Book Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Published February 7th, 2012
Putnam Juvinile
330 pages (Hardcover)
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. (From Goodreads)
This review does contain one kind of major spoiler.  Read at your own risk.  Sorry, but it was something I really wanted to discuss.

Very few books have left me in such a mess.  Born Wicked actually left me curled up in a ball on my couch whimpering while tears rolled down my face.  Literally.  And I'm generally not a fan of books about witches.

It starts off feeling very much like Little Women, except with witches.  This was likely, in part, due to the setting of the story and that it is about a group of sisters, but also Cate and Paul.  They reminded me a lot of Jo and Laurie, one of my favourite literary duos ever.  While I will never be okay with Jo and Laurie not ending up together, I am okay with Cate and Paul...

Because I love Finn.  He isn't your typical male love interest.  He wears glasses.  He has freckles.  Cate may describe him as handsome, but he is never described as flawless.  Too many love interests in YA books are seen as unbearably gorgeous (Jace.  Dimitri.  Ash.  Should I continue?), which is crazy unrealistic.  And he's everything a guy should be.  Smart and well read.  Brave.  Self-sacrificing.  I am kind of in love with him myself.

The ending was fantastic.  Just when all is looking good *BAM*, shit hits the fan.  If you are anything like me (aka hopeless romantic), be prepared for some wild emotions.

But beyond all this, there is an important messages around the power and role of women.  Society has come a long way in a short period of time.  Going to school for nursing, I've already gotten my fair share of depreciating jokes from guys that, if we had been in the same math and science classes, I probably would have out-scored and embarrassed (not to mention, I likely know more hockey stats).  Cate is such a strong and admirable female protagonist, trying to balance looking out for her sisters with looking towards her future.  If I were an ounce as brave as she is...

Sorry  for the long review.  I loved this book.  I couldn't put it down, yet it didn't fly by, and the pace was fantastic.  I definitely recommend Born Wicked.  February 2013, and the release of the sequel, Star Cursed, cannot come fast enough.

Much love, Samantha

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