REVIEW Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked
by Jessica Spotswood
Putnam Juvenile
February 7, 2012

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.

Okay, I'm going to try to resist my first instinct with this review, which is to fangirl completely and just chant FINN FINN FINN FINN FINN FINN FINN over and over until the name loses all meaning.  Because that's how much I loved Finn.  But this story isn't Finn's, not really.  This story follows Cate and her sisters, all of whom are witches in an alternate version of our own history where being a witch is the biggest crime there is.  So far, they've managed to hide it, but their secrecy is about to come to an end, because The Brotherhood is watching them a little too close for comfort.

Cate is just months away from her intention day, where she must announce in front of the congregation whether she plans to marry (her old friend Paul has recently returned to town and he obviously means to court her) or join the Sisterhood, the female branch of the Brotherhood. These are her only two options, there are no others. It doesn’t matter that she’d be sent to prison for being a witch—which would surely be found out by the Sisterhood, or that she’s starting to have feelings for Finn, the son of the bookshop-keeper, who is well below her station, or that if she marries Paul, she’ll have to follow him to the city, which is too far for her to keep an eye on her sisters (who don’t seem to fear magic as much as she thinks they should).

The hopelessness of Cate’s situation really struck a chord in me. There was no real option for her. She’s just doing the best she can.

The relationships between Cate and the other characters were my favourite thing about the book. She resents her father for being absent and too weak to handle their secret. She battles with being a surrogate mother to her two sisters, one of whom she’s grown apart from because of it. She’s distrustful of Elena, their new governess, and resents her for being in the house, causing Cate to keep a tighter reign on her sisters’ magic. She’s affectionate with Paul, her childhood best friend and maybe more. And Finn, oh my goodness how I adored Finn. The build-up of Cate’s affection for Finn was PERFECT. She goes from having that image in her head of know-it-all geeky boy she knew growing up, to slowly noticing the changes in him as he’s become a man. Seriously LOVED this relationship. And Finn.

I don’t want to give too much away but I really enjoyed this one. The world was unique (an alternate history of our own) and the characters were wonderful.

Loved this one. I’m very VERY sad I had to give my copy back to the library.

So…who wants to buy me a copy of my very own ;)

Happy Reading!



  1. I'm so glad you loved this one! I'm reading it next month for a book club read and seriously cannot wait! It sounds fantastic :) Great review!

  2. Oooo this sounds good! Great review!

    Jenny at Books to the Sky

    I totally understand what you mean. After I read Born Wicked I had to hold back every time I was asked how I liked it so I didn’t just start fangirling over my obsession with Finn. I’m glad you enjoyed it! I also loved it very much. Can’t wait to see what’s next for Jessica Spotswood.

    Darlene @ Leather Bound and Lovely

  4. So glad you liked this one! It is by the side of my bed as I write this and I'm hoping to get to it this weekend. Now I'm extra looking forward to it. Great review!

  5. I LOVED this one..actually emailed Jessica right after reading it!!! A book worth Fangirling over!

  6. OMG! I totally ADORED this book, too! FINN!!!!!!!!!! *swoon*
    But seriously, it's not even about Finn, as much I loved him and all, but the dynamics between the sisters, the world building and the elegant, tender storytelling.. It was all so magical and shiny and... divine! I LOVED everything about this book, and can't flipping wait to find out what happens next! GREAT REVIEW!!! :D

  7. This was a great book! Jessica Spotswood really lays it on thick a lot of suspense and romance. Bit of a love triangle, but the ending will blow you away! Can't wait for the next book in this awesome new series!
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