Monday, February 7, 2011

"Once a Witch" by Carolyn MacCullough

From Goodreads: "Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search—and the stranger—will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant."

When I first started reading this book I felt so gosh darn badly for Tamsin as her story is quite sad. She was the only person in her family (and a large family at that) who was born without a Talent and as such she was seen as the black sheep of the family. Therefore when a man, Alistair Callum, came to her family’s bookstore in the hopes of hiring someone to aid him in finding a family heirloom I think I may have jumped at the chance to prove to her family her worth faster than Tamsin herself did. But then when it became apparent that Alistair was looking for help from Tamsin’s sister Rowena and not Tamsin therefore leading to Tasmin pretending to be her sister I just couldn’t help thinking to myself, “Tamsin are you sure this is a good idea? This sounds like it could end similarly to when some brainless female from a horror story hears a weird noise outside and goes out to check it out knowing that there is a serial killer outside and gets her head hacked off by said serial killer”.

Tamsin was completely different from the female characters that I typically read (ie. girly girls who get introduced to the paranormal world by either their love interest or when they discover that their life is a gigantic lie and they are some paranormal being themselves), with her chain-smoking-when-stressed,-vintage-clothing-shop-lover,-artistic-and-the-likes-of-tendencies and I really did appreciate her uniqueness.

As soon as Carolyn wrote that when Tamsin was biking home and ran into a person who emitted a male “Oomph” I felt like we were in for a treat and that said male would become a love interest- and boy were we ever in for a treat! To describe said boy (Gabriel) in one word? Hot. But more than that he was just such a sweet guy and super caring (I mean how many guys would write to their female friend that they left behind years beforehand when his parents moved him across the country and when he returned he was upset with his female friend for not responding to his letters?)... But I just felt like Tamsin was super hard on him and on occasion anti-Gabriel and more than once in the story I felt like shaking Tamsin and screaming at her, “Gabriel is such a nice guy who is clearly in love with you SO WHY ARE YOU SO MEAN TO HIM? WHY DON’T YOU JUST THROW HIM A BONE AND GIVE HIM A CHANCE?!?” Anyways, Gabriel? Super swoon-worthy!

Furthermore the world of witches that Carolyn created I thought was really quite unique, unlike I have ever read before (all of the various Talents that everyone had? Super cool! I don’t think that there would be a single one that I would be unhappy with having). My biggest complaint (aside from Tamsin being unappreciated of Gabriel and all he had to offer) was the action. I felt like the first ¾ of the story were a bit slow and when the action did pick up it lasted only a handful of pages.

All in all, I do think that it was a good YA read and that the world in which Carolyn has created is super unique. Also, this book doesn’t follow the stereotypical YA plot line (love triangle, disappearing parents, and the likes of) so yay for that!

Rating: 8.5/10


  1. Nice review hon!

    I really like the cover and it totally looks like a great read! =D

  2. Oh... looks like you have your book boyfriend! :D I have to say, I need to read this one. A unique girl and a swoon-worthy boy? Yep, I'm there. Great review!

  3. So glad you enjoyed this one as well Avery! I thought it was refreshing (no love triangle - YAY!) and Gabriel was understated but yet so very swoon worthy:) I wanted to shake Tamsin for not recognizing his attraction to her as well, but I feel like there's a lot of room left for their relationship grow which I like. Glorious review as always Avery, your reviews are always entertaining and well thought out:)

  4. I'll have to check this one out. Great review!

    New follower...

  5. Thanks for the great review! This one has been on my wishlist forever and ever and I still haven't read it! Love that cover!


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