Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Genre: Paranormal Age Level: Young Adult Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1
Genre: Paranormal
Age Level: Young Adult
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1

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.


From the first page I was hooked and flew through this book extremely fast. It is a light, quick read despite its darker content.

Born Wicked is about the best type of witches, the type supposedly persecuted in the 1600s. There’s none of the riding on broomsticks, black cat familiar nonsense. Nor the modern re-invented type with crazy powers. These witches can do magic through incantations but are in all other ways normal women.

The setting of an alternate 1900s worked really well as it wasn’t just the normal twentieth century with witches, but a different time with a different history. The world created is one both better and worse than ours; more multicultural but also more rigid and dangerous. The brotherhood is a type of government that doesn’t exist. They are almost like a theocracy but without the belief in a deity. They took over after the downfall of the witches and their goal is to maintain power and not let the witches rise again. To do so, they treat women as inferiors, banned certain knowledge and imprison anyone suspected to be a witch.

Cate was a great character, though her selflessness bordered on being far-fetched. It’s hard for me to believe that she would devote her life to her siblings. Her sacrifice even leads her to fear practicing magic on the off chance she or her sisters get caught when magic is a part of her.  Throughout the entire novel she is constantly sacrificing her happiness for the safety of others. This conflicts with her will to rebel as she always chooses the safer option. I will say though, that faced with the same decisions, I don’t know if I’d be that daring and would probably make the same choices as her.

Maura is passionate, rebellious and stubborn while Tess is smart, intuitive and kind. Sure they fight all the time, but which siblings don’t? I found myself laughing at their arguments in the way adults laugh at kids because I’ve been there myself.

Finn is the opposite of the ‘bad boy’ type making him a character I wish I’d see more of. Just because he loves learning doesn’t mean he can’t be a strong character. Like Cate he will do what it takes to defend those he loves. Their relationship was not perfect, but it was sweet and honest.

The plot was an intriguing mixture of magic, tea parties and dark prophecies. There were a great many twists and turns along the way both plot and character wise, leaving me in constant suspense. Just when everything seems to be resolved, it all goes horribly wrong and this is where the books ends. I really want to know what happens next! Recommended to everyone.


wicked 2

Have you read this book? What did you think? 


7 thoughts on “Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

  1. Ahh your review and the book cover really makes me want to read “Born Wicked”, except for the fact that it’s a cliffhanger and I’d go crazy if I don’t get my hands on the whole series… have you read “Star Cursed”, or are you planning to?

I love hearing from you and will always reply!

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