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Review: Star Cursed

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STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood will be released in the U.S. on June 18, 2013 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

Published by Putnam Juvenile, the print edition is 384 pages.

STAR CURSED is the second book in author Jessica Spotswood Cahill Witch Chronicles. The third book in the series is currently untitled.

Note: This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Goodreads description…

** Slightly spoiler-y for book one **

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.

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STAR CURSED is the the incredibly exciting, suspenseful, heartbreaking and utterly riveting second book in author Jessica Spotswood’s Cahill Witch Chronicles. It engages readers from the very first line, returning them to the author’s world of witchcraft and magic and to those who wish to destroy it, those who wish to keep it secret and those who are willing to go to war for it.

New characters are introduced, many existing characters return, there is a new setting to discover and layers have been added to the plot, the characters, the world. And with a story that delivers action and betrayal, a quick pace, an intriguing plot, compelling characters and a tension-filled build-up to a shocking conclusion, this second installment takes this series to the next level.

Talk of a new oracle has made the Brotherhood even more ruthless in their efforts to uncover and eradicate the witches. With more and more innocent girls being imprisoned, harsher restrictions being enforced and life becoming even more intolerable under their rule, there are those who are no longer willing to stand quietly by and just let it happen. There are even those ready to take action.

As tensions mount and as the Brothers’ desperation increases, even the Sisterhood comes under suspicion, creating dissension between those who wish to go to battle and those who want to find a less dangerous course of action. But with it still unclear as to who the most powerful witch of the prophecy is, going to war would put the Sisters at great risk. A risk that if they were to take and lose, could mean their end.

And if Cate Cahill is the prophesied witch, she’ll have to choose sides, she’ll have to be willing to step into the role of leader and she’ll have to make sacrifices, even ones that could cost her everything.

Author Jessica Spotswood has followed-up her enchanting first book in the series with one that is just as magical but offers up an even more engaging, more suspenseful, more exciting and more heart-wrenching storyline. She has allowed readers to get to know her main character, Cate Cahill, along with a few of the supporting characters, even better. And she’s given readers even more reason to like or dislike them, trust or distrust them, sympathize with them, empathize with them or feel disdain toward them.

Readers with high expectations for this sequel will not be disappointed, it does not suffer from sophomore slump. The plot is more danger-filled, more complex. The love story more swoon-worthy, heartwarming, heartbreaking. The betrayal far more devastating. The build to the conclusion more nerve-wracking, more climactic. And the ending more surprising, more shocking, more heart-stopping.

All of which makes STAR CURSED a must read addition to the series.

Reviewer gives this book…

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Like In-N-Out Burger‘s infamous secret menu this one deserves my off-the-menu 6 star rating.

On a personal note…

Oh. My. Gosh. I don’t even know where to begin. This book was so out-of-this-world good that there are no words to describe… okay, maybe there are a few words… maybe more than few.

But I think I have to begin at the end. Because that ending did kill me. I thought the ending for the first book in the series was torturous. But that was nothing compared to the ending for STAR CURSED. Nothing.

I mean, I knew something was going to happen. I may have suspected that something just like what happened would happen. The author teased, warned, foreshadowed, hinted, that something was going to happen. But it made it no less torturous. Knife to the heart.

And now I have to wait. A long time. I don’t have the next book in the series in hand. I don’t have any idea when it’s going to be released. STAR CURSED isn’t even out yet. And I’m just dying after what happened right there at the end.

But that wasn’t all that killed me. There was the build-up to the end. Talk about climactic. At some point during the read I started anticipating the “bad thing.” And the build-up filled me with fluttery nerves, nervous anticipation, angst.

I did end up setting the book down so that I wouldn’t have to reach that moment quite so quickly. But I couldn’t set it aside for long. Because as much as I didn’t want to have my heart broken, I just had to know. And now that I know, I want to pretend that I don’t, so that the next three hundred sixty-five and change days will pass that much more quickly.

If it were just the end and the build-up to the end, this story would have been awesome but it wouldn’t be one of the books that I consider off-the-charts. And this book is definitely one of those books that blew me away.

Before the build-up there was all that stuff in the middle and at the beginning. Stuff that made this story the amazing and compelling book it was. Stuff that kept me riveted. Stuff I’d really love to talk about in great detail, but I can’t. Because there is so much that’s so incredibly spoiler-y in this book. Talking about certain characters would be spoiler-y. Talking about certain character and storyline developments would be equally as revealing.

And I can’t even tease about the prophecy, the oracle, the visions. I can’t drop hints as to what happens with characters like Rory, Sachi, Brenna, Finn, Zara. I can’t reveal who I know to be trustworthy, who I know not to be and who I am still wary about.

I can’t talk about just what Maura gets up to. Whether she’s a character I now love or whether she’s one I loathe.

But maybe, just maybe, I can talk about Cate. Who was even more amazing in this book than she was in the last. She was every bit as compassionate and thoughtful. She was just as caring. But she was a little more decisive, a little more sure of herself and her abilities. And she wasn’t as afraid to take the lead when she needed to.

Things did not get any easier for Cate in this sequel. Things actually got quite a bit more difficult. Between what had happened to her in that first book to what was expected of her in this one, Cate had a lot to deal with. And that doesn’t even take into account the increased threat from the Brotherhood, the dissension within the Sisterhood or the fact that a wrong decision could very possibly be a deadly one.

And while I really, really want to talk about the choices she’ll have to make, the risks she’ll have to take, the side she ends up choosing and the allies that stand with her, I can’t. And I probably shouldn’t say anything more, except….

While I anticipated the author’s gorgeous writing, her lovable characters and the amazing world she created, she still managed to surprise me with her sequel. STAR CURSED is so much more suspenseful than its predecessor, there is quite a bit of action packed into the story, the betrayal goes so much deeper, the plot is far more complex. And the ending… shocking, heartbreaking, torturous to the nth degree.

And I just know the next book is going to be epic.

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Favorite passage…

Because all of my favorite passages were too spoiler-y, I will not include one until after publication date.

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This review is based on an ARC I received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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