It’s not often that I get selected to read and review a book for the BlogHer Book Club, so I was thrilled when I was selected to participate in their latest book, “Born Wicked” by Jessica Spotswood. This is the first in a series of books, known as The Cahill Witch Chronicles. I will admit that it did make me wonder if all YA fiction these days has to be in a series… is there such a thing as a stand-alone novel anymore?
This is the story of a broken family… three teenaged girls who have recently lost their mother, their grieved and often absent father and various household staff. Cate is the eldest sister and she takes it on her shoulders to protect her sisters. And why do they need protection? The girls are all witches, something they inherited from their mother and that their father is unaware of. And their society doesn’t tolerate witches… being outed as a witch can result in imprisonment, banishment or even death. The ultra-religious Brotherhood, who serve as the leadership for their society hunt out witches with fierce intensity.
I was a bit confused about the setting and time for this story. It read a lot like historical fiction, but obviously events in this story don’t reflect actual historical events. That’s when I learned that this book represents a genre known as “alternate history fiction”. It is set around the turn of the century and seems to hinge on the question, “What would happen if the persecution of witches in New England didn’t stop in the 1700′s?” It also, of course, relies on the belief that witches were indeed real.
While this premise was definitely intriguing, I found I had a hard time getting into the story. However, if you can make it through the first few chapters, you will find yourself sucked into the book and the pages will fly by. Is this as strong a story as “The Hunger Games”? Probably not. But it certainly far out-paces “Twilight”, so if you’re looking for a YA novel that will challenge and stimulate you, definitely give “Born Wicked” a try. If nothing else, the message of rebelling against the repressive male establishment and finding your inner wild girl is a great one for women of all ages.
I have been compensated by the BlogHer Book Club for this review, however the opinions above are my own. Please join in the discussion over at BlogHer!