Title: Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Summary: 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.
Let me just start this off by saying that, yes, I know, I’m reading this a bit late. Sorry, whatever, it’s not like the book is going to be any different two years later.
Born Wicked was what I would consider a light read. It was a quick and easy book, the plotline was pretty predictable, all of the heroine’s challenges were not really that big of a deal, and all of the feels it gave me were light, fluttery ones. It wasn’t really a deep or heavy read that had me up and thinking about it into the ungodly hours of the night. It actually kind of reminded me of a watered down version of A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray.
This book is set in an alternate 1890’s (I think it’s somewhere around there) where this cult called The Brotherhood is running around, persecuting witches, or at least anyone they think is a witch or just find inconvenient and want to get shipped off to a certain death. Cate and her two sisters are witches, of course, and hiding it from everyone. Women are completely inferior in this book, they are being forced into churches and taught that they are simply meant to please their husbands and take care of children. It’s disgusting.
Cate was the main heroine of our story, and unfortunately I had several problems with her. She is one of those girls that is just completely self sacrificing, to the point where she makes herself miserable. I can’t help but just find that unrealistic. As a teenage girl, I am selfish and mean and make bad decisions, and I’m not perfect, but that’s how people are. She just didn’t know how to cope with her mother’s death and all the responsibility put on her shoulders, so she became a self sacrificing, stifling, fun sucking, paranoid mother figure. And I actually liked that her sisters kind of resented her for it. I like that instead of just gently reminding her to stop being so good and to think about herself for once, they called her names and hated her constantly for being so overprotective. I feel like the author maybe knew that she was making Cate a bit too unrealistic, so she attempted to add some depth by giving her stubbornness and a temper. Which just exploded at random times and she acted very cruelly towards various people. Her temper and stress made sense, but her actions almost clashed with the rest of her personality.
Finn and Paul were the two love interests in this story. Not that there was much of Paul. I’m pretty sure he was just thrown in so that at one point, Finn would get jealous and they are forced to admit that they like kissing each other. Seriously, I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason Paul ever existed. So it wasn’t really a love triangle going on, there was no doubt that she was going to pick Finn over Paul, but it was still very insta-love. I mean, it wasn’t necessarily a love at first sight scenario, but they fell madly in love with each other in not much time at all. The romance was very heavy in this book, more focused on than the magic aspect, that’s for sure. I can be okay with lots of romance, as long as it doesn’t take away from the storyline, which it kind of did. I can understand that Cate was lonely and stressed and probably wanted someone to care about her, and their romance was sweet and gave me the tummy flutters, I just felt like the focus should have been divided more evenly between the romance and the actual plot. I wanted more witchy stuff.
The prophecy wasn’t very original, I basically knew everything it was going to say the second they mentioned there was a prophecy. So I’m not really that intrigued by the prophecy itself, but I did like that at the end of this first book, we still didn’t necessarily know who the most powerful sister is. I would really liked it (this might be a slight spoiler) if Maura ended up being the most powerful sister and was using her powers for evil and destruction, so Cate had to kill her to save everyone. Or something along those lines. It sounds depressing but if written well, it could maybe be very sister love-centric. Also, there wasn’t really much of a mystery going on in this book, every time something happened, Cate basically wondered about it then sat around until the answer was handed to her. I feel like the plotline didn’t really move anywhere and definitely wasn’t very engaging.
One of the main things I liked about this book was the time era. I’m a sucker for this time era, I love the dresses, the prim proper everything, the different social classes, it’s all interesting to me. I liked that it had a few small underlying tones of support for homosexuals, especially in this time era. I didn’t like the evil Brotherhood and their teachings, but I liked the way that so many women were rebelling against it. WOMAN POWER! Probably my favorite thing was that Finn, the swoony romantic love interest was just a big nerd. He spent all of his free time reading and studying and I liked that he wasn’t some big brawny bad boy with a love of all things dark and mysterious. Smart is the new sexy.