Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood


Star Cursed: The Cahill Witch Chronicles, Book Two

May Contain Spoilers


Dear god, Star Cursed broke my heart.

Like its predecessor, the ending of Star Cursed blew me away.  It caused an anguished “No!” from my tight lungs, and made Dean look at me like I was nuts.  I felt the urge to cry.  Then I realized that the final book in the series won’t be released until this fall.  Ouch!  That’s when I did cry.

Cate has moved in with the Sisters, and she is missing her sisters, Tess and Maude, dreadfully.  She remained detached from her peers, not thinking much of her indifference, until it’s brought to her attention by her roommate how unfriendly she’s being.  With a divide among the Sisters, and Cate believed to be the prophesied one, she realizes that she needs to make a better effort to fit in.  There is tension among the students, and as everyone is choosing sides, she needs to decide were her loyalties lie.    Sister Cora is deathly ill, Inez can’t be trusted, and Cate doesn’t want the burden of leading the Sisterhood.  When the Brothers crack down on witches, brutally punishing women for the slightest offenses, she sees how perilous the future will soon be.  There is a war brewing between the Brotherhood and the Sisters, and the wrong choices will doom all that Cate loves.  How can she protect her family, and still make the necessary decisions to save her friends, too?

While I was reading Star Cursed, I didn’t really realize how much was going on.  It wasn’t until I started trying to put my thoughts on paper that I realized – wow – there’s a ton of intrigue and danger pouring from the pages.  Sachi and Rory are outed as witches with disastrous results, Cate is pressured to use her magic in ways that comprise her beliefs, and innocent young women are being tortured and killed as the Brothers search frantically for the oracle.  When women are forbidden to work outside of the home, and then are forbidden to being taught to read, even the Sisters fear for the future.  They bring Cate’s sisters, Maura and Tess, to the Sisterhood, even though they are fearful of the prophesy that one of her sisters will kill Cate.  Cate isn’t frightened of Tess or Maura, and she’s eager to have them both with her, where she can keep an eye on them and help protect them.

The relationship between Maura and Cate remains strained.  Maura isn’t hesitant to use her magic any way she can, including compelling the other students to do her bidding with her mind magic.  Cate and Maura are constantly at odds about everything.  Cate realizes that she’s been hard on both Tess and Maura, so she tries to back off a little, but Maura’s growing arrogance grates on her.  With Maura’s sudden closeness to Inez, a Sister who favors outright war with the Brotherhood, Cate realizes she has to do something quickly, or Maura and Inez will put the girls imprisoned at Harwood in grave danger.  As the two factions of Sisters work towards their goals, Inez prodding the Brothers to war, and Cate frantic to free the girls at Harwood, she and Maura become even more combative.  I really wanted to slap Maura.  I wanted to slap her in Born Wicked.  She is a spoiled, jealous girl, and she longs to one up Cate.  Everything she does revolves around besting her sister.  She doesn’t stop to think about all the girls who are going to be hurt if she and Inez are successful.  Cate fears that  burnings will resume, and Maura longs for that, so that the general populace will see how awful the Brotherhood has become.  Her cold disregard for other lives made me really dislike her.

It wasn’t until the moment of Cate’s greatest triumph, though, that I absolutely hated Maura.  In an instant, Maura steals everything away from her sister.  With no regard for her feelings.  With no remorse.  What a hateful little bitch!  In that heart wrenching moment, Jessica Spotswood broke my heart.  I wonder if she will mend it with Sister’s Fate? 

Grade:  A

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

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.