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Born Wicked

(The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  15,533 ratings  ·  2,164 reviews
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
Paperback, 346 pages
Published February 7th 2013 by Penguin (first published January 25th 2012)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  15,533 ratings  ·  2,164 reviews

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Actual rating: 3.5. Rounded down for the pointless motherfucking love triangle.
Mother didn’t trust Father to fight for us. Truth be told, she didn’t do a very good job of it herself. She left me with a diary full of cryptic warnings and a responsibility that should have been hers.
I will keep my sisters safe...while I have breath left in my body.
I'm an idiot. This is what I get for not reading the summary. For some fucking reason, I thought this was an adult novel. It's not. I thought it was ma
Wendy Darling
Well, I read the first 150 pages of this novel and then skimmed another 50, but this one just isn't holding my attention, I'm afraid. The writing and mood are actually rather nice, and the language seems pretty appropriate to early 20th century New England (albeit an alternate history version) aside from some jarring words here and there.

There just isn't enough witchery in this book for me, however, since the book seems very heavily centered around the romance. And unfortunately, the romance wa
Whatever I am going to write here will probably sound hypocritical in the light of the recent ramblings about genre/commercial/popular (whatever you want to call it) fiction that I started in my Angelfall and Under the Never Sky reviews, but here it is.

I've only read a couple of chapters of Born Wicked and thus far there are no objective issues with this novel that would justify my giving it a low rating or a bad review. It is written like everything else popular in YA right now, down to the 1s
*2.5 stars*


Cate is sixteen. Three months before her seventeenth birthday, she has to choose, at the intention ceremony, if she’s going to marry or join the Sisterhood.

What is the Sisterhood?

The Sisters are the feminine arm of the Brotherhood, only without any power: they do not preside over legal disputes, or create addendums to the morality code, or judge the cases of girls accused of witchery. They live isolated in convents in the cities and dedicate their lives in service to the Lord, educat
Hailey (Hailey in Bookland)
Super annoyed with the ending but overall I really enjoyed the story. I thought it could have used a bit more action throughout but it was still really great!
Miranda Kenneally
This book is one you can't miss. I'm already dying to know what happens in books 2 and 3!

Jessica Spotswood is an enormously talented author whose prose is gorgeous and full and lush and makes me want to live in the world she's created, an alternate history of America in the 1890s. The author's style reminds me of Kristin Cashore's -- the imagery made me want to attend the tea parties and wear the dresses and hang out in the gardens. I seriously loved this book, and had a hard time putting it do
Jul 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor Cate. This girl has far too much responsibility. She takes care of the household as well as her two younger sisters. On top of that she has to keep hidden the fact that all three girls are witches, less they be persecuted. Cate seems to be lost after the death of her mother and her father isn’t much help since he is often absent from the girls lives. I just wanted to bundle this girl up in a hug and tell her everything was going to be okay. Though I’m not sure that would have been the truth ...more
Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, paranormal, magic

This is bit of a magical story about witches in a very difficult time - when they are hunted down, when they have to hide, to pretend to be ‘normal’ and not draw any attention to them. It's a story about a young girl that needs to protect herself and her sisters from all the dangers that might break them apart, a story about young love and old prophecies, and everything in between.

... isn't it beautiful? I mean, I am not sure of the relationship with the book, as the girl’s dres
Kat (Lost in Neverland)
I met the author and got a copy signed. She's really sweet and genuine, and sounds a lot like me.

After Finishing

Unfortunately, I was immensely disappointed with this book. I especially despised the ending. This was such an obvious attempt to make a series, it's not even...UGH.

2.5 Stars

Cate and her two sisters are witches. They strive to keep their secret from the strict, religious Brotherhood who they have to display obedience to, despite their hatred toward witches and women alike.
In a few m
This will definitely appeal to certain types of readers, but it's really not for me. Some parts were interesting, and it was compelling in the sense that it wasn't bad enough for me to give up on.

