Friday, January 16, 2015

Born Wicked (a book review)

by Skylar Finn

Note from MV: I'm so excited to welcome back Skylar Finn from "Life of a Random!" :) Prepare yourself for a review full of GIFs and strong feels, as all of her awesome, fangirl-y posts are. Take it away, Skylar!

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #1)

Pages: 330

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.

Before I read Born Wicked, I’d seen it around the blogging world once in a while. It looked pretty interesting. I’ve got to be honest and say the covers and blurbs didn’t have me flailing for the book though. ;)

Basically, Cate Cahill and her two sisters are witches in a world that hunts witches. Their mom, who died when they were young, was also a witch but she didn’t teach them much besides basic spells. Their dad doesn’t even know what they are. Cate’s going to have to marry soon because of the Brotherhood's stupid rules, but she promised her mom she’d take care of her sisters.


Everything’s so complicated and twisted for the three sisters. They have to follow the Brotherhood’s (more on that in a second) orders while at the same time being exactly what the Brotherhood hates and punishes. If I were Cate, I think I would have given up just from exhaustion and hopelessness way before she did.

The sibling relationships were really realistic! Cate’s the oldest and watches out for her sisters and protects them no matter what, even if it makes them hate her. As the oldest kid in my family, I know that is a really hard thing to do. For someone to have to be a sister and a mom….it’s harder than being the real mom.

Cate gives up everything for her sisters. And she is just such a strong, stubborn, and brave character. I love how she stands up for herself and others all the time, even though the people she’s against are older and more powerful than her. But she’s a normal teenage girl too. She gets scared and frustrated. She was the best possible combination of personality traits.

Her sisters Maura and Tess were so different from each other and her too. There was great personality variety without it seeming like the author was trying really hard to differentiate.

The author’s writing style was super gorgeous too. I read something on Pinterest lately about how if you put a little variety into sentence length when you write it makes a HUGE difference. That definitely was true in Born Wicked’s case. The writing was so smooth and beautiful, without being complicated.

Now the important part-- WITCHES.


All the witches are women, without fail. Uh huh. Boss. They aren’t witches in the ooh-I’m-going-to-boil-a-potion-and-turn-you-into-a-toad way. They’re more like twitch-your-hand-and-move-a-chair.

Like I said, boss.

It was really interesting reading about the witches’ powers and watching Cate and her sister improve their skills. The history of witches was also really interesting. I don’t want to give away too much but basically the witches used to be in great power and were called the Daughters of Persephone.

THEN, the Brotherhood happened.






I’m pretty sure this is the only book I’ve ever read that made me SO STINKIN’ MAD reading it, but still ended up being rated highly by me.

The world that the Cahill sisters live in is one ruled by the Brotherhood and their rules. The Brotherhood is basically a ruling group of men who are “religious” and who rose to power after overthrowing the witches in the past.

OH MY GOD. They made me so mad with all their talk of “A woman’s place is in their home. And their only duty is obedience. And you don’t need to know anything because you’re a woman and you can ask your dad, husband, or a Brother.”

Not only did they rule with unfairness towards women who were ruled to be witches (whether they were or not), they treated women as brainless drones put on earth for man’s use and pleasure. Urngh.

Besides this particular awful group, and some other people I couldn’t stand, (they were all hated by Cate too so it’s okay) I really enjoyed diving into the storyworld and I did fall in love with Cate and Tess and others.

The only two things I didn’t really like were 1) that the book didn’t get more into the mechanics and workings of casting spells. The process of learning, why certain spells are stronger when spoken by certain people, etc. and 2) the complicated love interest situation. It wasn’t the typical love triangle (thank God) but it was still the situation of the girl not making a decision. At least not right away.

But she fell for the nerd. That never happens.

This was a great book! I’d recommend it to anybody who likes fantasy and paranormal. And spells. And not wearing fancy dresses.

All right, bookworms. Have you read Born Wicked? If so, what did you think? If not, do you think you'll read it? Leave a comment!

About Skylar Finn:

Skylar Finn is the pen name of a recent high school graduate (who never gets tired of saying she's graduated). Her real name is top secret because she's secretly a spy. That does spy stuff. Secretly. When she's not spying, she blogs about books, life, and chocolate at "Life of a Random." Skylar loves talking with bookworms about everything, so don't be shy. She's probably weirder than you anyways.


Amy-Anne Williams said...

Alohaa, I'm a new reader and I just wanted to say that your blog looks pretty cool and I'm going to be a returning reader from now on c:
Alsooo, let me know if you want to do the whole follow on GFC thing c:
Little Moon Elephant

The Magic Violinist said...

@Amy-Anne Williams

Yay! :) Nice to meet you!

Admittedly, I am not at all skilled in the GFC area. :P It's constantly giving me problems. BUT, I did check out your blog and it's so cute! Also, your bio made me laugh. As I also constantly pull doors that say push, trip on my way up the stairs, and sometimes even run into closed doors that aren't even made of glass, I think we might be blogging soul mates.

Taylor Lynn said...

I've read Born Wicked, too, and I quite enjoyed it! I really loved the dynamics of the sisters--they reminded me so much of me and my two younger sisters it was a little crazy, haha--and Cate's character was terrific. The worldbuilding was stellar, too; I loved how it was basically an alternate version of 1800's America, which was SUCH a cool setting! This also reminds me that I need to reread this one and book two, as I never got to reading the third book and need a refresher before I do so, haha. Should definitely make an effort to do that this year!

Fabulous review, Skylar! It was a great read! :)

Skylar Finn said...

@Taylor Lynn

I agree with everything in your comment ;)

The sisters were so real (I'm sure you know better than me about that :)) and yeah! I loved the whole re-made historical America. I didn't make it past book 2 either. That's definitely gonna be a priority.

Thanks so much! I'm sorry I took so long to reply...I may have forgotten about checking for comments *looks at feet*

Taylor Lynn said...

@Skylar Finn

No worries! Also, yes, let's both try and get around to book 3 this year. It's probably so good, haha, and we have no idea. ;)