Born Wicked (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #1) by Jessica Spotswood, narrated by Nicole Sudhaus (2012)
I always feel like it's easier to talk about why I dislike a certain book than why I like it, but in this case I absolutely understand why I loved this book.
As is probably clear to anyone who reads this blog or has ever talked to me about books, I have a soft spot for historical fiction. If it takes place in New England, all the better. But this isn't the New England with which we are familiar, nor is it the world we know. The Western US is colonized by Indo-China, the South under Spanish rule. When Cate and her peers talk about freedom they long for Dubai where women can vote and wear trousers. It's historical AND a dystopia!
I think what makes this book a better pick for me than some paranormals, like The Gathering Storm, is that although it includes paranormal elements they aren't the focus of the story. Obviously, there wouldn't be a story if Cate and her sisters weren't witches, but not many spells are cast during the novel - it's more about the way witches (and all women, when you really get down to it) are persecuted in this society.
Another thing I loved about this book was that Cate didn't exhibit those annoying qualities that plague so many young protagonists. For instance, she wasn't artificially stupid or naive to further the plot, and though there were times when I felt she should tell her sisters secrets she was hiding for seemingly no reason, she didn't hold out for long. Just when I thought she was beginning to act a little bone-headed, she would come through for me.
The narrator on the audio version had a great reading voice and added emotion without melodrama. Combined with the relative simplicity of the writing, this was a good audio pick!
Since this is the first in a series, things didn't wrap up tidily the way I wanted them to, which is why I'm not a writer. (I'm telling you, my books would be SO boring because I wouldn't let the villains be horrible enough nor would I keep the love interests apart for long.) I am only upset that I read this when it was so new. Honestly, I had no idea I'd like it this much and want to read the next books in the series. Now I have to wait until February for the (unfortunately titled) sequel, Star Cursed.