Cate Cahill and her two sisters, Maura and Tess, live in an alternate history 1870s New England, where a religious order called the Brotherhood extrapolates the Salem witch trial era. Except witches and magic are actually real (though quite rare, so we're told), and if they're caught, the Brotherhood wi
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, fantasy
Creative take on witch hunts in an alternate-history New England.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
I tried so hard to finish this book but after chapter five this became an exercise in withstanding torture. The pacing of this book is ridiculously slow. I swear, I would read one page and start searching for something else to do.

The problem stems from the main character, Cate. She is such a dull sponge - one that'll suck all the fun out of life. There is no vibrancy to her, no spark. She is completely devoid of anything that incites excitement or empathy in me. She's also extremely passive, pre
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I stayed up till 3:00am finishing this book. I thought it was a fast read. I couldn't wait to see what would happen and now I'm dying for the next book in the series! DYING to read more.

I didn't even read the back of this book before I read it. I saw the lovely package that the publisher sent and decided just to go for it. So the alternate history and some of the other aspects were a total surprise. Alternate histories are my current favorites! I love the combination of magic and romance. The w
Bee (Heart Full of Books)
This really is as good as everyone told me it was going to be! I'm so relieved I can read the sequel straight away!
Stephanie (Bookfever)
Born Wicked was a perfect example of a book that has both good as bad qualities to it. I really did like the book but in the end it wasn't enough to make me love it. This review will be a little different from my usual reviews because there was 50% of good stuff and 50% of bad stuff, in my opinion.

The good:

The setting - I absolutely loved the setting. I think it may be the best part of the book. I didn't actually know this book was historical until I started reading it. It's actually an altern
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned-read
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Can not wait to read the sequel!
MORE? MORE! @ P.S. I love that book!

Okay so I had my eye on this series for some time now. I was not sure about it but when our bookshop announced 16% sale I could not just ignore the fact that I wanted to read this book. And no, ebook was not enough for me! I love witches and I want them all on my shelf!

THE WORLD: Oh it is so different to what we are used to. So once upon a time New England was the place ruled by witches. But they abused their power and then normal people killed them. The Broth
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2012
Dear Cate,

Let's talk, you and me. We're both women, we'll definitely have no problem finding at least one topic to find common ground in. We started off as friends, you and I. I quite understood and empathized with the horror you felt concerning the chauvinistic bastards who organized themselves as the Brotherhood and whose main aim was to ensure that women did not move out of their place in the supposed "natural" order of things. I was quite disgusted and I dare say, felt your anger at the crim
Sarah Mac
When I found this among a pile of early releases at work, I chalked it up to destiny. Thanks to a crappy YA track record, my grabbing Born Wicked was akin to a 30-day trial on a steamer from HSN. It might explode in my face, but I could still mail that sucker back -- no money lost, just the fleshy bit of my cheek & one eyebrow.

Looking past the lovely cover, the first thing I noticed was first-person present tense. *sigh* (Authors of the world, PLEASE stop using present tense in teen fiction.
Jul 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2017
“Reading is the perfect escape from whatever ails you.”

Well, I expected way more of this story, sadly.

What I liked:
The world building. This book takes place in 1900 in New England (an alternative version) and women are ... I don't want to write pets because pets might have even more rights then women do. At times, it was really disgusting and hard for me to read about the oppression of women by the Brotherhood.

The dynamic between Cate (16), Maura (15) and Tess (12). Jessica Spotswood created an
Mar 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
After the death of her mother, Cate Cahill had to take on the responsibility of caring for her two younger sisters. Her father is rarely home and even when he is, he's not exactly the most reliable of men. Not to mention he knows nothing of his daughters whispered spells. Only their mother knew of their magic and urged them against telling anyone, father included. So for years, Cate has had to act as mother more often than sister, and while they've had their many ups and downs, inviting anyone i ...more
Jan 18, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love books about witches and vampires and evil creatures in general.
This was another read I really enjoyed.

