Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (The Cahill Witch Chronicles: Book 1)

Genre: Young-Adult, Fantasy
Published by: Razorbill (A Penguin Imprint)
Release Date: 25/01/2012
RRP: $17.99
Received from Publisher

Our mother was a witch too, but she hid it better.
I miss her.

To me, the magic feels like a curse. According to the Brothers, it's devil-sent. Women who can do magic-they're either mad or wicked. So I will do everything in my power to protect myself and my sisters. Even if it means giving up my life - and my true love.
Because if the Brothers discover our secret, we're destined for the asylum, or prison . . . or death.

I've heard nothing but good things about this book and it has a beautiful cover. I had surprisingly low expectations because of this. I guess I thought I wouldn't like it as much as I thought I would, so then I didn't think I would like it and was surprised when I did? I definitely did like it. There were even parts that I loved...

The one thing that I found a little confusing with this book was the setting. The reader isn't really given a time. All we know is that it takes place some time after 1750, that girls still wear corsets and people ride in carriages. The costuming, the need for governesses and chauffeurs, And the courting rituals all seem very Victorian to me. There are other things that are a little obscure though- even for a Victorian setting. A group of people called the brotherhood rule the town, rid it of witches, teach 'religion' to the children and run the church services. I haven't heard of a group of people like this in the Victorian era, but they do remind me of a modern group of religious rulers known as the Taliban. So I am guessing this book is supposed to be in a Historical/Dystopian setting? I really enjoyed it anyhow. The whole idea of these confined ideals of what people were supposed to be (women especially) and the way some people chose to rebel against it.

I thought it was interesting how some of the villainous characters in the story were quite religious. I think the author did this to show us that some people twist the meanings of the bible to their own liking. One of the good characters Finn does actually believe in 'the Lord', but does not believe the distortions of the Lord's rules that the Brotherhood try to brainwash people with.

I also thought it was interesting that the author included the brainwashing aspect in the characteristics of the Brotherhood's group. Not only did the Brotherhood try to warp the ideas of Christianity, but they also educated the people of the town that women shouldn't be educated, that women are frail,that women should only love men, that women are there to serve their husbands and that girls who are/do any of the above are witches. This teaches people that those who try to limit your education are trying to shield you from the truth.

The title 'Born Wicked' was a really smart choice. It made me think of witches right away! I think the title also resonates the fact that character doesn't choose her fate- She was born into it. The one thing that the Brotherhood fails to notice about witches is that the people who are convicted of crimes of witchery are not people who chose to be witches, but people who were born that way and struggle to contain the magic within.

'Born Wicked' is a novel written in first person. The main character Cate was pretty easy to get along with. While she disliked the rules and ideals of the Brotherhood she tries hard to conform to them so she can avoid being detected as a witch. There were a few times when she annoyed me by being so secretive, but I do understand that there aren't always opportunities to tell people things.

I really enjoyed the romantic drama that was going on in Cate's life. I thought this added another dimension to an otherwise witchy story. Most witchy tales I've read so far are about prophecies and detection, so the romance takes a back seat. In 'Born Wicked' this is not the case. I wouldn't say that romance is the most prominent aspect of the story, but there certainly is a lot more of it than I would have expected.

There's something the main character Cate says that I hadn't really thought much about before. I think it went something like "A beautiful cage is still a cage. No matter how beautiful or safe"? No matter how wild, fun, positive, exciting.. something seems, if someone is pushing you to do it you are still being pushed.

Overall I thought this book was great. I would have given it 5 stars. I thought the writing style was really grand, the characters were entertaining, the novel definitely made me feel and I couldn't wait to find out what would happen. After I read the ending I changed my mind. It wasn't really the characters fault that the book ended that way and this is only book one so there is probably plenty more time for the author to make everything all happy-ever-after. So I was a tinsy bit disappointed in the ending. Even so... I gave it 4.5 stars. I think Libba Bray fans will enjoy this one.

Oh and the cover.... Yep, that book's pretty gorgeous...
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Wall-to-wall books said...

Wow awesome. This has been on my wish list for a long, so now I will have to actually look into getting it.
Great review!

Natalievintagegirl said...