Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood

Born Wicked, Star Cursed, Sisters’ Fate by Jessica Spotswood
Genre: Supernatural (Witches), Romance. Sisters = buzzword
Published by: Speak. Pages: 352, 384, 368 respectively
Rating: ★★★★

This series has quickly become one of my absolute favourites. It’s the story of three sisters who are all witches in a society where if you’re rumoured to be a witch you’re either imprisoned or hanged. There’s also a prophecy that claims one of the sisters will either be the undoing of witches or will help them rise. I loved the drama and the the way every single relationship is written! For a series that was recommended to me by a friend in my Lit class almost four years ago, I’m surprised I didn’t pick it up sooner, because it’s really not one to be missed!

(Warning: As I’m going to be discussing all three books in one post, you might find the reviews of books 2 and 3 spoiler-y since I’ll be noting how the plot progresses.)

B  O  R  N    W  I  C  K  E  D

The best bit of this book (and the whole series) undoubtedly is the sibling relationship. Each sister is so different that when they get along it’s a powerful bond, but when they don’t…oh my goodness. I really liked that these sisters weren’t afraid to bicker and shout, because it’s realistic!

Cate is the oldest. She’s super sweet, modest and often overshadowed by the middle sister Maura, who’s selfish, beautiful, manipulative, and the attention-seeker of the family. Finally, there’s Tess, the youngest sister, who is understated, likes to play with magic but listens to her elders, and of course,  she’s also the most powerful of them all. So, their mother died leaving them this note containing the prophecy and there’s so much drama and mystery because why didn’t she tell the girls about it and what is she trying to protect them from? Cate takes control of the situation and attempts to answer these questions while keeping her sisters in the dark.BUT so much more is happening in her life, for one thing soon Cate must declare whether she is getting married or will join the sisterhood where relationships are forbidden and not much else is known, but many young girls choose to join. (Oh, and did I forget to mention that if Cate joins the sisterhood, her sisters have to join her there as well? It’s conflict time!)

The biggest conflict in the series is between the witches and The Brotherhood. I’m not sure why they want all witches imprisoned, exactly, but they’re very religious and feared by all young witches. They’ve been taking girls (innocent or not) and it’s a mystery what’s going on there.

Then there’s a love triangle between Paul, the boy that’s been in Cate’s life forever and Finn, who works in the gardens and lives a very different life to Cate and her family. Luckily, this was a love triangle that I actually really enjoyed, it’s not overbearing or annoying, and is perfectly slow paced. The best bit is that Cate knows her own heart so there isn’t all that dithering you usually find where the girl’s like ‘shall I pick him? *swoon* or him? *swoon*’ In terms of romance, another thing to love about this series is that Maura is gay, which obviously has a very different context at the time, but it’s something that becomes more overt throughout the series.

This is something that stands throughout the whole series, but the secondary characters really flesh out the world of the elite and the lower classes to give a simplistic look at 19th century England in the same way that Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series does. It’s not completely focused on the time period though it does inform some aspects of the plot, but the way the characters work in the narrative is very similar.

Born Wicked did EVERYTHING I want to see in a first book in a series, I absolutely loved it and moved on to the sequel straight away!

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S  T  A  R    C  U  R  S  E  D

So, Cate’s made her choice and with it, she’s made sacrifices for herself, but also on behalf of her sisters. The girls join the Sisterhood and learn about magic, and I really enjoyed this setting because who doesn’t love a good boarding-school? Again there’s more conspiracy with the Brotherhood, but this time we’re getting to the root of the problem. Another villain is revealed, too, with the Headmistress of the Sisterhood planting spies and being very interested in Cate and Tess’ mind-magic.

The main plot of Star Cursed is Cate trying to find her god-mother, Zoe, who can tell them more about the prophecy. The only problem is…Zoe’s in prison and it’s time to bust her out! I adored the pacing of this book. The first book is slow in a scour-the-good-stuff way, but this book builds and BUILDS. Book two has a slightly darker and more series tone that Born Wicked, there’s no love triangle any more and it’s not sweet sisters bickering over by, it’s sisters fighting over their future, thinking that what they’re doing is the best for the family, when instead it’s selfishly motivated. The ending, which I won’t go into too much detail about is thrilling and the most actioned packed we’ve seen this series get so far. It’s full of magic and sorrow and most importantly, a bunch of kick-ass girls!

One thing that is particularly ramped up in Cate’s relationship with Maura. Things come to a tensity crux when Maura becomes more infuriating than ever before. She can’t seem to see though the villains in the same way that Cate can, and she just becomes this character that you love to hate! The ending killed me, I was lost for words and just gasping after the final chapter.

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S  I  S  T  E  R  ‘  S    F  A  T  E

Context time: I borrowed both Born Wicked and Star Cursed from my local library and I read both over a weekend. I then scoured all of the libraries in my area to try and find Sister’s Fate, to no avail. A YEAR LATER I decided to just buy the book myself and I wish I’d made that decision earlier, because that’s a long time to wait for a sequel that was already published and I think I would’ve enjoyed it more just binging the whole thing. I did get something good out of this wait though, because I realised how good this book was at going over what had already happened. In my absence from the world, I’d forgotten about who Elise was and why she was important, along with some of the more delicate points about the Brotherhood, but everything came flooding back when I was prompted of it throughout the story. The only other auto I can think of that manages to do this without hitting you over the head with a ‘Previously on…’ is Richelle Mead, so I’m giving Jessica Spotswood major props for this!

As an ending, I though Sister’s Fate fit perfectly well with the rest of the series. It’s managed to keep some of the original spark but still progressed as a series should so that not all the books feel exactly the same in tone. After the events of book two the start of this book is mildly devastating and that’s a feeling that continues throughout with moments of hope dotted in between.

As the groundwork for Finn and Cate’s relationship was already set, I didn’t feel like there was too much tension here, even after the ending of Star Crossed, but to be honest that didn’t really bother me, because they weren’t supposed to be the emotional core of the book. That has always been, and will always be, Cate’s relationship with her sisters.

Overall, this is a solid 5 star series. It’s go something that I think everyone will love, and is seriously underrated. Now that I’ve finished the whole thing, I want to go back to the beginning and start again! This is going to be a series that I constantly recommend.

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2 thoughts on “Review: The Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood

  1. I’m definitely adding this series to my to buy and to read list! It sounds absolutely amazing and has me intrigued! And that’s just from the summary of the first book. The aspect that it’s realistic because siblings bicker also draws me to it.

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