Paranormal Book Club: Born Wicked

December 16, 2020

Welcome to another Paranormal Book Club post! The Paranormal Book Club is a casual book club I do with my friends Rachel, Kristin & DJ, and it came into being because we decided we wanted to revisit (or experience for the first time) a few older YA paranormal/fantasy books together. Rachel, DJ and I decided we wanted to check out Born Wicked in November, as none of us had read this YA fantasy series starter when it came out back in 2012!

Born Wicked is a YA fantasy by Jessica Spotswood that follows the story of Cate Cahill and her sisters, a trio of witches in a heavily patriarchal society opposed to magic. Cate promised her now deceased mother that she would do all that she could to protect her younger sisters. But with the arrival of a new governess, the deadline for her decision about whether to marry or join the Sisterhood looming, the discovery of her mother’s diary and a prophecy that could change the world, and an unexpected budding romance, will Cate be able to keep that promise?


What were your initial thoughts about the book? Were you excited to read it?
I was looking forward to reading Born Wicked! I do enjoy a good witch tale, and I was especially thrilled that this one centered around three sisters (which was the only detail about this story that I remembered).

What was your favorite quote or passage, and why did it resonate with you?
“No matter how safe and beautiful it is, a cage is still a cage.” There were other quotes I’d considered for my answer, but this is the one I kept getting drawn back to. It actually made me think about comfort zones specifically, though that’s not the context it is written in. Hear me out! I just started thinking about how I tend to find comfort in familiar places, so much so that I forget that settling into them can sometimes prevent me from fully using my potential or growing as a person. This quote felt like a reminder and a challenge in the context my mind put it in!

What character did you relate to the most, and what was it about them that you connected with?
Cate Cahill. I could totally understand her feelings of responsibility for her younger siblings, especially as she basically stepped in as a surrogate mother of sorts after their mother’s passing. I also really related to her desire to have a handle on everything going on, and the resulting resistance to change that she displays. Cate basically tries to take on the world and their problems on her own, and I could absolutely relate to that.

Was there anything you wanted to see more of in the book, like more page time for a secondary character or a plot point you wish was explored more?
It would be pretty cool if we could get more flashbacks to a time when their mother was still alive, specifically between the sisters when they were younger, as well as their mom with her friends. I feel like that would add a little extra color to the relationships and story! I’d also want to learn more about the Sisterhood, and the other witches we learn about, though I suspect that might happen in the rest of the series.

What are your final thoughts? Would you read this book again and/or continue with the series? Would you read another book written by the same author?
Born Wicked starts off slow, features an odd cultural mishmash as part of the worldbuilding (which didn’t particular appeal to me) and had characters who, while likable enough, I didn’t have a real connection or investment in. But because of the author’s prose style, as well as the series of events that make up the plot, I still ended up liking this book more than I’d anticipated! It’s definitely not a new favorite, but it did reel me into the world of the Cahills while I read it. I’m definitely considering reading the rest of the series since I’d love to know how the overarching plot comes together! And I’m open to checking out more of Spotswood’s work.

If you're interested in finding out what the others thought, check out their posts below:

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