Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)

 
4.7
 
4.3 (6)
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Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
February 07, 2012
ISBN
0399257454
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"Blessed with a gift..."cursed" with a secret."

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.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

A Lovely Debut
Overall rating 
 
4.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood holds a very intriguing premise that will simply captivate readers. While it didn’t live up to all my hopes for it, I still really enjoyed the story and found a cast of characters who were simply wonderful.

The plot was really intriguing. It was very different from other witch stories out there, and it was a ton of fun to read. I loved trying to figure out what was going to happen next, as Jessica Spotswood threw quite a few twists. My biggest criticism was that so many things seemed almost too convenient for the characters.

The characters were just awesome! I really liked Cate – she was such an interesting character. Finn was so adorable, and I just loved his character. Tess was another character who I just loved. I really am hoping to see a lot more of all the characters in book 2, particularly Finn and Tess!

The world was really fascinating – the whole alternate history was really cool. I loved the how intricate the world was and how cool the Brotherhood and what they had set up was.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood was a fascinating book. Historical fantasy is by far my favorite genre to read, so when I find one I get super excited. It lived up to a lot of my expectations, but I still was hoping for a bit more. I am very curious to see where book 2 will go, and how the story will just take off.
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6 reviews

 
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(4)
3 stars
 
(0)
2 stars
 
(0)
1 star
 
(0)
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.3  (6)
Characters 
 
4.3  (6)
Writing Style 
 
4.3  (6)
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Amazing!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
My expectations were quite high going into Born Wicked due to the great book blurb, gorgeous cover and raving early reviews. Thankfully, it met and exceed those expectations! This is one debut you do not want to miss!

I was immediately drawn into Cate’s narrative. She seemed very pessimistic and had a negative outlook on just about everything. That could have been irritating, but she gives us reasons for her pessimism. She’s been in charge of her two younger sisters, since their mother died. All three of them are witches and must keep it hidden from their Father, the town, and especially the Brotherhood or face prosecution. Cate is suppose to announce a betrothal in a matter of months, even though she does fit into society’s mold of a proper young woman. Plus she discovers a prophecy concerning three sisters. If I had to shoulder all of Cate’s responsibilities and be under so many restrictions and expectations, I’d be a negative Nancy, too!

This books is full of magic, mystery, and romance. Women’s oppression is also a major theme throughout, and I think the author did an amazing job linking it to the magical and religious aspects of the book. There’s many twists and turns, and ups and downs. It kept me engaged from start to finish, and the events leading up to the finish left me in awe. I’m not sure what else to say without spoiling anything. If you’re looking for a new twist on witches, and something a little different in the YA genre (like no love triangle!), I urge you to go out and get this one!
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Born Wicked
Overall rating 
 
3.7
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
3.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Jessica Spotswood’s Born Wicked, for me, ran very closely to A Great and Terrible Beauty, but also reminded me of The Handmaid’s Tale. Yet while I think Born Wicked is similar to both of those books, I do think it’s also better.

In the early stages of Born Wicked, I wasn’t completely hooked, as there was a lot of focus given to the Brotherhood, which, in this dystopian nineteenth century, was the equivalent to the medieval Papacy—church and government combined in one. Said Brotherhood also had some lovely ideas about womenkind.

Okay, so in no circumstance do I agree with anything the Brotherhood preaches. Period. If you find me telling someone that a woman’s main duty is to pop out babies and cook dinner for her husband, something is seriously wrong with the world. However, neither do I think that all religion is bad and can just be lumped together in the way Spotswood did here. I find that type of generalization to be naïve and oversimplified.

I had a similar reaction to certain YA dystopian novels that try to claim that science is bad. All science. Like there’s only one kind.

Anyway, anyway. I feel like Born Wicked’s plot dealt with a lot of preliminaries for the rest of the series, introducing the concept of witchery, the dystopian setting, etc. I think that worked. As a reader, I definitely needed a lot of detail to get to know what was going on, how things worked. And the world-building was pretty interesting, too. I loved the bits about the development of witches, then the very Handmaid’s Tale-esque takeover of religious fanatics. Very cool.

