Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
The Skinny: In a world that is controlled by the Brotherhood and witches are commonly persecuted, Cate and her sisters must hide their abilities from everyone. Cate is faced with a choice: choose a husband or enter the Sisterhood. But after promising her dying mother she would watch over her younger sisters and keep them safe, either choice will cause her to break her promise. But that’s not all that’s threatening the safety of her sisters. Cate finds a hidden diary belonging to her mother and discovers within its pages that she and her sisters may be part of a prophecy that could potentially destroy their family. Desperate to save her sisters from ruin, Cate attempts to join society, attending teas and parties and being on her best behavior. But under the Brotherhood’s thumb, it may not be enough to save her sisters and her self.
BFF?: Yes! Yes, yes, yes! Cate was sort of a stick in the mud at times, but she was my kind of stick in the mud. I loved that she wasn’t anything special, that she wasn’t the smartest of her sisters or the most talented. It was nice to see a character who was just ordinary (as much as a witch can be ordinary). Out of all the characters I’ve met, I felt a certain bond with Cate. I understood how she felt responsible for her sisters and their well-being, as well as the hurt she felt when they didn’t need her. I also totally related to her wanting to be an example while bursting at the seems to be her own person. It’s HARD being the oldest, yo! I also loved Cate’s blatant objection to the “either you marry or become a nun” rule instated by the Brotherhood. If we were BFFs we would TOTALLY bond over this!
Readability: Cate’s narration was pretty clean and honest; not an overabundance of flowery prose here! I loved getting to see Cate’s inner dramas, her self-arguments and torments. The writing flowed well and kept you wanting to know what happened, but not in a “I MUST KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT” kind of way.
Crush Level: 8
I’m going to skip over Paul for the moment and move on to Finn. At first, I wasn’t 100% crazy about Finn. I think maybe because he was a little nerdy and has glasses (said as I push my own glasses back up my nose). But he QUICKLY grew on me. Because despite his outward nerd qualities, he really ISN’T nerdy. Like not at all. He’s fun and has a great personality. He’s kind of quirky in a charming way. He loves books and is pretty smart too. But best of all? I mean, BEST OF ALL?!?! Finn will give you SCORCHING kisses in the closet.
I love magic in books, especially when it’s forbidden. The Cahill sisters’ magic isn’t this natural “I know how to do all the magic” skill they possess; they have to learn it, nurture it… some things come naturally while others have to be taught and learned. They should totally enroll in Hogwart’s!
There’s really nothing scarier to me than a “religious” order of men who dictate the actions of society and are especially degrading of women (except maybe zombies). I felt all my feminist mojo swirling around while reading Born Wicked, wanting to shake my fist at the whole establishment.
Mostly I love sister relationships in books, especially when they sisters are best friends. Not so in this book! While Tess, the youngest, is still a little too young to have any sort of quarrel with her older sisters, Cate and Maura (the middle sister) are almost on the verge of hating each other. Love the dynamic of them and what they’re problems stem from.
Commencement Speech: I am, and have always been, a big fan of historical fiction. I love getting to see a different time period and learning more about it through the actions of characters. But when you take historical fiction and mix it with a bit of fantasy and add an alternate history to it? GOLD! Born Wicked was a great mix of several elements that I adore: witches, religion, feminism, anti-feminism… But nothing felt preachy. It all felt perfectly woven together and let me make my own assumptions and conclusions about how I felt. Born Wicked was also filled with things that aren’t normally prevalent in historical fiction, such as lesbianism, and while at first it sort of bothered me, I found that I loved how forward it made this world. There were mixes of races and were seen as equals, which I found kind of awesome and astounding.
Overall, I’m excited about this series and was torn up at the end… Definitely a fantastic read and looking forward to the next chapter!
Yearbook Quote: “The universe has yet to take my wishes under consideration.”
Superlatives – Most likely to make you look twice at the nerdy guy in your English class
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