Kereesa's Reviews > Born Wicked

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
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's review
Jul 28, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: own, 2012, alternate-history, fantasy-all-others, friendship, it-s-a-dress-it-must-be-ya, paranormal-romance, paranormal, witches-wizards-powers, own-hardcovers
Recommended to Kereesa by: Somebody. Well I'll figure that out one day.
Recommended for: Fans of A Great and Terrible Beauty who are ok with meh
Read from July 22 to 24, 2012 — I own a copy , read count: 1

I didn't expect much from Born Wicked to be perfectly honest with you. From the cover to the synopsis I expected a general YA novel that would remind me of, but not replace my obsession love for A Great and Terrible Beauty. And really, that's pretty much exactly what I got.

So I ended up picking up a copy of Born Wicked, because well I was kind of hoping for an AGATB successor, and hey witches+Victorian Era=fun times in my books (AGATB is the perfect example of that, though as this novel is set in the USofA, it did remind me more of The Witch of Blackbird Pond though obviously with witches and not at all close to the awesomeness that comes from Elizabeth George Speare's pen). I also had like a gift card for Amazon and figured why not.

One of the things that really intrigued me about Born Wicked was the fact that its world is actually an alternate version of the States and instead of just a bunch of terrible witch burnings, (which still happen), there's more of a fantasy-esque struggle between the fallen pagan witch sisterhood and those who overthrough them, the Brotherhood, which are essentially super crazed puritans. (And are kind of dystopian-like tyrants) And while I really liked this idea for Born Wicked's world, I did find the black and white aspect to it a bit too meh for my taste. The corruption was much too obvious, the betrayals predictable, and the single-minded ferocity of the Brotherhood in sticking to their ideals of femininity was used time and time and time again to propagate ideals of feminism.

Look, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with feminism. I'm just saying there's a way to write in a theme or ideal without bashing the reader's head in.

Subtlety yo.

Putting that aside, however, I did like the other aspects to Born Wicked. The characters were definitely intriguing and I actually enjoyed the portrayal of the spite of the fact that they were a bit stereotypical. Then again, however, there were a few moments where Tess caught me off guard, so hmmm.. The main love interest was okay for the most part, but while I enjoyed the romance in spite of its somewhat insta-lovey tendencies, I couldn't really describe what I liked about him at the end of the novel.

I know he has freckles because Cate described that like 15 billion times, but really I don't know what else to say? He's a nice boy? He has legs?

The rest is really what you expect from YA. Secrets, predictable twists, and sadly nothing really exemplar to make this novel stand out in any real way for me at least. The writing is solid, the characters decent, and the plot is easily foreseeable for the next few books. The romance has, thankfully, a good chunk of development, but nothing that truly creates a foundation for the use of the world 'love.'

All in all, Born Wicked is a novel for the younger YA crowd who might enjoy a more historical approach to the whole witches thing. While I recommend it to fans of AGATB, that recommendation is one I'd take with salt. For me Born Wicked was a novel I knew going in was going to be YA, and so while I was still a bit disappointed I let myself enjoy the light-hearted quality of the story, and tried not to over analyze or sigh every time the author decided to slug me over with some feminist talk.

Well I did say try.

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