Cate, Tess and Maura are sisters. Moreover they are witches and they have to hide their abilities because the ruling Brotherhood is hunting witches down. After the death of their mother Cate has to take care of her sisters and watch over them so they are more careful with their magic. At the same time, Cate has to decide whether to join the Sisterhood or to marry and both possibilities
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was lucky enough to win an arc of this from the author's blog, and wow, am I so glad I did. The prose was lush and evocative, beautifully painting the world Cate lives in. The idea of a world where women, and witches especially, are supressed by an all powerful "Brotherhood" was compelling, and the worldbuilding felt genuine. All the characters had their own personalitites and issues,and I never felt like the secondary charactors were just a backdrop to the action. The main romance of the book ...more
Yo, I swear Jessica Spotswood must have read my brain or something, because you guys alternate fantasy history about the Salem Witch Trials is EXACTLY the sort of book I want to read and what is delivered by Born Wicked — Spotswood’s debut novel and the first of a trilogy –The Cahill Witch Chronicles.

Read the rest of my review here
Julie Zantopoulos
I feel like I’m missing something here. It took me nearly 20 days to read this book cause it couldn’t hold my attention. I wasn’t expecting a period piece and man did it take its sweet time picking up. I have the whole trilogy so I will continue but ugh. I’m so upset I didn’t love this book as much as everyone else seems to.
Steph Su
Jun 16, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cover-lust, debs12
There’s no good way for me to start this review except to just come straight out and say that this book disappointed me. With a pretty cover and interesting premise but lacking in world-building, solid pacing, and full characterization, BORN WICKED seems to exemplify all that is characteristic of recently published YA that are big hits but technically weak. So what follows is probably going to be more of a what-not-to-do essay for YA writers, and I hope to God that future writers and publishers ...more
Brigid ✩
I went into this book knowing next to nothing about it except that it involved witches––and hey, I haven't read very many books that dealt with witches/witchcraft so I was excited to give it a try! And, well, I liked it. It was a light and fun read. There are a few things I wish had been better, but overall it was enjoyable.

What I liked:

- It has an interesting, kind of "alternate history" setting which wasn't what I expected. And I love alternate histories and historical fantasy, so I liked that
Oh, my god.

Oh. My. God.

What is this book, even? I'm unable to cope with this book, I just really can't even. Look at my eloquence. I mean, I used to possess a semblance of it, and now look at me, all unfinished sentences and using "even" every five words or so.

Born Wicked is amazing. It's the kind of book that translates perfectly to images in your head and always has you on the edge of your proverbial seat, anxious to know what's coming next. I think a movie of this should be made, and then act
I absolutely LOVED this book! I really wasn't expecting to love it that much, but the story was beautiful! The setting is New England in the 1890s. In the small town of Chatham, the Brotherhood exists as a governing body on religion. Their main mission is to find any hidden witches and arrest them. Women are meant to be obedient, chaste, and meek. If anything at all seems outside the norm, they are accused of witchery.

The three Cahill sisters are most definitely witches. They hide it as best the
Maria (highinthebooksky)
to be honest I had my problems getting into the story but eventually I did! and it was worth my time!

born wicked is a very enjoyable
story with great characters and cool time setting !

Cate and her sisters have a very realistic relationship which reminds me of my own relationship with my sister sometimes...
I liked how the story develops through out the book bc some aspects took me by surprise and so I'm looking forward the sequel as soon as possible!
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Mrs. Anderson's E...: born wicked 1 6 Jan 06, 2016 05:33PM  
Bookworm Bitches : How to download free ebooks? 1 26 Feb 23, 2015 01:03AM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 13, 2015 08:55AM  
Never Too Old For...: Reading Buddy: Born Wicked 31 15 Sep 11, 2014 08:20AM  
All About Fantasy!: Born Wicked 4 10 Sep 05, 2014 08:04PM  
Cate, Maura, and Tess 19 64 Apr 13, 2014 01:51AM  

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Author. Editor. Feminist. Slytherpuff.

I live in Washington, DC with my playwright husband, where I also work as a children's library associate for the DC Public Library.

If you're interested in interviews or guest posts, please contact me at

Other books in the series

The Cahill Witch Chronicles (3 books)
  • Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2)
  • Sisters' Fate (The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #3)
“Reading is the perfect escape from whatever ails you.” 176 likes
“No matter how safe and beautiful it is, a cage is still a cage.” 105 likes
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