Previous Installment: Born Wicked
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.
Admittedly, I was a little nervous going in to Star Cursed. I didn’t love Born Wicked, and was worried that my feelings for the sequel would be similar. I found the first book to be overly slow in places, and it took a very long time for anything significant to happen. There were a lot of social calls, tea drinking, and conversations about witchery in Born Wicked, but very little actual magic. Considering that I read books about witches for the magic, I found it all to be slightly disappointing, even if I did love the romance. Thankfully, Star Cursed improved on every single thing that disappointed me, and I came away from this book with much more positive feelings.
Cate demonstrates a lot of growth in this second installment, becoming more comfortable with her magic and her potential place in the prophecy that’s sent her to New London and forced her to leave everything she knows behind. I loved that we got to see her using actual spells and standing up for herself. While we don’t get a lot of background into how exactly she does magic, there is a definite paranormal aspect permeating much of this book, which was a nice change from the first, which had a more classic historical flair. I also liked that Cate’s journey encompassed more of the world, allowing us to see a new town and the very frightening Harwood Asylum. All of this helped ground the novel in this alternative history of the late 1800s that the author has created, and really brought the book to life.
I continue to be so incredibly frustrated with Cate’s sister, Maura. While she wasn’t my favorite in the first book, I was able to sympathize with her. That’s not so much the case here, where she seems to just be willfully difficult. I’m not positive I understand her reasoning, and that makes her all the more infuriating. Not only is she catty and manipulative, but she’s also easily manipulated by those she wants approval from. I think I know where her story arc is going to take her, although I hope that she’ll figure things out and work to fix her mistakes. Considering the prophecy, though – which we finally get to hear the full text of in this book – I’m not sure if that will be possible.
Tess continues to be my favorite of the Cahills, which is interesting, considering this is very much Cate’s story. Even though she’s only twelve, she is so strong and stubborn, and I can’t wait to see more of her. I was glad we didn’t have to go too terribly long in this book without both her and Maura, as they tend to bring the best (and worst) out in Cate, which further heightens the danger and intrigue. Tess and Maura’s arrival at the convent also helps push Cate’s character growth and really moves the story along at a nice clip.
Star Cursed is an improvement on pretty much everything in the first book. There is more action, higher stakes thanks to the Brotherhood’s actions, and more danger, which allows for an extremely suspenseful atmosphere. Cate is a stronger, more enjoyable character this go around, and I really liked seeing her come into her own. It was also nice to finally know exactly what this prophecy says, and to see where it might lead. With an ending that grabs you by the heartstrings and pulls, Star Cursed is a wonderful second installment of the Cahill Witch Chronicles. I’m definitely looking forward to what comes next!
An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.