Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles Series #1)

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles Series #1)

by Jessica Spotswood


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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780399257452
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 02/07/2012
Series: Cahill Witch Chronicles Series , #1
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile: HL650L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jessica Spotswood ( lives in Washington, DC, with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She's never happier than when she's immersed in a good story, and swoony kissing scenes are her favorite.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“…the fate of the Cahill sisters inspires genuine dread by the time the cliffhanger ending arrives.”

Andrea Cremer

"A tale so captivating you don't want it to end.

Customer Reviews

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Born Wicked: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book One 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 119 reviews.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
I was so looking forward to reading Born Wicked from the moment I heard about it and it did not disappoint. The more I think about the story, the more I like it. The story opens right away with magic, no holding back here. And anyone that reads my reviews know how I love my characters and the characters drive this story. The addition of the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood adds some scare and dread factor for the girls. There are a few mysteries to the story that were easy to guess and it was logical for things to go in that direction, I just wish that it would have been more surprising in those aspects. Even with that I still loved the storyline and the idea behind it all. I was left wondering where the story would go from the ending and how it will affect each of the sisters and the other characters that were featured more prominently. Yes, I will absolutely, definitely be reading the next book in the series. Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Was given this book as a gift, as it is not one I would have typically chosen myself - and I'm so glad I read it! Excellent storyline and expertly written. I grew to love the characters and I never wanted to put this book down. This is book 1 of a trilogy and I'm bummed I have to wait to start the next book. Never heard of this author before but she sure has my attention now.
thereaderbee More than 1 year ago
I decided to read Born Wicked at the insistence of a fellow blogger. I am SO glad I let her talk me into reading the book. I love novels about witches, and this one was just fantastic. The story centers around a young girl named Cate, and her two sisters, who are witches. Witches are absolutely forbidden by the Brotherhood. When caught, most are either put to death, sentenced to a prison ship, or put into an institution. Because of this, Cate must keep herself and her sister’s safe at all cost, and from everyone. Poor Cate; she had so many responsibilities and at such a young age. I definitely sympathized with the choices that she was forced to make, and with such heavy burdens heaped on her shoulders. But I found her to be a very strong character, and I really enjoyed reading about her. I found the sisters, Maura and Tess to be quite likeable as well, although Maura not quite as much as Tess. Tess was awesome! Cate has two love interests in the story; Paul and Finn. I adore the relationship between Finn and Cate. Finn was such a very interesting character; I thought that he and Cate made such a great pair. I loved that he was willing to do whatever he had to do to keep Cate safe. I love Finn! Paul on the other hand, seemed a bit sneaky to me. I know he had to be up to something, but I couldn’t put my finger on what. The Brotherhood sounds like an absolutely horrible association. Just reading about them gave me the creeps, and I held my breath hoping that they wouldn’t catch on to the girl’s secrets. The Sisterhood, which is an affiliation with the Brotherhood, didn’t sound much better either. The storyline for the book was highly addictive, and the pacing was absolutely perfect. My attention was held throughout the book, and I finished most of it in a few hours time. I absolutely loved the historical setting for the story. The world building was wonderful, I could clearly imagine myself having tea parties and hanging out in Cate’s special garden. Overall, this book is definitely worth the read. I am SO glad that my awesome blogger friend, Kathy, insisted that I read the book as soon as possible. I am officially hooked on this series, and cannot wait to get my hands on the next book. Happy Reading!
