Book Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

16101026 This is the second book in The Cahill Witch Chronicles and one I literally finished just last night. When I was done at 2 in the morning I was ready to start writing right that second because the last 3 pages brought different threads of the plot together but also left some major aspects hanging. The Cahill witches are three young sisters who are being raised by their father after their mother died. The setting is an alternate New England with The Brotherhood in control and accusing young women of being witches for everything from disobeying their parents to actually being witches and using mind magic. They then whisk the girls away and no one sees them again, most are locked up and the families are too scared to really inquire about them.

The story is told from Cate’s point of view – the oldest of the Cahill sisters. She had been trying her best to protect her sisters, Maura and Tessa, from The Brotherhood as they’ve been hiding their magic from everyone since their mother’s death. But at the end of the first book Cate had to give up her love, Finn and go with the Sisterhood to protect her true sisters from being discovered. The Sisterhood is made up of actual witches but everyone thinks they are Sisters in the faith and support the Brotherhood. I was disappointed in the separation of Finn and Cate at the end of the first book because the romance between the two was really great against the dreary backdrop of the Brotherhood controlled city.

I’m not sure what it is about this second book but I liked this one slightly more than the first. I think the setting being moved from mainly the family home to the Sisterhood in the city made the danger more immediate. Cate’s sister’s and Finn all appear in the city not long after the book opens and with the reuniting the story becomes more complete again. Maura is mainly obsessed with discovering who the Oracle is – the prophesied witch that would change everything while her sisters are more concerned with the welfare of all of the girls in the city. The Brotherhood’s reach is become more and more weighty and controlling with no one to fight it. When they ban all girls from learning how to read Cate and Finn are stunned.

I cannot imagine a life without books. Without Father’s stories of the ancient Greek gods and goddesses, without pirate stories and fairy tales and poems. Without the hope of another way, of freedom and adventure beyond what we have here and now. How dark life would be.

I can’t remember hating another character as much as I hated Maura. Every time she spoke or even appeared on the page I wanted to reach through the book and slap her. The author did an amazing job at creating such a realist dynamic between all three sisters. Just like with the first book, the relationships are what shine through. Seeing Cate interact with Finn and her friends shape and create her and help her evolve throughout. And holy crap – I can’t wait to read the last book!!

5 Stars

~Melinda

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