Review: Once a Witch

Review: Once a WitchOnce a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Series: Witch #1
Published by Clarion on September 14, 2009
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Time Travel, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 292
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Goodreads
four-half-stars

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.

I just devoured this novel from the first page, which is set in a bookstore by the way (what’s not to love?). The Talents are similar to some other stories I have read, most recently those in the Alcatraz Smedry series by Brandon Sanderson, although he did something quite different with them. It reminded me too, for reasons I cannot divulge, of Shanna Swendson’s Enchanted, Inc. books, which are also completely fabulous. The writing is good, the characters are interesting and the plot draws you in and keeps you there.

Tamsin was easy to relate to from the get-go. Most everyone has felt like an outsider at some point or had sibling issues (although not me, as I’m an only child) or wished desperately for some special talent. She has a bit of an edge to her, which I appreciate for the most part. She sneaks out to bars to drink beer and watch bands with her roommate Agatha. She’s sarcastic with her family. In addition, she adapts well to all crisis situations, trying desperately to make things work out; even though she doesn’t always succeed, it’s awesome that she tries, rather than sitting idly by waiting for a savior.

My one big complaint about Tamsin is the scene where she smokes a cigarette in her room. Blah blah rebellion blah blah badass. I really hate smoking, because, well, it’s awful. However, what really bugs me about this scene is that it has so little bearing on the rest of the book. It seems so out of place. Tamsin never smokes again, nor does anyone else mention her doing so. I can’t help wondering if she was a smoker originally and most of it got edited out. Either way, it struck me as clunky and gross.

Gabriel was totally awesome. His talent (finding things) rocks. I seriously want one of him for my own, so he can keep me from having to turn my house upside down trying to locate my missing remote. (This happened this evening and the remote was, of course, in the first place I looked. Why I didn’t see it, I don’t know, but that’s always how it goes.

Once a Witch was such a fun read and I am eagerly anticipating starting the sequel. If you’re looking for an awesome summer read, definitely pick this up at your local library or book store!

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