Nicollee More than 1 year ago
AMAZING! soomething unexpectecd. it was the first time that i read a book where the story line was in the olden days. i love the whoe concept of the book. i cant wait to read whats next!!!!! BUY IT(:
Froze8_K8 More than 1 year ago
I have spent so much time thinking about what to say about this book. I bought Born Wicked as part of the Breathless Reads Tour 2011 although it is Historical Fiction and deals with witches which are not my first choice for my reads. However while reading Born Wicked I became immersed in the story, how was Cate to escape her fate in a world and time where women had no rights? Would true love win out or would society be stronger?  How far have we come as a society but yet how many things are still wrong just displayed differently. Watching Cate try to fit into society to protect her sisters is something I see still happen today. Those who don't fit in have a hard time in society. Though we may not have calling hours and fancy dresses we as girls are still expected to socialize and dress with the current fashion. The fact that this book was able to get me thinking is to the author's credit.  Now not only did I find this book good for the feminist debate it started in my mind, but Jessica also nailed the relationships of the sisters. I am the oldest sister with a younger sister (four years my junior), I see my own relationship with my sister reflected in the relationship between Cate and Maura. Then we have the beautiful romantic relationships, and as I do not want any major spoilers I will just say that Jessica creates the perfect kisses leaving this girl swooning. <3 I gave this beautiful novel a 4/5. If you love historical fiction, strong female characters, good kissing scenes, and witches this is a book for you. :)
sassypickle More than 1 year ago
What an amazing plot with great characters and smooth writing! Never a dull moment, full of life, love, magic, sadness and disappointment. Beautiful setting and such an interesting story! You will not want to put this book down once you get to know the witch sisters. I can't wait to find out what happens next!
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book anticipating it. I was so excited to read something fresh and new. It gave me exactly what I wanted .The feel of history flowing through my fingers as I turned each page. What I loved most about this book is the plot line. I love historical books. Falling into the shoes of Cate and seeing everything she is, is wonderful. I loved the description of the town, the minor characters and the history that is going on at the moment. The plot pacing is perfect as the reader follows along with the sisters, discovering dark secrets hidden from them. I really adored the love interest. It was sweet and pure. With this love, the reader gets to see it form right before your eyes. I love watching two people fall in love. And with the obstacles facing both of them it just makes me want to root them on! Now, the ending! UGH!!! Such a good and shocking ending. I mean wow! I did not see that coming since she had already made up her mind, but WOW! Yeah, my mouth dropped open on that tidbit. Overall, Born Wicked is an entertaining, magical, surprising novel. Born Wicked tantalize it's readers with well written dialogue. A worthy novel from start to finish, Born Wicked is impressive.
ShaEliPar on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Born Wicked was a novel that I was sure I was going to love since it has a historical setting, witches, and romance. While all three of those things are done extremely well, I felt the novel's slow pace and lack of intensity really hurt the story.One of my biggest issues with the story begins with the protagonist Cate. Although I liked Cate, I didn't love her. She's actually quite judgmental and overbearing. She thinks very little of the other girls in town, despite the fact that she doesn't really know them and never once in the entire novel does she allow her sisters (Maura & Tess) to make decisions for themselves. I mean its very clear how much Cate loves her sisters, but at what cost? I felt a lot of the conflict in the novel could have been completely avoided if Cate had just trusted her sisters enough with what she learns about their mother.Though I may not have loved Cate, I did love every minute she spent with Finn. He's smart, kind, values his family and isn't afraid to protect the people he loves. Their connection is undeniable and they're absolutely perfect for each other. Finn helps Cate be more self confident and she helps him relax. I love how their courtship was right for the time period too, its completely enthralling. It was their chemistry and relationship that keep me turning pages even when I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to finish the book.I really enjoyed the historical setting as well, though its set against an alternative timeline where the Brotherhood persecuted all the witches and now very few remain in existence. Any witch that is discovered is immediately arrested and sent off to an asylum. Author Jessica Spotswood really makes the town and citizens feel isolated from the rest of the country adding to the atmospheric and historical quality of the story. She also makes the magic in the story flow beautifully, its intoxicating, but I wish we could have seen more of it.I found the novel's pacing incredibly slow, painfully so and I'm not usually the type of reader that has problems with things like that. Part of the pacing problem was that I never felt like the sisters were in any real danger. You hear the past stories about the witches that were arrested, imprisoned or murdered, but you rarely see it. When you do, it seems more like something that's just happening than any real threat to Cate or her sisters. I found that very disappointing.The ending of the novel left me a bit confused since a lot of things happen very quickly and I wanted more of a resolution as to why Cate choice to do what she did. Lets just say I wasn't happy with her choice. I was also unhappy with the lack of resolve involving Maura and Tess, as some big things happen to them right before the novel closes. While I realize its the first book in a planned series and we aren't going to get all the answers, I guess I felt there was just to much set up and not enough revealed. The biggest being; who's out to help the witches and who's out to harm them.Overall I just wanted a lot more from Born Wicked. Perhaps my biggest disappointments lie in the fact that I didn't like Cate as much as I wanted and the slow pacing of the plot. While it didn't quite work for me, I still think a lot of readers will enjoy the mix of magic, romance and sisterhood.
