Friday, February 17, 2012

Born Wicked - The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book 1

Cross-posted on KidLitFrenzy
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons / Penguin Young Readers
Release date: February 7, 2012
Source: Advance Readers Copy
Audience: Young Adult

Good Reads Description:
"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.

My thoughts on this book:
A historical YA fantasy fiction set in the time of the Puritan-like society sounds like a winner, right? I am happy to say, “Yes!” I was a bit wary of this novel when I started to read it. I found myself getting angry and flustered in every chapter. About three to five chapters in, I figured out why. The author, Jessica Spotswood had me totally invested. I was experiencing the same emotions as the Cahill sisters. It started with the political and societal environment but is soon got deeper than that. I felt Cate’s anger at her mother. I resented the loneliness and feeling of neglect that Maura felt as a middle child (this hit very close to home being a middle child myself.) I envied the wisdom Tess gained from her curious and intellectual nature. Underlying it all, there is the constant undeniable push and pull of their bond as sisters and witches.

Even more surprising, I didn’t find the obligatory love triangle (between Cate, Paul, and Finn) trite or characteristically familiar. The guys are on equal footing. There is no extra talent or leg-up for either of them. (Ms. Spotswood does foreshadow a possible paranormal consequence to one of the pairings but to us readers, not Cate herself.) It was refreshing to see such a normal struggle in a world permeated with Magic.

This book is not without it’s curiosities, like why Dubai is mentioned as an ideal for these witches over and over again. I, for one, can’t wait to discover why and how the Cahill sisters will survive the politics, the Prophecy, and each other.

Check out this book trailer:

For more information about author Jessica Spotswood:

On Twitter: @jessica_shea
FacebookThe Cahill Witch Chronicles