Book Reviews

Review: “Sisters’ Fate,” Jessica Spotswood

January 26, 2016
Review: “Sisters’ Fate,” Jessica SpotswoodSisters' Fateby Jessica Spotswood
Series: The Cahill Witch Chronicles #3
Published by Penguin on August, 2014
Genres: Historical, Witches
Pages: 368
Book Depository | Bookworld | Booktopia

A fever ravages New London, but with the Brotherhood sending suspected witches straight to the gallows, the Sisters are powerless against the disease. They can’t help without revealing their powers—as Cate learns when a potent display of magic turns her into the most wanted witch in all of New England.

To make matters worse, Cate has been erased from the memory of her beloved Finn. While she’s torn between protecting him from further attacks and encouraging him to fall for her all over again, she’s certain she can never forgive Maura’s betrayal. And now that Tess’s visions have taken a deadly turn, the prophecy that one Cahill sister will murder another looms ever closer to its fulfillment.

Spoilers for the series and this book in the review. Sisters’ Fate is the final instalment in Jessica Spotswood’s brilliant Cahill Witch Chronicles. Although it was far from perfect, I thought this was a stellar read and wonderful ending to the series. At times things felt a little ‘easy’, but I was able to put my irks aside as I’d grown so fond of the characters and the world.

 “I’ve cast off one sister tonight, but now I’ve got dozens. I mean to make New England safe for all of them.”
– Cate

Our narrator, Cate, remains my favourite of the sisters and my favourite of the series. She had to make some more tough choices in Sisters’ Fate and I actually think she made the right ones. Cate knew what was at stake, and she was able to lead the girls as Cora would have wanted. I couldn’t help but feel a certain amount of pride – we’ve been with her on this journey and it was great to see her come into her own. Even when she believed she was the sister that would not survive, she was willing to accept it and walk into her destiny.

Tess, who I previously ADORED in Born Wicked and Star Cursed was quite different in Sisters’ Fate. Tess, revealed as the oracle, has a lot on her shoulders for a twelve-year-old. Previously cute and bubbly, Tess is now plagued and secretive. Although I wasn’t happy with how her personality changed in this book, it’s clear to see she grew up a lot and dealt the best she could with everything that was forced upon her. Her relationship with Cate is a shining point in this series, too.

Maura… where do I begin? I absolutely loathed her in Star Cursed and she did little to redeem herself in Sisters’ Fate until the final few chapters. And then – when her time came – it was absolutely heart-rending. As the sister prophesied to never reach the turn of the century (I had suspected it would be her) she died at the hands of Tess (who was under the power of Inez) and it couldn’t have been more upsetting. I can’t believe how much I actually felt at her death, which just goes to show what wonderful characters Jessica Spotswood has woven within this series.

I grew attached to the secondary characters, too, even though I thought I hated some of them. Characters like Alice, Rilla and Mei were standouts. Learning each girls’ fate was bittersweet. I could have read about them forever.

 “I’m falling in love with you more every day. I don’t know if they were the same things I loved about you before, but now–the bit of red in your hair. The way you tilt your chin when you get angry, like you’re charging into battle. How fiercely protective you are of the people you care about. How big your capacity for forgiveness is. You are an amazing woman, Cate Cahill.”

On the romance side of things, Sisters’ Fate was difficult. Now that his memory has been wiped of their relationship, things between Cate and Finn are all ‘new’ again, but not in a good way. It frustrates me to no end that Finn’s memory wasn’t restored and the two had to begin again from scratch. This time around, it wasn’t swoonworthy for me. I kept waiting for things to resume as they had been, but they never did. The Finn/Cate relationship was tied up nicely, open for the future, but I personally wasn’t happy with it. Everything that happened between them in Born Wicked and Star Cursed was rendered useless for Finn.

The ‘big baddie’ in Sisters’ Fate was Sister Inez, who grabbed power once Cora died. She was a frustrating villain, but not exactly ‘evil’. She had a vendetta that was briefly explained, but I never saw her as much of a threat once she had lost control of Maura and the rest of the Convent. Her death was quite easy, and it didn’t take long for Tess and Cate to overthrow her. It was a far too simple solution and I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated out of a big finale.

 “No.” I breathe in the summertime perfume of wild roses and feel my heart lighten. “Those rules don’t apply to us anymore.”
– Cate

I would have also liked to see a bit more ‘after’ the fact. We know that New England is going to be ruled by both the Brotherhood and the Witches, in peace, and that a new system is going to take hold with Elena leading the sisters. It’s assumed that Cate and Finn will marry, with Finn having left the Brotherhood… but what about everyone else! I could have sworn Papa Cahill and Marianne were having a thing after that Christmas party!

BUT, like I said – I still rated this one wonderfully because of how I feel about the characters and their individual trials. My experience with this series was great. I was able to read each book in one or two sittings and get completely absorbed in the world. It’s hard to fathom that it’s now over, and that we’ll never see the world that Cate, Tess and their friends created.

If you’re a fan of historical fantasy, I highly recommend The Cahill Witch Chronicles.

About Jessica Spotswood

Jessica Spotswood hearts books, board games, tea, the color pink, theatre, twirly dresses, and bells chiming the hour. She lives in Washington, DC with her playwright husband and a cuddly cat named Monkey. She also works part-time as a children's library associate for the DC Public Library.

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