Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Image from Author Website
Image from Author Website

Title: Born Wicked
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Author: Jessica Spotswood
Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: 7 Feb 2013
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 3/5

Synopsis from Goodreads

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.


Set in New England in the early 1900’s, there are similarities with the New England of 1600-1700’s and its witch hunts. The Novel revolves around the lives of three young girls left pretty much to fend for themselves after their mothers’ death and their father withdraws into his own world. To add to this difficult situation the girls are hiding something. They are witches. On her death bed their mother entrusts Cate the eldest with the task of keeping the younger girls Maura and Tess safe and their powers secret.

Their lives are complicated by The Brotherhood a religious council who rule their town with an iron fist, hunting witches relentlessly.

Cate is the main voice of the book. She has a lot of responsibility for such a young girl. Keeping head strong Maura and quietly observant Tess under control. A difficult task even without their special powers.

Long held secrets emerge, putting Cate and her sisters in grave danger, from all sides. Help comes from unexpected quarters making Cate reassess all she knows about the world she has grown up in.

I liked the book, it had an easy conversational style and I sympathised with the characters. I felt they were believable and likeable on the whole. Cate becomes a bit Martyr-ish as the book progresses but given the choices she has to make this is probably quite fitting.

I felt the book was always on the cusp of something and would perhaps be improved by being read as part of the chronicles rather than as a stand alone novel. This first novel in the series sets the tone, gives a good insight into the characters personalities and the world they live in. I felt a little disappointed however when at the end, nothing much had happened. There were minor incidents and situations narrowly avoided but nothing that made me feel excited about reading on.

The book was well written and I think over all worth reading but I hope the second novel includes a bit more action as this one seemed to just set the scene.

Author: Book Angel Emma

Book List Obsessed - Alliteration Addict - Secondary School Librarian - Mother of Girls - Zumba Freak

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