In one line: As a teen, this would have been the kind of book I devoured and fell madly in love with; as an adult, I appreciated it, but perhaps came to it with more mature expectations.
I adore YA. Clearly! I find that the imaginative writing of YA authors is something rarely captured in regular adult fiction. I read adult fiction for the story, the characters and the beautiful writing. Not that I don't find this stuff in YA, but I usually go to YA to be sucked into a different world entirely. Even if it is contemporary, it brings me back to when I was a curious and nervous thirteen-year-old myself.
Born Wicked tells the story of three sisters, who live in the shadow of their deceased mother with a father who can hardly look at them anymore. They are all witches, with Cate being capable of magic powerful enough to change the future all witches. Since their mother passed away, Cate has been the mother figure to her sisters Maura and Tess. Told to watch over them and protect them, Cate becomes overbearing to her sisters -- constantly scolding them for using magic in plain sight. Their town is "protected" by the Brotherhood -- a group of devoted religious men who will go to extreme lengths to rid the town of anyone suspected of witchery. The Sisterhood is their female counterpart, but their growing interest in Cate and her sisters may prove to be more than religious devotion.
In Born Wicked, the narrator, Cate, is very much the worrywart I was at that age and still am today. I related to her for the first while of the book -- but then her worries about protecting her sisters became slightly daunting. I kept waiting for action to take place, but just more worries came. Then, at the end, when the end of the prophecy was revealed, I dove further into the story. I couldn't help wanting to yell at Cate and tell her that her life means something too and that she didn't have to give everything up everything for her sisters. Her romance with the gardener, Finn Belastra was my favourite part of the book. He is the perfect love interest; not your typical gorgeous, suave man, but a scrawny, freckled but devoted man. Like many other readers of Born Wicked, I have to agree that Finn was by far one of the best love interests in ages.
I loved the presence of Finn's mother's bookshop. As a booklover, I even love to read about books IN books! Picturing Finn sneaking a few pages of his pirate adventure reads in between weeding gardens made me melt. His mother was also a wonderful character -- quiet but loving and wise. I couldn't wait for Cate to take a step toward being part of that family.
Though I enjoyed many parts of this book, I did find myself being reminded that I am not a teen anymore and my twenty-two year old self detached from the story a few times. I will definitely still be picking up the rest of the series to find out what happens to Cate and her magical sisters. Oh, and Finn!