Born Wicked Book Review

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.

-Amazon Book Description

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Okay so I tried to update, but I don’t know why it takes me so long. I have all these notes and it’s not even hard. So I apologize. For the delay? I don’t even know what I’m saying any more. Let’s just get on to the review.

I really liked this book. When I first started it I questioned why I was reading it. Wasn’t it just going to be another pathetic paranormal romance? Filled with overused tropes and lacking in plot?

Oh was I wrong. This is the story of three young witches who are trying to keep their secret hidden in a world where having magical powers would get them killed by the Brotherhood, a religious sect that controls the area. To add a little more crazy into Cate’s (the eldest sister, our main character, and narrator) life, she only has a few months left before she must choose who she is going to marry, or if she’d rather become the equivalent of a nun in the Sisterhood. Making her choice complex is her childhood sweetheart returned home and Finn, her gardener and fellow suspect in the eyes of the Brotherhood.

From that summary, yeah it may sound a little typical. But it’s so well executed that old becomes new and I was too caught up in the story to really think, ugg love triangle? Actually, while we’re on the subject, I was happy to see that the love triangle isn’t exactly what you expect. Initially, I was all for the childhood sweetheart, but as the story progressed (and as Cate got to know him better) I became more intrigued with Finn. It isn’t actually a conflict of loving both of them; she knows who she likes more.  Her decision is between a life of a love and a life of safety. As the leader of the house, she also has to ensure that her sister will be okay, so you can start to see why it isn’t easy for her to drop everything and follow her heart.

From the details in the setting, I want to say that this story takes place in New England America, and I’d like to say it’s around the turn of the century, but it’s hard to be sure. Mostly because the signs are subtle, and because the author has picked and chosen aspects of certain times that she likes best. There’s Salem Witch Trial-esque happens, and but chaperones seem to be required, but technology is slack and the fashions seems a little outdated. But maybe that’s the Brotherhood’s doing?

Regardless, I kind of loved that you can’t place it exactly because then the author is competing with any preconceived notions. She has the freedom to make rules as she likes, and I guess that’s in what made this such a fun read. Sometimes, especially when books are set in the past, I get hot and bothered over historical inaccuracies; if they’re using folklore or legends, I don’t like it when they get the stories wrong.But here, Spotswood set her own standards for what was acceptable or not in this society and it makes the tale believable. Her characters aren’t stuck speaking in a weird mush of old and modern, which was great.

The fantastical elements also blend well. I’m not a huge fan of characters discovering their powers, and I kind of liked the way the sisters were aware of what they could do and how the younger ones were frustrated by not being able to learn more. One thing that was handled nicely was the use of magic, because it seems like hey if you have magical powers, you really shouldn’t have any problems. Because you can just magic them all away.

But magic was logical here and when I thought, why don’t they just use their powers now, they did. And when they shouldn’t have, they didn’t. Lovely.

There’s a lot of mystery here due to the Brotherhood, the side characters, and lore of the book. Background is slowly revealed (with good pacing) and I felt like this tale has solid roots, you know? Like, the author thought about this a bit before writing it down.

I really enjoyed Cate as a character. She was intelligent, very family oriented, and focused. I liked her story; I liked this book. I even liked the cover a lot.  I am actually pretty excited for the next one in the series and I hope that the author can keep this up. Invest a few days in this one, guys. So worth it.

Ri’s Rating:


0. Couldn’t get past chapter one for fear of wanting to kill myself. Book induced suicide…

1: Yuck. Ew. Below Average. Probably didn’t even read the middle and skipped to the end.

2. Ok. Would’ve been better if I’d written the ending and everything else.

3. Not bad at all. Very enjoyable. Quite nice. Recommendable.

4. My kind of book. Near ideal, but something was a little off (annoying names, bad ending, that sort of thing).

5. WOW. Makes me wonder why people watch T.V when this is out there. Really liked it. Don’t expect to see this often.

6 and above. What I want my book to be.

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