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Born Wicked: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book One Hardcover

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Born Wicked: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book One + Star Cursed: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book Two
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 650L (What's this?)
  • Series: Cahill Witch Chronicles (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; 1st Printing edition (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780399257452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399257452
  • ASIN: 0399257454
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,917 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The prophecy written in Mother’s diary is clear: “A trio of sisters will come of age, all witches. One of the sisters, who will be gifted with mind-magic, will be the most powerful witch born in centuries.” Her daughters—Cate, Maura, and Tess—compose the trio, and Cate is the one who possesses mind-magic. But Mother is dead, Father is oblivious, and the Brotherhood is intent on stamping out all witches in New England in an effort to squelch female independence and initiative. How can Cate protect herself and her sisters from the Brotherhood’s terrifying scrutiny? Spotswood has melded historical fiction with the paranormal into an intriguing story of witchcraft, family responsibility, and unrequited love. A constant undercurrent of uneasiness permeates the novel; readers will find themselves tantalized by Cate’s two suitors and their marriage proposals, terrified by the Brotherhoods hatred and disgust of girls and women, and frustrated at the necessity to wait for the second book in the Cahill Witch Chronicles to learn what becomes of the sisters. Grades 8-12. --Frances Bradburn


"A tale so captivating you don't want it to end."
(Andrea Cremer, New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade series)

"An intriguing story of witchcraft, family responsibility, and unrequited love."

"...the fate of the Cahill sisters inspires genuine dread by the time the cliffhanger ending arrives."
(Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Cate, as well as her sisters Maura and Tess, are witches, and so was their mother.
Teen Reads
I love the way the characters are written they are very likable, and I spent the whole story so wrapped up in it that I felt like I was there with Cate.
I was riveted to each page up until the very end, and I can't wait to see what happens next in Cate's story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Amanda TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Okay, let me start this review with full disclosure: I really wasn't that interested in Born Wicked. In fact, I only read it because I had the opportunity to read an advanced copy of the book, and thought: Why not? From the very first page I was very pleasantly surprised at this book: start, unique, well-written and honest characters in a truly compelling plot that's unlike just about everything else in the YA genre right now.

Set in an alternative version of turn-of-century New England, Cate Cahill has always known what her future would be: marriage, or a life-long commitment to the celibate, religious Sisterhood. In a world controlled by the oppressive, religious Brotherhood, witches are hunted down and either sent to an asylum, a prison ship, or executed. Cate has been hiding her secret for years -that she and her two sisters, following the legacy of their deceased mother, are witches. Not only must Cate protect her sisters, but she uncovers an unexpected prophecy and learns secrets of the Sisterhood that will challenge the very fabric of the Brotherhood.

The first thing that drew me into this story was the elegant writing style and unique alternative history that pulls from America's Puritan period and the Salem Witch Trials to create a lush history that's easy to get lost in. And to top it off, Cate is a down-to-earth, honest character that's well-constructed, realistic and easy to readers to relate to. I thoroughly enjoyed her feisty, rebellious spirit and drive to protect her sisters from anything that would threaten them.

It was interesting to see how author Jessica Spotswood handled religion, magic and feminism here, especially since I felt like she did a nice job of juggling these themes without ramming them down the reader's throat.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Mandi Kaye on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
When I started reading this one, it took me awhile to get into the flow of it. The story started pretty slowly, but picked up about a third of the way through. If you find it starts too slowly for your liking, punch through - it's worth it.

This world is brilliantly devised and written. It seems to take place in the 19th century, but it's hinted at that this is not the same 19th century from our past. This is a world where witches once ruled, but now the Brotherhood is the authority - seeking to subvert and oppress women. Every single trial and punishment I can recall from the book was a girl or woman - never a man. Women accused of witchery were either sent to an asylum or they mysteriously disappeared.

This is the world Cate Cahill and her two sisters have grown up in - as witches. Cate has spent the three years since their mother died trying to protect her sisters and keep their secret, all while watching other girls from the town be accused, tried, and punished for witchery.

I can't imagine the strength of character required for Cate to stay sane while living through the events of this book. My heart aches for her - for the choices she was forced to make, and for the sacrifices she made.

My only complaint with the book is that it ends in the middle of the story. I know that it's a series and will pick up in the next book, but it always bothers me when nothing is tied up at the end of a book.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By S. Su on March 30, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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 will take these points into consideration before publishing their books.

Every day Cate Cahill worries that today's the day she and her younger sisters Maura and Tess will be exposed as the witches they are. The Brotherhood, which controls almost every aspect of life in New England, nearly wiped out the Daughters of Persephone several decades ago, and Cate fears for their lives every day.

When a warning note from a stranger and her mother's diary reveal to Cate a dreadful prophecy that affects them all, Cate finds herself ever more mired in the events and relationships of Chatham: trying to decide what the new friendships of several popular girls in town means, dealing with a suspicious new governess, fending off the advances of her childhood friend, falling for someone completely inappropriate for her, and delving more into her mother's history and the details of the prophecy. The more Cate explores, the more she realizes that few people are who they seem...and they all seem to want something from her. But what about what she wants for herself?

So let's begin by going down that list, I guess.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Born Wicked is about three sisters, with the eldest, Cate telling the tale. Nearing her birthday, Cate must soon choose her future: Marriage to a man she may or may not have a choice in, or spending her life with the Sisterhood. Either choice means leaving her sisters, sisters that have not always made the smartest decisions about hiding the magic they have. In early New England, the hunt for witches has gone to an extreme, and The Brotherhood takes girls who are even suspicious of having magic to an asylum, are forced to hard labor, or in more extreme cases, kill them. The Brotherhood preaches that women should be meek and mild, and discourages them of having passions.

Cate has taken care of her sisters since their Mother's death as best she can, however her Father is having a new Governess brought in. New people means greater risk of exposure, and Cate already has a hard enough time keeping her younger sisters in check. Now with new dangers coming at her from all sides and the discovery of a prophecy almost certainly about their family that puts them even more in danger, Cate is put to the test.

I enjoyed Born Wicked quite a bit, and I found the world intriguing. As someone who'd always been curious about the Salem Witch Trials, it's interesting to see a twist on a world where this is taken to an extreme. Cate is an interesting character who does the best she can with the rotten hand she's been dealt, and I felt for her continuously throughout the book. No decision she makes is easy, and she's often left between choosing from bad to worse. That said, the romance in Born Wicked leaves something to be desired, and definitely screams `insta-love!'. I had a hard time really feeling the emotions Finn and Cate as they seem to happen without any real evolution.
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