities to begin with- it was just nice to read something beside tall, dark, and handsome). But most importantly, he was totally devoted to helping Cate and is willing to take a stand for his family and her. I loved reading the scenes between Cate and Finn; they were filled with the best kinds of tension. But then there is Paul, her childhood friend and partner in crime for so many of her younger years. Paul arrives back home during the most opportune time in Cate’s life, months away from deciding marriage or the Sisterhood. It is easy for Cate to fall back into routine with Paul, he is funny, good-looking, and they have a shared history. This was definitely a love triangle that could go either way- both guys are likable and deserving.

Cate’s sisters, Maura and Tess, are everything sisters should be. There are some very relatable sibling rivalry issues and some even better sisterly bonding. Tess, the youngest, is sweet and precocious. Maura, will do anything to set herself apart, but is clearly devoted to her sisters- just in her own way. The Brotherhood- who remained politically imposing and far reaching in their ways- you just cannot help but hate them immediately. They view the world in black and white, leaving no room for those who do not conform.

Ms. Spotswood does a great job providing the reader with imagery to the world she has created. Set in historical New England, the feel is genuine and engaging. The writing flowed well and left me swiftly turning pages to get to the next part. The plot was rich with drama, brought on by dysfunctional family dynamics and swoon-worthy boys. The paranormal aspect was a nice added bonus, to what was already a captivating story. I would recommend this book to all YA lovers- especially paranormal/ historical fans. I look forward to the next installment of the Cahill Witch Chronicles, Star Cursed!

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