breakingdownslowly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Historical fantasy at it's best.I loved Cate and her sisters. Cate was wonderful and truly confused. I loved her constant conflict between doing what was right and what she wanted. The dynamic between her and her sisters and their father was fascinating to watch.I also loved the conflict between Cate, Finn, and Cate's neighbor who's name escapes me and I can't look up because I don't have my copy anymore. Especially Cate and Finn, I loved those two together. Finn captured my heart from the very beginning and I just wanted to smoosh his face into Cate's so they could kiss all the time. He's just too awesome for words, in my book. But I also liked Cate's neighbor. I didn't want him to be sad or alone. He wasn't a bad guy...he just wasn't Finn.The writing was beautiful. I was totally wrapped up in the story and how Cate felt and what she was thinking. In a period when I was strapped on time and stressed, I read it relatively quickly. The story itself was absolutely wonderful. Never slowed or dragged and I always wanted to keep reading to see what would happen. There were lots of surprises and twists and it kept me constantly engaged. And the ending, oh the ending! What it did to my heart! It was a total shock for me and I was somewhat disappointed, but it made sense for Cate's character and in the end, that's all I can ask for.I just loved, loved, LOVED, this book. It was incredible and everything historical fantasy could be. This is definitely one to pick up and Jessica's definitely an author to watch!
Kwidhalm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book Born Wicked is obviously the first book in a series about the Cahill sisters. Cate seems to be the main focus of this book with only some minor information about her sisters Maura and Tess. All three sisters inherited the "witching gene" from their mother. This is a dangerous trait to have during this time because The Brothers police everyone and try to ferret out all witches and ship them off to either a insane asylum or a barge to do manual labor. Therefore, the girls have to be very careful about using their magic.I found this novel slow going at first as the author was building the story and developing the characters. It wasn't until about half way through that I found myself staying up a little later to read another chapter. The heroine of this novel made me want to shout a few times for her lack of good sense and her inability to make a decision. She was also rather "whiny" and bossy so it was hard to like her at first because I kept thinking.....what a twit. Then comes the typical romance with the choice between two very different guys and oh what will she do?It sounds like I am being rather harsh with this book but to clarify........I did enjoy it and I would definitely purchase the second book since the first one left us with a MAJOR cliff hanger.
iShanella on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A wickedly juicy debutJessica Spotswood¿s debut novel, Born Wicked, reads a bit like a cautionary tale of what happens when society allows itself to be ruled by fear. However, there is more to this story than fear, there is mystery and suspense, pretty dresses, bookish heroes and heroines and of course a splash of prophecies, oracles and witches. Something terrible happened in the 1700s when a group, called the Brotherhood, rose up and eliminated all the witches they could find; burning all the texts and temples and striking fear into the hearts of the people against any woman who might be eccentric or learned or independent. Over a hundred years later, Cate Cahill and her sisters, Maura and Tess, are born into a world where women are treated as inferiors and the Brotherhood¿s mission to eradicate witchcraft is still going strong. Cate fears for herself and her sisters all they are witches. As her seventeenth birthday approaches, Cate finds herself in a difficult situation having to chose between a loveless marriage, a life in the Sisterhood - the female arm of the Brotherhood - and true love. There were many things I loved about this novel, first, the history. I find that, in order to give the reader background knowledge, authors usually let the protagonist explain, in a dialogue, what happened. The things is, this works sometimes, but if overused, it causes the story to become monotonous. Born Wicked uses many different ways to inform the user of history - through dialogue, entries and Cate¿s thoughts. At the end of it all there was a lot of information related, but nothing seemed boring or repetitive. I enjoyed the pace of the story and the development of the characters - though I wish Tess had a little more page time; she was, by far, my favourite character. In the end, I figured out a few of the mysteries, however, the way the narrative revealed those twists was enough to keep me glued to the pages. I especially enjoyed the reveal about the sisters and the prophecy, it was not what I expected and I¿m excited to see where this will take the Cahills in the future books. There was one thing that I didn¿t enjoy - the romantic subplot. There was a love triangle, which was handled well - no pinning over who to choose as the choice was very clear from the beginning - however, I did not see the purpose for it. Hopefully the future books will reveal the purpose that each part of the love triangle plays. Born Wicked is set in one of my favourite time periods and Jessica Spotswood¿s description of the customs and dresses transports the reader away from the present and into the past. I always appreciate it when an author can take me away into the world they created. I¿m looking forward to reading more about Cate and her sisters.
