Monday, September 1, 2014

Review of Jessica Spotswood's The Cahill Witch Chronicles

The Cahill Witch Chronicles

I don’t normally review books. I read the heck out of them, but it’s rare for me to do much other than fangirl over them on Twitter and bully random strangers into reading them. But I had to make an exception for the Cahill Witch Chronicles by Jessica Spotswood. As a reader, I hope more publishers buy books like this; as a writer, I hope to create my own.

The Cahill Witch Chronicles (Born Wicked, Star Cursed, and Sisters’ Fate) tell the story of the Cahill sisters, Kate, Maura, and Tess. They live in an alternate New England where witchcraft is illegal and the Brotherhood oversee the moral lives of citizens. The sisters are, of course, witches. Their mother, also a witch, heard a prophecy prior to her death that said one of the sisters would be a great oracle and that one of the sisters would kill another one. The story deals with the three sisters trying to live in a world where their very existence is forbidden while also trying not to kill each other.

The portrayal of strong women is what makes these books so wonderful. All three books are populated with amazing women who are independent in their own way. These girls are smart, brave, tough, cunning, and funny. Some love fashion and others don’t. Some are sweet and quiet while others are brazen. And yet no set of characteristics is treated as the “right one.” There is no “not like other girls” trope. The characters are flawed and fallible and still wonderfully strong and varied. There are amazing friendships between these women too. They support one another. They realize they are wrong about each other without requiring the other person to change. They relish their independence and allow others to do the same.

I know this is less a review and more of a fangirl flail, and I’m okay with that. Each book is satisfying on its own, but the story arc over the course of the trilogy is a thing of beauty. The writing is solid and the world-building is incredibly well-done. There is romance, of course, (and really swoony kisses), but the stories are so much more than that. The characters are so much more than that. Spotswood has crafted wonderful stories about strong, supportive women who take pride in who they are. They also have supportive love interests who share that pride. I adore Finn so very much, and I love that Cate and Finn can fall for each other while still allowing the other person to remain autonomous.

You need to read these books. If I were you, I’d just block a few days off on the calendar because I’m pretty sure you won’t get much done once you start. I didn’t.

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