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Review: Born Wicked

my thoughts in a few sentences: A wonderfully thought-out historical world with an undercurrent of the paranormal to excite and bewitch, Born Wicked gives us a familiar take on witches with a twist and takes us back to a time period in our history that sickens us when we think of it, for innocents were slaughtered unmercifully for the wrong reasons. The romance is sexy and adorable, throwing in another heart-throbbing element to an already delightful story.

hooking first line: "Our mother was a witch, too, but she hid it better."

Rating: Perfect Bed Partner | Putnam • Historical/Paranormal Romance • 2/7/12 • about $12



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 six months 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 stars 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.
So it's no secret that I was absolutely obsessed with the idea of reading this book. Witches are my thing, for sure, but it was Finn Belastra that beckoned me. I was happily surprised to find, however, that I enjoyed the main character, Cate, just as much. A story of the shaky, though unbreakable bond between close siblings, the lengths to go to protect what's most important, even if it means losing the power to choose, and how sacrifice isn't always noble but is sometimes necessary, Born Wicked provokes us to ask questions and shows us the importance of appreciating our ability to make choices.

The characters weren't the only aspect driving me to finish the book; I had so many questions that I desperately coveted the answers. Spotswood is clever in her writing and plot development, as she gently strings us along, careful not to turn us off as she gradually reels us in, lets up, then yanks fast, eliciting the perfect reaction from us. Underlining that is the sense of fear that plagues us, stemming from understanding the actions of the Brotherhood—a group of men with the singular goal of taming women and weeding out ones even slightly suspected of witchcraft. Living in that kind of tension, almost waiting for a guard to fall upon on Cate and her sisters—who are indeed witches, if you haven't guessed—and drag them away is it's own kind of torture. This whole retelling of our history feels so authentic, we wonder if these events really occurred or if they mimicked our country's tragic witch hunts of old and relatively recent.

Spotswood does a remarkable job breathing life into a headstrong heroine that's believable and is considerate to the time period. Cate is stubborn, opinionated, and possesses quite the temper, yet she comes across as meek and inclined toward obedience to others, cautious in her actions because she's well-aware of the consequences. For someone with a close relationship to his or her siblings, it's incredibly easy to resonate with Cate and her instinctive protection of her two younger sisters. Sympathy strikes our hearts for the heavy burden that set fire to her childhood, pressed upon her by her late mother, who urged her to promise to protect their secret. Her frustrations and sorrows make her all the more stunning. And when she catches the eye of Finn Belastra, the studious hunk, a romance full of delicious sweetness, sharp sexual tension, and the spicy edge of the forbidden ignites and sets us all ablaze, making us very willing captives of the sensuous flames.

The ending shakes out curses from our thinned lips the moment we near it, brutally aware of what's about to happen and are completely powerless to stop it. Fortunately, this isn't a goodbye, but a seemingly hopeless beginning that we believe will lead into a hopeful future for these characters whom we've come to adore.

Damn. Why must the sequel keep us suspended in torment until next year?!

"Don't let them make you feel small. It's their specialty, but anyone with half a brain can see how clever you are." He gives me a sideways glance. "And brave. You barely hesitated when you heard they were there."
"You think I'm clever?" Him? The brilliant scholar?
"I do." His fingers curl around my palm, his touch comforting and disturbing all at once. My heart flips over in my chest. (155)

16 comments:

Celine said...

AAAAA! I can't wait to read this book! Your review totally convinced me that I have to read this soon! And I definitely want to meet the gorgeous Finn because I've been hearing AMAZING things about it! Awesome review, Asher! Glad you enjoyed it! <3

Asher_Knight said...

 Finn is a huge bright spot in the book. he is incredibly gorgeous with endearing physical flaws, smart, insightful, and caring. I went terminally gaga for him. Hope you get to read it soon!

Brodie said...

Oh Asher, may I marry your lovely reviews?  You perfectly captured what makes this book such a standout! I absolutely ADORED Finn, but as you said, Cate really stole the show. I especially loved how Jessica explored the relationship between the sisters. I love seeing such strong and complicated sibling bonds <3 And FEATHERS!! Oh I loved the feather scene.

ACCIO SEQUEL!!

Caitlin Lomas said...

Oh Asher this is such a perfect review in the sense it really, really makes me want to read this book. Like, really. You've written it so beautifully and really captured the essence of the book. I LOVE the sound of this one, I may have to treat myself to it at some point...

The Cait Files

Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

Your review is so well-written, Asher! I am excited to read this book and you have made me even more eager to get in in my hands soon. :) I love witches too but I find most YA books about witches tend to be pretty hit and miss. This one sounds like a great read! I'm glad you liked it. :)

rogier said...

I can't wait to read this book! rad review asher

Missie Bee said...

You are not bearing that torment alone, Asher. I am right there with ya. Though I wasn't as taken with Finn as you seem to have been, I am rooting for him. I guess I was just hoping to get to know him a bit better, but that the good thing about more books coming up, the possibilities. :)

Mimi Valentine said...

Perfect bed partner is right! Oh my sweet goodness, do I EVER want Finn in my bed! (I didn't just say that LOL) x) <3 I loved him and this book and your review so much! You captured the heart and soul of the novel in only a few paragraphs -- how awesome Cate was, how authentic the history was, and etcetera! :) This was such a beautifully amazing review, Asher!

P.S. I love how you called Finn the "studious hunk" -- so true LOL! x)

Asher_Knight said...

 WE DO.

Cate was such a beautifully wrapped surprise. I was all there for Finn, but Cate really caught my attention and kept me focused on her.

*giggles* I FORGOT TO HINT AT THE FEATHERS!!

And why didn't I think of that? :P

Asher_Knight said...

 <333 Oh, I hope you do. Particularly if you like witches and a burning romance. Plus the historical aspect is SO FLIPPING WELL-DONE. I loved it!

Asher_Knight said...

 I think the fact that there was a fabulous historical element and so many twists interwoven into the witchy aspects that it strengthened the paranormal element of the story. I hope you get to it soon!

Asher_Knight said...

I can't wait for YOU to read this book either. Thank you, darling <3

Asher_Knight said...

 *lol* I was left gaping at the ending. I can't believe that the sequel is so far away! And I'm sure Finn will win you over in the sequel! :D

Asher_Knight said...

*fist-bumps* You and I both, dear Mimi. You and I both. The fact that you love him as much as my review makes me so happy <33

Liz. R said...

"And when she catches the eye of Finn Belastra, the studious hunk, a romance full of delicious sweetness, sharp sexual tension, and the spicy edge of the forbidden ignites and sets us all ablaze, making us very willing captives of the sensuous flames. " Oh wow.  You need to work in advertising or something. Every other line of this review made me want to run upstairs, pick up my copy and immediately start reading! I'm seriously so excited to read this now - and I'm glad you enjoyed it! (Finn sounds awesome :P.) Great review!

Asher_Knight said...

 <333 *LOL* What are you waiting for? Read, read, read it! Damn being responsible and just go with it.

(And I'm hoping to learn more about Finn in the sequel. I wonder what he'll do given the ending...)