Published February 7th 2012 by Putnam Juvenile
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Everybody knows Cate Cahill and her sisters are eccentric. Too pretty, too reclusive, and far too educated for their own good. But the truth is even worse: they're witches. And if their secret is discovered by the priests of the Brotherhood, it would mean an asylum, a prison ship--or an early grave.
Before her mother died, Cate promised to protect her sisters. But with six months to choose between marriage and the Sisterhood, she might not be able to keep her word... especially after she finds her mother's diary, uncovering a secret that could spell her family's destruction. Desperate to find alternatives to their fate, Cate stars scouring banned books and questioning rebellious new friends, all while juggling tea parties, shocking marriage proposals, and a forbidden romance with the completely unsuitable Finn Belastra.
There's one word to describe my feelings on this book: Frustration. Frustration from so many different sources that I can only begin to explain them.
If what her mother wrote is true, the Cahill girls aren't safe. Not from the Brotherhood, the Sisterhood -- not even from each other.
Cate, for one. At first, I didn't like her very much. She just didn't seem like a very three-dimensional character. I was annoyed by how much she tried to control everyone else's lives. I know she does it to protect her family, but something about it just made me angry. In the middle, I started to like Cate a little more. She became relateable, easy to understand. Towards the end, I started to dislike her again - the decisions she makes just made me so angry. However, throughout the entire book, Cate makes some tough decisions to protect those that she loves, so I definitely have to admire her for that.
Cate's sisters frustrated me the most. Most of the time, the two of them seemed reckless and unable to listen. Sure, teenagers are reckless, but I felt like they should have had a little more common sense.
I'm not sure what to say about the romance. I feel like it lacked a little fire - from all three of the people involved. I will admit that both Finn and Paul are great boys for Cate. Rather than a frustrating love triangle where I can't understand the female's reasons for liking one of the boys, I liked both Finn and Paul, in very different ways.
The plot was definitely something that kept me interested. Magic in the past, when it was something so forbidden, is not something I read very often. Jessica Spotswood handled that very well - it seemed so realistic. The Brothers are so against magic that you can't help but be tempted by it.
Overall: Plenty of people have raved about this book, but the characters frustrated me and while the plot was intriguing, I wasn't full invested in it. 3 stars.