Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood ★★★★

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood 
Genre: Historical YA Paranormal
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Publication Date: February 7th 2012 
ISBN: 9780399257452
Page Count: 330
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: Audiobook
Reviewed by: Lynsey
Synopsis: 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.


Deadpan: Oh, look. Here I am reviewing a YA Historical Fantasy book. I hardly ever do that.

Actually, just to totally throw you with a drastic change to my routine, BORN WICKED would probably be more accurately described as a Historical Paranormal, which is totally differentshut up—rather than the usual Swords & Sorcery fantasy fare that I love so well. Featuring witches, young love and a coming-of-age story, it's a slow-burner with the emphasis on the characters and their internal conflicts, more than any great showy magical abilities. A quiet, understated read with a fairly prim and proper heroine, it won't be for everyone for that reason. But for those who persevere past the slow beginning, there is a payoff to be found.

Cate Cahill, the main character, is the eldest of three sisters (witches all), who lost her mother a few years back and is now facing the prospect of, a) suddenly becoming the matriarch of the family at only 16 and having to care for her younger—and much more reckless—sisters, b) reaching the age where, in Spotswood's alternate England, she has only about six months left to choose a husband or one will be appointed to her by the Brotherhood (think zealous pseudo-priests who preach anti-magic propaganda and have become the governing body in charge of, well, everyone), and c) having to hide her magic and that of her sisters for fear of being caught by said Brotherhood, in which case she/they would be taken away, likely never to be heard from again.

So, all together, a lot to take onto young shoulders. Add to that the reappearance of a former childhood crush, and the most surprising romantic about turn, and you've got one confused young lady. Add to that the discovery of her mother's old journal, and it's a pivotal time in Cate's life, to say the very least.

BORN WICKED is one of those quiet and sneaky little stealth ninja books. You know the kind that creep up on you unsuspectingly, and you don't quite realize just how much you've been enjoying it until it suddenly STOPS? With, I might add, one motherclucking doozy of a cliffhangery ending. And then you find yourself having to curtail a temper tantrum the likes of which the world has never seen over a book that started out so unassumingly you were barely paying attention.

Okay, that last part may be an exaggeration—I have three kids, I've seen some pretty cataclysmic temper tantrums. And in the grand scheme of things, I've read worse cliffhangers, too. (The Cliffhanger-Cliffhanger double whammy from the end of Dreamfever will probably forever been the mothercluckingest of them all. The cliffhanger against which all future cliffhangers are measured and found lacking). But, I digress. And either way, it really was a "wicked" (Heh, see what I did there?) place to end things for Cate. Especially since it was such a slow starter. I felt like I'd only just got invested fully in her as a character, then poof! Finito.

Leave 'em wanting more? Maybe that works, I don't know. What I do know is instead of rushing off to Amazon to buy book two, I sort of went, "Harumph! Stoopid cliffhangers! *grumble, grumble, grumble*" and slunk off with a superior, disinterested look on my face that only one of my two cats could outdo.

Sooooo.... does that mean I'll be reading book two or not? *Sigh* Yes. Yes I probably will. Okay, so you got me, the cliffhanger ploy worked, I admit it. Happy? I was just trying to convince myself it didn't so I wouldn't look so pathetically and tragically weak, okay? Doesn't mean I have to like it, though! And I did really like the love interest she ended up with and I do really need to see her turn those Brotherhood muppets into toads or something, so yes. Star Cursed... here I come.

4 Stars ★★★★


  1. I love reading your reviews. I don't always comment but I had to comment on this one because you had me giggling and laughing out loud! :) I have this book sitting on my shelf waiting for me. I really want to read it after reading your review, even if it does have a "doozy" of a cliffhanger ending. I love "quiet and sneaky little stealth ninja books" and while I was initially drawn to this book for its cover, and then blurb, your review has me chomping at the bit! :) Thanks for a fantastic review!

    1. LOL, Thanks very much! And it is an absolutely gorgeous cover, you're quite right:)



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