Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sisters' Fate

Sisters' Fate (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #3) by Jessica Spotswood (2014)

Finally, the third and final volume of this series has arrived! When we left the Cahill sisters, the witches had just caused a mutiny at Harwood Asylum and rescued a large group of women who had been committed unjustly and horribly mistreated. But the witches were divided, and Maura was so angry at her sister Cate, she did the worst thing she could think of - she erased Finn's memory so he didn't remember her. I didn’t know how Jessica Spotswood was going to write us out of this horrible situation. Of course I shouldn’t have worried, and I wasn’t disappointed with the wrap-up of this series.

Now, not only are the witches still in danger, but a fever is sweeping New London and the Brotherhood is trying to keep it a secret. The witches want to prevent further spread of the disease without revealing themselves, but as Sister Inez gains more power the Sisterhood's internal rifts only increase.

Since the first book of the trilogy, we’ve known about the prophecy the Cahill sisters are meant to fulfill. One family of three witches, all with the ability to use mind magic: one sister will be an oracle, and one sister will kill another.  I wondered if that last part of the prophecy would come true at all, or whether fate would somehow be thwarted. Tensions increased between all three Cahill sisters as Tess's visions became more and more terrible and real, convincing her she was going mad, and Cate remained furious with Maura for erasing Finn's memory. The conclusion was both exhilarating and satisfying.

I love the world that Spotswood has created for this story. In this alternate New England, witches have been persecuted so heavily that all women are punished, and greatly oppressed by the powerful Brotherhood. The paranoia and secrecy remind me a bit of the Soviet Union or North Korea, though of course old New England has a very different feel from those places.

Although there is romance, the best relationships in the series are those between the sisters and among their friends. We learn a lot about their friends and their friends' families compared to other teen books, but it doesn't get too complicated. It was just enough to make their friends seem real and interesting, and I think it helps remind us that this is their story too, and not just that of the Cahill sisters. There is an awful lot at stake here.

Sisters' Fate is a strong finish to a series that deserves more attention than it has gotten. I realize there's a lot of competition, but not many trilogies are so consistently good from start to finish. But I do what I can as a good librarian and recommend the first volume, Born Wicked, at every opportunity. (Because librarianship is all about making people read the books you love most, right?)

I hate to place undue pressure of authors to keep producing - and I do think it's enough of an accomplishment to write three really good books (or even one) - but I do hope Jessica Spotswood has more in store for us.

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