Book Review: Marlene Reviews Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

16101026Star Cursed
(The Cahill Witch Chronicles, #2)
by Jessica Spotswood
June 13, 2013
Putnam Juvenile
371 pages
Source: Library Loan

Synopsis

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.(Goodreads Synopsis).

My Take On It

Background:
In an alternative 19th century, Indo-China has colonized the Western part of the United States while Spain has claimed the South. In New England, the priests of the Brotherhood are in power; they are in charge of legal disputes, in addition to imposing morality codes for citizens to abide by. Most notably, their mission is to rid their land of witchery, because a prophecy has surfaced: three sisters, born witches, will rise to power; one will be the strongest and most instrumental of the three while one will end up murdering another.

Thoughts:
In Born Wicked, we are introduced to the pragmatic and headstrong, Catherine Cahill. She is the eldest of three sisters who (wait for it) happen to be witches. Though the Cahill sisters have yet to resolve if they are the prophesied witches, Cate is determined to protect her family from the prying eyes of the Brotherhood and anyone who threatens them. In this sequel, the development of the sisters is ever-growing and decidedly more complex. The relationships between the sisters are vastly different, as are their personalities. Though Cate shares a tighter bond with one particular sister, Spotswood doesn’t weaken the sister-relationship between Maura and Tess. Tension that brews between Cate and one of her sisters in the first installment, carries over to the next and intensifies. Jealousy, stubborn self-interest, and arrogance are to blame. Bitter arguments add up, and eventually, Cate must distance herself from this person, opening the door to trouble as she continues to keep her other sister close. A strained relationship between two sisters will cause one to a change her allegiance and in the process, create more problems than intended. The depth Spotswood brings to these varied sister-relationships are refreshingly realistic, and though issues exist between them, it’s clear they all care about each other.

The strength from the cast and their well paced drama is enough to keep you turning pages, but don’t be fooled, this series packs so much more. The political intrigue in this series enhances the main plot. Readers will be engaged from start to finish. The Brotherhood continues to oppress women, book burning is in full effect, and the hunt for witches never rests. While the Cahill sisters search for answers about the prophecy, their involvement encourages them to perfect their craft in preparation for what’s to come. (And what’s to come is bigger than the three of them, we’re talking outright war).

Even with all this excitement, Spotswood squeezes in a forbidden romance that is delicately sweet. Cate and her suitor make a great team. Though Cate easily takes control of the relationship, the guy she chooses is there to steady her. While Cate is the more logical one, her guy is the more compassionate one. With political turmoil in the background, it’s nice to breathe a sigh of relief when these two steal time together.

Superb storytelling and memorable characters make the world in the Cahill Chronicles easy to slip into. What’s more, Spotswood is careful about staying away from predictable plot twists. In fact, both Born Wicked and Star Cursed end in cliffhangers, but Star Cursedis possibly the worst out of the two (in the best way possible). If your experience  is anything like mine, you’ll have to re-read the final page a few times and pick up your jaw where you left it.

The final installment in this series will be out in August of 2014. If you haven’t jumped on board, there’s still plenty of time to do so before the epic finale arrives. ‘Til then, I’m ready to bribe or beg for an early copy of Sisters’ Fate. I have no shame. I love this series more than I can say.