On her mother’s deathbed, Cate Cahill promised to protect her younger sisters, Maura and Tessa. This is not an easy thing when all three of them are witches. Hated and feared by the Brotherhood, witches must hide in plain sight by pretending to support the misogynistic ideologies of the Brotherhood. But a prophecy threatens the Cahill sisters, and Cate will have to sacrifice everything to uphold her promise to her mother.
Let me get straight to the point: you need to add this series to your must-read-immediately pile. There are two big reasons why: 1. fantastic world building and history and 2. female characters and relationships that are real and raw and wonderful. I could also add realistic and heartbreaking romances as a secondary reason, though as that’s something you can find in most YA books, I don’t feel a great need to focus on it.
The world of Born Wicked has a similar idea to XVI in that it is a backlash to years of female leadership and the society majorly regresses when it comes to gender equality. The Brotherhood spouts many recognizable religious ideologies meant to prove that women should be obedient and virtuous. While the misogyny may seem severe, it is not a far cry from our own society. For example, women who have sex outside of marriage or partake in adultery are taken to a hellish all-woman prison or sentenced to harsh work camps, while the male of that rendezvous does not receive so much as a slap on the wrist, especially if he’s a member of the Brotherhood. We don’t have a place like Harwood (that I know of…), but you only have to look at the reaction to stories like Kristin Stewart’s cheating to see that the sentiment between our two societies is eerily similar. Spotswood does not shy away from these realities and weaves them into the story expertly.
Equally important, the Cahill sisters have one of my favourite relationships in literature. Each character is strong in her own right, and the way they interact with each other will be familiar to anyone with siblings. The story is told from Cate’s perspective. As eldest sister, she has put aside her own wants and needs to take care of her sisters. She is self-conscious, but adventurous. A budding romance helps her to come into her own, while her self-sacrificing nature is a combination of admirable and frustrating. Maura is the middle-child and definitely suffers from middle-child syndrome. Considered the beauty of the family, she is not afraid to use it to her benefit. In Harry Potter terminology, Maura is a Slytherin, while Cate is probably a Hufflepuff, so I think you can see where that’s going. Tessa, the youngest, is definitely a Ravenclaw. She plays a much more background role in Born Wicked, but she is not a character to be underestimated. Tessa has an innocence and strong-will that would make any older sister proud, and after reading you will be just as protective of her as Cate.
The love these sisters share is strong, so watching the transformation their relationship takes from book to book is awesome in the original sense of the word. I am a sucker for character and relationship development, and Spotswood is spot on (haha couldn’t resist) with both of these elements. The end of Star Cursed had me choking on air and waving my hands frantically for the next book. I say again, read this series. You won’t regret it.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“I fricken LOVED Cate Cahill” – April @ Good Books and Good Wine
“Wonderful character development, intense romance and a protagonist that leaps off the page in all her glory–Born Wicked has it all!” – Angel @ Mermaid Visions
“I really loved the feel of the sisters interaction throughout the story.” – Andrea @ Cozy up with a Good Books
“I couldn’t put BORN WICKED down” – Amy @ Tripping Over Books
“It enchanted me and it wrapped me up in its historical setting.” – Christa @ Hooked on Books
“There were so many things about this book that I loved!” – Jen @ YA Romantics