jazzcat15 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First of all, I just want to say that I adore this cover! It's so gorgeous, but kind of freaky too. While I was reading this, my little brother caught a glimpse of it and mentioned how creepy it looked. Keep in mind that he's eight years old, so probably any cover with a beautiful girl on the cover would frighten his cooties-infested mind! Anyway, if you've read the book you'll know the significance of the roses in her hair and the garden-y feel to it. I also love the font of the title. So pretty! Onto the story! It took me a little while to really get into this book. It's not that it's slow, I just had a lot on my mind and it wasn't a story that immediately took my mind off of things. BUT, then it took off around chapter four or five and I was bewitched! (Pun intended.) It took me just under two days to read it and once I got in tuned with the story, I couldn't tear my eyes off of the page. I would be in class and miss instructions because I was hiding it just under my desk, reading all about Cate and her sisters. I really liked the fact that this book was both a story about romance and about family. It felt for me as though the love story came second to the other events, meaning that the witchcraft and the family drama was what really stood out for me. Jessica did a great job in keeping the history part of the story alive and real. Seeing as we had just finished studying about the witch hunts in Social Studies, it was especially fun for me to read this. I was able to compare everything I had learned in class with the fictional events in the story. (I sound like such a nerd!) I loved Cate's sisters, especially Tess. I felt as if I could relate to her so much, even though she wasn't the main protagonist. The fact that she was so mature for such a young age reminded me of myself when I was twelve. I really hope we get to see a lot more of her in the following two books! On the subject of characters I liked, I might as well say that I am 100% Team Finn! He was once again, a model guy in my mind. Sweet, handsome and totally unsuitable!? PERFECT!!! The ending of this book was so sad, and I felt so terrible for both Finn and Paul actually. I read the final line, shut the book and just sat in my chair, thinking about all that happened. I loved the way this book was written, the way that Cate's thoughts flowed into my own. I really felt like I was in the story, which is one of the reasons that I read so much. To escape our world and go into another. Thank you Jessica, for allowing me to do that with this book and to enter a world filled with mystery, love and of course, magic!
nlsobon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿d have to rate ¿Born Wicked¿ 3.8/5 stars. It isn¿t a bad book. In fact, I genuinely enjoyed it. However, while the story itself is interesting, and I did adore Cate, I felt as though the pacing moved far too slow at times.Cate and her two sisters are witches, a secret they must keep to themselves because if words gets out, they could be sent to Harwood Aslyum or worse. And Cate can¿t allow that to happen, she promised her mother before her death that she¿d take care of her sisters, that she¿d protect their secret. But as her Intention Ceremony nears closer, and she struggles with the idea of marriage ¿ whether it be to Paul or Finn ¿ or joining the Sisterhood, secrets begin to come to light. Secrets that Cate would have never thought to be true.I truly liked Cate. She¿s tough and more than willing to sacrifice her happiness for those that she loves. In a world where women are looked down upon, Cate¿s undoubtedly a strong heroine. And I honestly liked that about her.My main problem with ¿Born Wicked¿, as mentioned earlier, was the pacing. The story was over three hundred pages, but not much happened within those three hundred pages. I had to push myself to keep reading, which I¿m glad that I did, but I did find myself bored at parts.Overall, I did enjoy ¿Born Wicked¿ and I will be eagerly awaiting the second installment (more Finn, please!) because, even though it moved slow at times, I do feel as though Spotswood has crafted an interesting story here.
