Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
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 six months 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 stars 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.
Although I limit my reading of paranormal and paranormal-esque novels pretty heavily, I almost always never say no to a witch book, because witches are just too awesome. Thus, I was delighted when Born Wicked fell into my hands, and even though it didn't quite live up to my expectations, I see much potential for future installments in the series.
The thing that prevented me from truly enjoying this book is that it often read like one giant prologue. It doesn't actually take too long for Cate to uncover the first hints of the mystery her mother left behind, but once she begins her quest, it takes an annoyingly long time for her to make much progress. I understand that her need to be discreet makes it hard for her to find more answers, or at least uncover more intriguing questions, but there's only so much wandering I can take without getting frustrated. All the secrets are wonderfully mysterious and often contain plenty of crazy (asylums, heck yes) but because Cate never finds out all there is to know about them, neither did I, and I'm too nosy for that to be a thing I'm completely okay with.
However, despite my deep desire for this book to have more action, I think I'll at least pick up book two in the series because most other things I liked or can see developing into something great. For example, I actually really like Cate's narration-- she's pretty level-headed, especially when it comes to controlling her magic, but it's also easy to see how deeply she cares for her sisters and how her emotions sometimes cause havoc. I like her sisters just as much, even if they were woefully absent for much of the time, because they use magic so differently than Cate that's it hard to predict just how they will act and fit into the mystery. I'm much less crazy about the rest of the cast, though, especially her Potential Boys. Cate's interest in both of them never seemed genuine because, really, they're both rather boring and don't say much outside of their feelings for Cate. Still, I think (hope) they will become less of a focus as Cate must face her magical issues in the next installments, so I don't mind them quite as much as I could otherwise.
Despite woefully lacking in action, Born Wicked possesses many intriguing mysteries and a lovely heroine that I think will make the rest of the series worth a read.
Book details: Putnam Juvenile/Hardcover/$17.99
Source: sent by publisher for review