Friday, December 6, 2013

Review ~ Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood


Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2
Genre: YA historical fiction
Pages: 366 (for ARC)
Publication date: June 18th, 2013
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons
Goodreads Description: 
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. 
Source: ARCycling

Star Cursed was such a nice read. I definitely enjoyed reading it—I didn't want to put it down, even at the point of utter exhaustion of a week's worth of shorter sleeping hours.

REFRESHING READ

From page one, the book just sucked me in! I believe that's because it was so refreshing. It's been a long time since I've read a good historical fiction (or any, really) and I've missed it. I used to consider the genre one of my favorites, and although I don't read that many historical books anymore, Star Cursed reminded me why I like them so much! There's something about a story set in the past that I really like. They're just . . . different. There's a break from the modern day world that feels really nice after reading primarily books set today or in the future.

SISTERS

I love the focus on the three Cahill sisters! I really like it when authors bring siblings into a story and keep them all as main characters with a constant presence throughout the book. There doesn't seem to be a lot of that happening in the YA books I read. A lot of times, the siblings will be left behind when the main characters do their own thing. This book had a really nice spotlight on all three sisters, though, and their relationships with each other.

INDIVIDUAL CHARACTERS

The characters are one of my favorite parts about the whole series . . . and also my least favorite. Tess is a sweetie. I've always liked her and appreciated the presence of a more gentle and kind sister. Finn is sweet too—I like how he doesn't see like some sort of bigshot or an obviously super amazing guy that many heroes in YA are portrayed as. He's a little more average. His amazing-ness is conveyed more in a more subtle manner, like through his loyalty to Cate. As for Cate herself, I kind of feel bad for her. She has a lot of responsibility sitting on her shoulders, and she tries her best to do the right thing and to keep her loved ones safe—a lot of times, though, she isn't respected as much as she should be, or her intentions are completely misunderstood . . .

Which brings me to my least favorite part of the book: Maura. One of my biggest bookish pet peeves is an annoying, bratty, ungrateful little sister. Those characters are so unbelievably annoying—and if the rest of the book isn't really good to balance out my annoyance, it can actually turn out to be one of my least favorites (or, most likely, a DNF). Thankfully, even though I want to sit Maura down and tell her to shut up and just listen to what Cate is saying without jumping to conclusions and making accusations almost every single time she speaks to her, I still . . . like her character. It's weird, giving how much I hate her, but I see the point in how she is the way she is. Her bad attitude and actions add a lot of conflict to the story, and if she were to be more forgiving or less prideful, I don't think the series would be as good as it is. So, this is one of the rare instances where an annoying little sister doesn't make a large impact on my feelings towards the entire book—she actually adds to the story instead of detracting from it, if that makes any sense.

ROMANCE

I can't write a review of a book with romance in it without mentioning the romance, right? The level of romance is not quite background, but it's not quite central either. Finn and Cate's relationship is a big component of the story, but at the same time, it's not the whole point of it. It sits side by side with all the other parts of the plot, but it never overshadows it.

PLOT

For me, the events in this book serve the purpose of setting up for the ones in Sisters' Fate. Most of the big events didn't seem to have large effects in this book, but I know in the next book, they definitely will. A lot of tension was built (especially between Cate and Maura)—like the tension before a war. It's definitely going to be interesting to see how the events in this book (especially at the end) will make an impact on the events in the last installment of the series.

OVERALL

Star Cursed is a wonderful read with great characters, a lovely romance, a refreshing historical setting, and lots of magic! While it felt more like a set up for the conclusion in the series, it still sucked me in from beginning to end. If you're looking for a spellbinding read, I recommend this series!

My questions for you:

Do you like witch books?
What was the last historical fiction book you've read?
What kind of character is a bookish pet peeve for you?

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