ahandfulofconfetti on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Born Wicked tells the story of an alternative nineteenth-century US where witches once ruled but were overthrown by the Brotherhood, who believe that witches are wicked and should be punished and eradicated. Cate Cahill is the eldest of three sisters, all of whom are witches. This makes them the focus of a prophecy which states that one of the three will be the most powerful witch in the world, who will either bring the witches back to power or drop them into another dark age.With a story and setting like that, I was hard-pressed to resist this book, and immediately suggested it as a purchase for my local library, so I could read it. I was expecting danger and magic and witchery and exciting happenings. But that's not exactly what this book provided. The truth is that this book focuses on Cate, who is determined to keep her sisters safe, per a promise she made her dying mother (who failed to prepare Cate for anything to do with the prophecy). Cate is a bit of a difficult character to like at first: she believes the Brotherhood that witchery is wicked, and that therefore she, too, is wicked. Her constant "but wicked girls don't deserve x" or "but I'm wicked, so deserve whatever I'm getting" mindset at the start of this story was maddening, and I wanted to reach through the pages and shake her. But she grew on me as the story progressed, particularly once she falls in love with Finn. I also absolutely loved her relationship with her sisters, particularly the youngest sister, Tess.Knowing that this book is the first in a planned trilogy, I wasn't expecting things to be fully resolved. But I was not expecting very little to actually happen. Cate and her sisters get a new governess, Elena, and Cate spends most of the book from that point on being distrustful of her, jealous of her sister Maura's friendship with her, and generally being disagreeable where Elena is concerned. These feelings are not entirely unwarranted, mind you, but when the majority of this book - which I'd thought would be dealing with magic and witches - is instead taken up with feelings of distrust and the back and forth of "can I trust her", it starts to get really tedious. There is also absolutely NO forward movement with the actual prophecy; we are just as in the dark about this at the end of the book as we were at the start.What saved this book for me - and accounts for much of this rating - is the romance between Cate and Finn. I found Finn to be utterly charming, and absolutely loved watching their relationship progress. I do want to mention that there is a second guy in this book, Paul, who is Cate's childhood friend (and the guy everyone thinks she'll marry), and there are some love-triangle-ish things happening, but it's pretty clear whom Cate has the deeper feelings for and which way she's going to go in that respect. That being said, the ending kind of broke my heart. I get why it happened; as I said, it's the first book in a trilogy and there's so much to do with the prophecy left to sort out, so it's too soon for happily-ever-afters. But I still wasn't quite expecting that particular ending, and am worried about how things are going to be resolved to my satisfaction (as if I'm the only one who matters, of course).This book is definitely not what I'd call "action-packed": there's a lot of going to teas, visiting bookshops, and weeding in gardens, but not so much in the way of magic. This had a very "historical fiction" feel to it with just little dabs of paranormal. But the romance, for me, was good enough to pull me through the book, and make me eager for the second installment. All in all, Born Wicked is a decent start to a new series, and I look forward to seeing what's going to happen next.
efoltz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fast read of young love and fun witch craft. Courting by young men in a heavily religious, male dominated society--3 sisters coming into adulthood with illegal witch craft skills. A free early reviewer copy.
BookAddictDiary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay, let me start this review with full disclosure: I really wasn't that interested in Born Wicked. In fact, I only read it because I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book, and thought: Why not? From the very first page I was very pleasantly surprised at this book: start, unique, well-written and honest characters in a truly compelling plot that's unlike just about everything else in the YA genre right now.Set in an alternative version of turn-of-century New England, Cate Cahill has always known what her future would be: marriage, or a life-long commitment to the celibate, religious Sisterhood. In a world controlled by the oppressive, religious Brotherhood, witches are hunted down and either sent to an asylum, a prison ship, or executed. Cate has been hiding her secret for years -that she and her two sisters, following the legacy of their deceased mother, are witches. Not only must Cate protect her sisters, but she uncovers an unexpected prophecy and learns secrets of the Sisterhood that will challenge the very fabric of the Brotherhood.The first thing that drew me into this story was the elegant writing style and unique alternative history that pulls from America's Puritan period and the Salem Witch Trials to create a lush history that's easy to get lost in. And to top it off, Cate is a down-to-earth, honest character that's well-constructed, realistic and easy to readers to relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed her feisty, rebellious spirit and drive to protect her sisters from anything that would threaten them. It was interesting to see how author Jessica Spotswood handled religion, magic and feminism here, especially since I felt like she did a nice job of juggling these themes without ramming them down the reader's throat. For example, when I first started the book I was a little concerned that Spotswood was going to paint religion in a negative light for oppressing people, especially women. But while the Brotherhood is obviously religiously-based, it was far removed from a recognizable religion (in fact, the Brotherhood felt more like a somewhat corrupt amalgamation of numerous religious) to not feel like some sort of attack on organized religion while still portraying feminist ideals without bordering on the super radical (I would note, however, that this book has virtually no appeal to male readers).It didn't take long for Spotswood to win me over with Born Wicked. I was riveted to each page up until the very end, and I can't wait to see what happens next in Cate's story. Unique and unexpected, Born Wicked is a lush piece of fiction that's truly a delight to read.
