Friday, February 13, 2015

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Title: Born Wicked
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1

Publication: January 8th 2013 by Speak
Genre: Young Adult ~ Historical Fiction ~ Romance
Purchase: Amazon | AudibleBarnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo
Rating: 3/5

A gorgeous, witchy, romantic fantasy by a debut author! Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and the Beautiful Creatures series!

Everybody thinks 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. Then Cate finds her mother's diary, and uncovers 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. But if what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe--not even from each other.

Born Wicked was a perfect example of a book that has both good as bad qualities to it. I really did like the book but in the end it wasn't enough to make me love it. This review will be a little different from my usual reviews because there was 50% of good stuff and 50% of bad stuff, in my opinion.

The good:

The setting - I absolutely loved the setting. I think it may be the best part of the book. I didn't actually know this book was historical until I started reading it. It's actually an alternate history, which made me love the setting even more. In this history it's well known that there are witches around and the brotherhood is hunting them, looking especially for three sister witches. One of these sisters is supposed to be the most powerful witch to have been born according to a prophecy. 

Finn - He was one of my favorite characters. He was just really cute and although I wasn't a fan of Cate, I did want them to end up together even though I think he can do much better than Cate. But anyway, he was a great character and I honestly wanted to read more about him. He brought a smile on my face whenever he was around. AND he actually has a bookstore, with his mother, that he works in after his father passed away. 

Tess - She was probably my favorite character in the book. She's Cate's 12 y/o sister and I just wish I had a sister like her. She was a joy to read about. She loves baking and she loves books. I honestly wish she was the main character in this book because I liked reading about her way more than I did about Cate. 

The bad:

Cate - Cate, Cate, Cate... where do I start with her? I disliked her from pretty much the beginning. She just didn't feel like a nice person at all. Sure, she loves her sisters and she's doing everything she can to protect them, as anyone would but honestly? She should've let them practice more magic in case the brotherhood would come for them. Her 15 y/o sister pointed out once how Cate never listens to her and I agree with Maura, she doesn't really listen to her sister even though I can tell she loves them very much. All Cate did was judge other people when she should've looked at herself first. And then there was the romance. I love Finn, I really really do but I didn't like how Cate suddenly fell in love with him so fast. She's known him for years but now suddenly these feelings come, right when her old childhood friend Paul returns to court Cate. Hmm... And also Cate was so judgy about using her sisters using magic while she does it a few times herself. I just hope she'll make better decisions in the next book.

Elena - I wasn't sure what to think about Elena. At first I thought she wasn't so bad but after a little while I was ready for her to go. I didn't like how she led on Cate sister, Maura because I actually liked Maura, even though she does and says some questionable things too but I understand it. Yeah, I really disliked Elena. I don't think she liked hurting Maura's feelings but she did it so that deserves a slap to the face from me.

Lack of magic - For a book that's supposed to be about magic there wasn't much of it. I wanted to see more spells from Cate, Maura and Tess. I really think Tess would be a fantastic witch if only Cate would let her. But anyway, yeah needed more magic. 


So this book has a bit of good and bad. There's also the Brotherhood and Sisterhood. I'm full on hating the Brotherhood for hunting witches and supressing women. But the Sisterhood sure can give them a run for their money. Just like with Elena I didn't think they're so bad at the beginning, especially when it's clear they're all witches but turns out they're also pretty insane. I obviously hated them but I didn't count the Brotherhood and Sisterhood with "the bad" part of this review because as far as bad guys go they're pretty villainous both in their own ways. And a good book just sometimes needs villains, you know.

All in all, Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood was a pretty quick read that had good as well as bad elements to it and the writing wasn't too shabby either + it was a fun buddy read with Jennifer from Book Bird Reviews!

About the Author:

I grew up in a tiny one-stoplight town in Pennsylvania, where I could be found swimming, playing clarinet, memorizing lines for the school play, or—most often—with my nose in a book. I've been writing since I was little but studied theatre in college and grad school. Now I live in Washington, DC with my brilliant playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey.


  1. Fab review, Steph! I agree completely with everything you said and hope that Star Cursed brings the magic and a Cate we can like to us. Thanks for buddy reading with me!

    1. Thanks Jenn! I guess it's a good thing we felt completely the same about the book. We should do it again soon!


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