Happy Saturday, Reading Nook!
I've been waiting a YEAR for Sisters' Fate, ever since reading the devastating ending of Star Cursed.
Now that I've read it, I just have to say: Guys, it was SO totally worth the wait. You want to read this book now. Trust me.
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 14th 2014 by Putnam Juvenile
Format read: Purchased hardcover.
Ongoing conflicts between the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood; fractured relationships between the Cahill Sisters, and a power-hungry leader who is determined to win at all costs, means that this is the final, amazing book in a trilogy that readers aren't likely to forget any time soon.
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.
(Seriously. I made a countdown widget and everything. That's how invested I am in the fate of the Calhill sisters.)
So the second Sisters' Fate was released, I grabbed the book - I think I literally grabbed the package from my USPS delivery guy - and devoured it. And let me just say, guys - You want this book and you want it now.
Things that worked:
Readers have seen Cate grow from an uncertain teenager who is unsure of how to proceed as her sisters continue to blossom into their powers, to a still young but world-weary leader who has been given a talent and a destiny that is just really terrible to comprehend sometimes.
Spotswood does an amazing job of continuing to show Cate's gutsy determination to protect everyone in Sisters' Fate, but it's also tempered with sheer devastation at losing Finn at the start of the novel and unyielding frustration at how how much the universe seems to be stacked against her. There is no doubt that Cate just wants all of this to end, for the good of everyone involved.
But at the same time, Spotswood is also careful to show the little joys that Cate is able to find in her life, even in the midst of unrelenting terror. Her quiet admittance that she enjoys healing magic for the good that it brings to others, is not only a nice reminder that this is a young woman with an innately good heart, but also a thoughtful throwback to the Cate of Born Wicked - she's overcome her fear of magic, once and for all.
As for secondary characterizations, Spotswood shows consistent balance and growth for all, particularly Maura and Tess.
Even though readers may be horrified with Maura's devastating actions in Star Cursed, Spotswood also never fails to gently remind readers of the genuine hurt that Maura has experienced in seeing her two sisters move away from her, and how she believes that this justifies her actions.
Similarly, Tess is struggling with the idea that she's the Oracle, but also makes it clear that she's not to be belittled or treated like a child, regardless of her actual age. There is a quiet strength to Tess's personality throughout the book, which underlines both her power and her eventual role in the prophecy.
Spotswood's been a strong writer since Born Wicked, but it's Sisters' Fate where she really shines.
She continues writing in first-person, present tense, bringing us back into Cate's head in the midst of unimaginable chaos and uncertainty. She skillfully interweaves previous story lines with new plot twists and revelations, dropping just the right amount of hints and clues to show how they all come together to lead Cate and the rest of the characters to their inevitable conclusion.
I was especially taken with the reintroduction of characters like Mei, Rilla and Alice, and the introduction of new characters like Alistair and Prue. To paraphrase Erin Arkin's review, these characters all "...had a role to play", but also added a nice new dimension to the struggles of New London. The story has been about the war between the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood for so long, Alistair and his sister add in much-needed insight on how non-witches are viewing the ongoing struggle.
Family will always be at the heart of the Cahill Witch Chronicles, and it shows up in so many facets of Sisters' Fate.
Without giving any spoilers away, Spotswood shows how family can be the driving force behind so many actions - both good and bad - and how family can also surprise you with their reactions in the most needed-of moments.
Even though Finn is operating without a lot of the necessary details as Sisters' Fate begins, his fundamental Finn-ness is still there. He's steady and trusting as he renews his acquaintance with Cate, and generally wiling to believe in her once more.
However, his memory loss does come with the occasional change in personality. There are moments when Finn reacts in a way that Cate doesn't expect - his reaction to mind magic is one of them - and I think it's an important distinction/reminder that Finn is very much his own character, regardless of how much the changes may impact Cate.
Ultimately, it makes his eventual willingness to fully trust in her all that more special. He's doing it on his own terms again.
It's always hard to write a satisfying ending in the aftermath of an epic prophecy - see Harry Potter and the Percy Jackson series for two examples - but Spotswood manages to do just that.
The ending that she's crafted is both respectful and reflective of what all of the characters have gone through in the course of three novels, but also presents a pretty clear path for what all of the characters will experience going forward.
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
*Minor spoilers ahead*
My one minor quibble with Sisters Fate' is that I feel like we didn't really get to see the prophecy full come to pass - i.e.g we didn't get to see one of the aforementioned scenarios fully play out.
All of the groundwork has been set, and we can easily see how everything and everyone will evolve going forward, but without any of the actual result. But if anything, I think this is a perfect excuse for Jessica Spotswood to continue to exploring this world in a spinoff series.
(*Cough Penguin Cough*)
Jessica Spotswood brings us back into the world of New London with ease, quickly immersing readers in a complex, intricate world that is teetering on the brink of collapse. Along the way, she also shows us with beautiful prose, what it means to fight for love in all forms: whether it's the love between sisters, friends or the heart of a true love - all in the face of overwhelming odds.
I highly recommend this book for fans of the first two books, but also for readers and educators who are looking for a unparalleled trilogy that asks readers to consider what it means to fight for free will and the future, and how to find happiness even in the face of personal loss.
Her books are also incredible as well, and I know that I've personally given Born Wicked and Star Cursed to the young women in my life, because I think Cate is a good role model for them.
SO. To celebrate Jessica's general awesome and the conclusion of her general trilogy, we're giving away a paperback set of Born Wicked and Star Cursed. We hope you'll love these book as much as we do, and you'll go out and get Sisters' Fate too!