_Lily_ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was so excited to win this book, I had been waiting for ages for my copy to arrive, I finally got it today. Turns out a neighbor who was on vacation had it. I started reading it the second I got it and I instantly hooked! The characters are very dynamic I loved them all. My only "Issue" was the ending. The ending left me wanting more now I have to wait a year or so for the next one to come out. I can't wait!
dizzyweasel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cate is a witch. So are her sisters. Unfortunately, in this alternative history of the US, circa 1890, a oppressive patriarchal group called The Brotherhood has nearly stamped out witchcraft through horrible persecutions and trials. Women have no rights, no power. They are to be seen (sometimes), never heard, always meek, and married by the age of 17. New England is not a good place to be a clever woman.But Cate and her sisters are clever. They practice their witchcraft quietly and secretly at home, until their father forces a governess on them in order to help them enter proper society. Cate must protect herself and her sisters from the over-curious gaze of this Sister Elena (a woman sent by the Brotherhood's female counterpart in oppression, the Sisterhood), all the while negotiating the slippery landscape of love. When Cate is 17, only 6 months away, she must declare her intention to marry, or enter the Sisterhood. Torn between feelings for her childhood friend Paul, her family's gardener Finn, and her desire to remain with her sisters, Cate becomes embroiled in a deadly game of power: is she the girl spoken of in the Prophecy of the Daughters of Persephone (the now defunct matriarchal government of witches), the girl destined to bring women back to power, or bring about a second Terror of persecution?I enjoyed this book, but the narrative was too repetitive for the majority of this volume. Cate is thinking about Finn. Cate is worried about her sisters. Cate is chastening her sisters for use of magic. Cate is angry with her dead mother for not better protecting them. This goes on for over 150 pages before the narrative picks up. When the novel does gain pace, the novel is entertaining: secret revelations, unrequited love, unconventional femininity, betrayal, blackmail. I look forward to the second installment.I feel, however, like I've already read this book - The Prophecy of the Sisters (with a nearly identical plot) and A Great and Terrible Beauty have already tread this ground. But, if you're into Victorian witch romantic dramas, you'll enjoy this addition to the mix.