I also liked Cate Cahill as a protagonist. She wasn’t superly gifted—of her sisters she’s the least academically or mentally inclined. She wasn’t pretty—and not in the “woe is me, I’m hideous, but wait! this hot guy thinks I’m pretty so I must be gorgeous all of a sudden” way. She was very average, except for the doom-n-gloom prophecy that has something to do with her and her sisters.

And I loved the relationship between Cate and her sisters, Maura and Tess. Like Cate, I’m the oldest of two sisters and I thought the interactions (and arguments) between them were all really realistic and interesting. The complexity was perfect.
Worst thing about Born Wicked was the romance. I didn’t like the romance aspect at all. And for once it wasn’t the love triangle that bothered me.

I liked Cate, and I thought Finn was charming and a perfect match for Cate. But they went from zero to “let’s get married” in less than a week. Yes, Cate is on a time crunch, and yes, I’m sure those two (so many, guys, I need to use two fingers to count them!) kisses they shared were very awesome. But no, I do not buy undying love after seven days. Nope, sorry.
The very worst part of the romance, for me, was after Cate and Finn had already sworn their devotion, and then Cate was all

“I want to know everything about you, Finn!” What the heck. How do you know you love somebody if you know nothing about them? Ugh. I seriously almost hit the roof during that scene.

Too bad, though, because like I said, they were a perfect couple.

This is a longer review, but this book was super good and I want to talk about it some more, since I picked out some really big negative issues. Uh, plot. Like I said, it’s pretty much A Great and Terrible Beauty, only awesomer. The last couple of scenes were really good, the resolution was perfectly depressing, and I really need to read the sequel like now.

Verdict: With it’s completely unique alternate history setting and magicky elements, Born Wicked is an amazingly creative read. The Cahill sisters are dynamic, rounded characters, and the situations they run into are engrossing. Definitely a really good book and I wish I’d read it sooner!
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Captivating characters, Great world, some parts slow
Overall rating 
 
4.3
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
It’s 1896 in a world reminiscent of Salem, a world where witches are hunted, imprisoned, enslaved—or they just disappear. And right in the middle of it all—the Cahill sisters, Cate, Maura, and Tess.

The fate of the world rests on these three Witches and one clandestine prophecy.

This is the first paranormal romance I’ve read that is set in the past, and at first, I didn’t know if I would enjoy it or not. The first few chapters were very slow, and while it was interesting to see how life was during this time (the petticoats, tea time, misogynistic attitudes toward women), I didn’t know if it was going to keep me interested enough to finish; however, once I passed the first four chapters, I was hooked. The mystery reeled me in, and I rushed through because I absolutely had to see how it was going to end.

I loved the idea that there is a trio of sister witches. I mean, I grew up with 2 sisters, who, like me, wished they had magical powers. I won’t give anything away, either, but I found that the sister’s personalities echoed our own. Cate, like Amy, is the bossy one—sorry Amy. Maura, like me, is the troublesome one. And Tess, like Britt, is the know-it-all. This made their relationships seems very real to me.

I really enjoyed getting to know Cate, the oldest of the three sisters and the pov from which the book is written. As her mother was dying, she pleaded to Cate to watch over her sisters, to protect them. As a result, Cate had to push back her desire to just be a teenager and become the woman of the house. All is well until Cate turns 17, when she has to announce who she will marry or join the Sisterhood convent. With this date looming very near in the future, Cate starts to panic not only about which to choose, but how to keep her sisters safe. This is the part of Cate I loved—seeing her struggle made me connect with her, and I found myself wishing I was a witch in her world so I could help!

But, of course, my favorite part was the boys. There are two again, and I adore me a good love triangle! If there are two hot guys in a book, I break out into my happy dance.

First, there’s Paul—the childhood friend turned gentlemen who comes home from New London to court Cate. He’s charming, rugged, and rich. Cate has adored Paul since she was a child, and she knows that he would be the perfect man for her to marry. Only, she struggles to choose because there is another man who has also caught her attention.

