Born Wicked

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Scheduled Release: Feb. 2012

Growing up female in a patriarchal society that views women as little more than decorative objects is never easy, especially for a trio of smart, intrepid sisters. Growing up a witch in a society governed by religious zealots that view magical ability as an evil sign of female wickedness can prove even harder. Left in the care of their distant father after their mother’s untimely death, Cate, Maura, and Tess bear the truth of their magical heritage, keeping it secret for fear of retribution from the Brotherhood that rules the country. Unsure where to seek advice, the Cahill sisters fight to stay strong as they learn to wield their powers without guidance, but these girls are part of a greater truth that threatens to destroy them all…

Born Wicked was not at all what I expected after reading the blurb on the back cover… it was so much better! Cate, Maura, and Tess are distinctive, well-developed characters that I instantly wanted to know more about. Cate narrates the trial of being an older sister to a pair of girls growing to fast and powerful for their own good. Always the voice of reason, Cate is a classic older sister as she tries to make the best of a complicated situation while keeping her sisters safe and deflecting the attention of their neighbors and the Brothers.

The plot is tightly woven and suspenseful. This was definitely one of those books I couldn’t put down! I just wanted to know what would happen… Would the girls be discovered? Would they suffer the fate of the other girls branded as witches by the Brotherhood? So many twists to keep me guessing. The history of the Daughters of Persephone–the matriarchal order of witches that ended when the Brothers waged war against witchery–was equally fascinating and lent the story a sense of time and place. I really look forward to following this series.

A great read for anyone interested in mystery, alternate history, and realistic magic (think Charmed).

I received my copy of Born Wicked through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.

Last post of 2010

Goddess of the Rose by PC Cast

Mikado “Mikki” Empousai has always had a special affinity with roses, as did her mother and grandmother. When she starts to have tantalizing dreams about a mystery lover, she starts to wonder if it’s the result of loneliness and an overactive imagination, or something more.  It doesn’t help that her dream man bears a striking resemblance to the mythical beast statue that guards the local rose garden. Little does Mikki realize that it’s a sign of a change to come, an awakening that brings her close to her true destiny and challenges her concept of dreams and reality.

I picked this book up on a whim at the used paperback store by my old job. The cover was a bit more sensual than the kind of covers that usually pique my interest, but I was intrigued when I read the blurb and realized that it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling.

I have mixed feeling about the novel itself… I found the concept original. The plot draws on Greek mythology and casts the Beast as the misunderstood Minotaur who guards Hecate’s Realm of the Rose, the place where the mundane world’s dreams are made. Mikki is portrayed as a strong, determined woman willing to chase her dreams, while the Beast is presented as a creature who is well aware of his position as a man-beast. The magickal elements also seemed a natural part of the world created by Cast. However, I had some trouble with the prose. I’m very particular about my idea of romance, dialog, and description when it comes to sex in literature, and the language just fell short in my opinion.