titania86 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Brotherhood, a patriarchal religious group, rule Victorian era America with an iron fist. In the previous rule, witches were in power and women were revered, educated, and powerful. The Brotherhood is the opposite in every way: women are forced to be uneducated and oppressed or they are sent to prison or mental institutions. Cate Cahill and her sisters are considered eccentric because they don't involve themselves in the society and don't bother to try to fit in. Cate's first priority is to hide the fact that she and her sisters are all witches from the Brotherhood and keep them from using their powers frivolously. Her plan has worked so far, but soon she must either declare her intention to marry someone, become part of the Sisterhood (the weaker, feminine counterpart to the Brotherhood), or allow the Brotherhood to choose a husband for her. She despises the Sisterhood and would loathe any old man that would be chosen for her to marry. The boy she has feelings for is below her station and inappropriate to marry. With any of her choices, the separation from her sisters is inevitable, which puts them in danger and goes against her deceased mother's wishes for her to protect them. Can she conform to her society's rules and protect her sisters? Can she find happiness despite the control the Brotherhood has over her life?Born Wicked is a wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy that weaves together themes of love, duty, religion, magic, and feminism. It took me a little while to get acclimated to the changes in history. I had a clear idea of the historical events and climate in the real world, so it blew my mind a little that the alternate history was so complete and hugely world changing. The Victorian era is even more oppressive and misogynistic than it was in real life, which is no small feat. Not only can women not pursue any sort of education beyond the home-making arts at any age, but if they do anything subversive or offend the wrong person, they can be imprisoned in a mental institution or sent to a prison labor camp indefinitely. It isn't uncommon to be condemned without so much as the smallest opportunity to prove one's innocence. Women are expected to act vapid and shallow and have no other ambition than to serve their husband, who in turn may treat them as an object. They can't hold jobs or positions of power and alternative lifestyles are also not tolerated. This is a frightening society that is based enough on real events that it's complete believable.On top of the well written setting and dystopia, I really connected with the characters. Cate and her sisters had their own interests and their own viewpoints about life. Cate is a strong character that puts the safety of her sisters above her own wants and needs. The pressure on her to choose a path that will inevitably end in both her separation from her family and her own unhappiness is astronomical, but she continues to soldier on. It's also nice to see a YA heroine think of someone else for a change instead of putting their own selfish needs in front of everyone and everything else. Her sisters had a few surprises up their sleeves, but I didn't like them as much as Cate because they didn't really appreciate the sacrifices she made for them and mostly treat her badly.I was very impressed with Jessica Spotswood's debut novel Born Wicked. Despite my own misgivings about its genre, the book greatly surprised me and proved to be attention grabbing and interesting. It bypassed all the typical YA tropes in favor of rich story telling and realistic characters. I am very sad I read this so early because I will have to wait even longer to find out what happens next.
Raquel_LuLe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was really excited when I learned that I won the book, I also liked how it come with invitations. At first i was skeptical because of the time period it was set on but once i started reading it i couldn't put it down. I was really shocked at the ending but relieved because there has to be a second book that would hopefully explain everything
hrose2931 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Born Wicked is set in an alternate America, New England, just not the one we are familiar with. Women are not schooled, they make social calls and above all else are watched for signs of being witches. Time was when women, The Daughters of Persephone, ruled the land and men were subservient to the women. But the men barricaded the doors of the temples with the women inside and burned the witches and their temples. Now, if you're accused of being a witch one of two things happens, you're sent to an asylum or you disappear.Cate Cahill, the oldest of three sisters, all witches promised her mother she would watch over her sisters after her mother died. She's having a hard time with it. They want to practice their magic outside where someone may see them. There father doesn't even know they are witches. But keeping her sisters under control are the least of her worries. The Brotherhood thinks all girls should declare their intentions to either marry or join the Sisterhood by a certain age, and that age is fast approaching for Cate. She always thought it would be easy, she'd marry her best friend Paul from next door. But he wants to move to the city and he doesn't make her heart pound like Finn, the gardner/ bookseller who never makes her feel ashamed for climbing trees and letting her hair down and not being proper.And then there's the whole Sisterhood and that troublesome letter. What's a girl to do? Poor Cate isn't left with a lot of options when a sister gets out of control. The ending was surprising and a let down to me. I can't wait for the next book and hope for a better ending for Cate!This is a well written book, told from Cate's point of view. We get to know her very well and at first I didn't like her. I thought she was too uptight, but then I found out her instincts were spot on. Her father is absent even when present. There's the requisite nosy neighbor and a cook/housekeeper who loves the girls no matter what. The girls are extremely close, but two are more alike than the third so it make for an interesting household. And the town isn't all it seems either. I thought it was interesting mix of witch hunt and pulling the wool over the establishment's eyes. It was very entertaining. I couldn't put it down once I started. And I cannot wait for the next book in the series!!