Finn. Oh, Finn, I absolutely love him. He’s the gardener (who knows nothing about gardening) and he and his mother own the bookshop in town (which is the subject of scrutiny from the Brotherhood—the religious sect hunting witches). Cate feels connected to Finn on a deep level, and you will love to see how the romance unfolds!

I loved the romance and the mystery in Born Wicked. There are many twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, and the prophecy is a doozy! I keep going over and over again in my mind how I think the prophecy will play out—especially after the cliffhanger ending! In fact, I’m troubled (more than troubled, let’s say outright in turmoil) that I have to wait a full year for book 2 to come out!

With the history of The Crucible, the magic of Harry Potter, and the love story of The Mortal Instruments, this is a must read for fans of paranormal romance!!!! And it’s so original because there aren’t that many books out there that focus completely on witches!

So—go buy this book, and let me know what you think!!!!! (I think you’ll daydream about Finn, too!)

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Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
(Updated: September 29, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
-
HS
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Born Wicked (A Room with Books review)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I fully expected not to like Born Wicked. In fact, I wasn’t even going to read it until I started seeing awesome reviews for it pop up all over the place. Now, I’m not normally so judgmental about a book. I’m usually pretty easily swayed, actually, but historical fiction is not usually my thing. It’s one of the two genres I kind of avoid like the plague.
Boy am I glad, I gave this one a try.

I love that it actually takes place in an alternate history where the Brotherhood is in charge. I love world-building, so I still got a taste of that which was nice.

I rather liked Cate, although she did get on my nerves sometimes. I know she had a lot of responsibility hanging over her head, but her indecisiveness kind of drove me nuts at times. Paul was…ugh. I did not like Paul. He could be nice sometimes, but overall he was full of himself and so, so annoying.
Then, there was Finn. Oh, Finn. I don’t usually fall easily for YA guys, but I am definitely head over heels for him. He has freckles, glasses, and unruly hair. All things I love. Plus, you know, he loves books. Seriously, read this for Finn if nothing else.

I loved the flow of the story too. I never really felt like I was in the dark, but new revelations kept popping up at the perfect time. Every time I learned something new it completely sucked me back into the story.

The Nutshell: I absolutely loved Born Wicked. If you’re afraid of historical fic, please don’t write this one off. The alternate history provides enough world-building that you won’t be bored (as I usually am). I’m really not sure what more I can say besides this is definitely worth the read. And Finn. You should definitely read it for Finn.
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Amazing story about witches, conspiracies, and how far you’d go to protect the family you love
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Maybe because it’s been awhile since I read about witches or maybe it was because Jessica focused on a time period where witchcraft was still misunderstood, but I really enjoyed this book. Jessica did a great job creating this world where witches live in secret and the community is ruled by a bunch of religiously cynical men. I loved that I hated them so much.

Now I’m one of those girls who hates feeling inferior to men, female rights and all that, so to be thrown into this world where women are deemed to have evil, sinful ways and must be taught to behave and follow their husbands, be lesser than men, that definitely fueled the fire in me and kept me going through this. I wanted to see how Cate and her sisters would bring about a change to all this and they truly are a force to be reckoned with after all is said and done.

There were definitely some twists to this story, a few that were pretty predictable, but a couple that I didn’t see coming at all. Cate is an amazing, albiet uptight, big sister. She cares deeply for her sisters and would do anything to ensure their safety. Her sacrifices for them and the responsibility she had to bear after the death of her mother really made me feel for her. I liked that Jessica didn’t keep us in suspense for too long and she kept the magic alive throughout the story instead of only giving us bits and pieces here and there.

This was really more about Jessica and her sisters, the family secret, and their destiny so there wasn’t too much in the way of love. Since it was a more proper time there weren’t too many lusty scenes, but they’re in there. Still, I think the bigger focus is on the Cahill sisters and their destiny. The ending pretty much sucks, not in a bad way, in a way that makes me want to read the second one right now to know what happens next! Damn cliffhangers!
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