alaskabookworm on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Our story unfolds in an alternative American past. New England is an autonomous country unto itself that is controlled by the ominous and zealous Brotherhood. Three sisters living in this society ¿ the Cahill sisters ¿ have paranormal gifts they must try to hide from the community. To be recognized as witches by the Brotherhood would result in imprisonment or even death. However, due to occurrences in their community and their own missteps, the sisters¿ attempts not to draw unwarranted attention begin to backfire. Forbidden romance, family secrets, and the lure of their own power begins to upset the sisters¿ fragile homelife. Spotswood unfolds her story with wit and a brisk pace. And, I may be the only adult reader of YA that feels this way, but when I pick up paranormal YA fiction, I always look forward to an engaging romance. This is satisfyingly accomplished in Born Wicked. The attraction between Cate and Finn is fun and creative, and at times downright swoon-worthy. Overall, Born Wicked is pleasing escapist fiction. Spotswood created enough plot and enough character to keep me absorbed and looking forward to the next installment.
ladycato on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this ARC through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.This book proved to be a fast read with mostly well-drawn characters, though some of the world-building at the beginning left me rather confused. The story takes place in an alternate New England of the 1890s. "The Brotherhood" rules over everyone with a combination of Puritan ideals and Gestapo tactics. In the 1700s, witchcraft (and lesbianism) was an accepted element in New England and brought witches from all over the world to live there--until their leadership collapsed, bringing in the Brotherhood. The alternate nature of the world was strange at times because it was so very different, yet it was never explained why it was so different. The demographics of Chatham reflect a contemporary mix of nationalities yet there is no racism shown at all; it's made mention that the best fashions come from Mexico City, and that women actually have rights and independence in Dubai; it felt like the author chose those things to be contrary to expectations. Lesbianism is also mentioned at several points, yet it's as though men can't love men at all, though I can assume that the Brotherhood wouldn't encourage any relationship that couldn't create children.The Brotherhood is also very black and white. It's a very insidious entity, anti-woman at the core. That made it seem rather over-the-top at times; it would be believable if it had more shades of grey, as is shown with the women's organization called the Sisters.Cate is a strong heroine in the true YA mold: smart yet stings because of her reputation as being the "not smart" sister; pretty, but not as beautiful as her other sister; committed to keeping her sisters safe, yet suffocating under the burden left by the mother. The romance is also very well drawn and is one of the best aspects of the book. The one thing clear from the beginning is that Cate needs to find a husband, and soon, or the Brotherhood will force her into an unpleasant match. So when Cate's childhood friend returns to town, this seems like a very good thing... until a few hints of his character come through. His portrayal is nuanced and very well done, as he is never shown as a "bad guy," simply as flawed and real. However, it's only right that book-lovers will cheer for Cate's sudden attraction to Finn, the humble bookseller's son.The book stands well on its own but also has something of a cliffhanger because of Cate's choices. I'm curious about the course that the book will take, but time will tell if I'd be willing to purchase the second book after my reservations about the worldbuilding. However, I did enjoy the book enough that I'm willing to pass it along to my 11-year-old niece as part of her Christmas gifts.
MovieGOOMBA on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I must say, I was surprised that I enjoyed this book so much. I also liked how Spotswood changed it up by including ethnically diverse characters and making Dubai the center for freedom and change. It was a fun, easy read, and I can't wait for the next book!
ExLibris_Kate on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jessica Spotswood has created a world that is highly entertaining and, at times, terrifying. In this alternate reality of the 1890s, witchcraft is forbidden and witches are hunted down by The Brotherhood and sent away to horrible prisons. Women are taught to be meek and should either serve their husband or serve The Sisters, the female wing of The Brotherhood. For the Cahill girls, life is a minefield of protecting their identities as witches and navigating life without their mother. The burden of this falls on Cate, who I predict will become a beloved heroine of YA literature. Cate is strong, smart and scared out of her mind that the next knock on the door will be The Brotherhood coming to take her sisters away. Her total dedication to protecting them, despite sacrifices that she must make, is heartbreaking and gripping.I loved the world that Jessica Spotswood has created for the reader. It has the sweet appeal of a historical romance with the adventure and throat closing suspense of all the best in paranormal fiction. As Cate tries to unravel the mystery that might destroy her family, you will feel just as conflicted and just as unsure of who you can trust. The ending made me want to both cry and throw the book across the room because I knew that it meant waiting for the next installment in the story. To date, only one author's books have done that to me *cough* Cassie Clare *cough*. If this is not on your 2012 reading list, add it today. The only thing you might regret is having to wait for the next book.