Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Review: Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

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.

I love this book. If this book were a boy, I would be writing our names together in little hearts. It was like chicken soup for my mind. It was the most comforting and good book I’ve read in a while. It wasn’t laugh out loud all the way through funny, it wasn’t exquisite prose that made me cry – it was just pitch perfect, someone took what I wanted to read most straight out of my head and turned it into a book JUST FOR ME. And, you know, everyone else who’s read it.

First off, when I opened the parcel it came in, the cover is pearlescent – pearlescent guys! I am such a cover whore, I am totally happy to admit this. I don’t let the cover rule my choices; but it is an added bonus if the cover makes me want to sit and stroke it for a while.

Also, the blurb. Go back and re-read that baby. Witches! Handsome Professors! Dark things! And, once you get reading, very handsome yummy boy!
This has everything I want in a book – it’s urban fantasy, with enough fantasy to give me an escape. It’s got sexy boys and a sassy heroine, and time travel! Yeah that’s right TIME TRAVEL.

I didn’t mean to read all night, I truly didn’t, but I read the first few pages, and Tamsin is just such a likeable, clear cut character and voice that I didn’t want to stop.  She’s completely relatable, has a great sense of humour, and has that family that’s so extraordinary compared to her that she just wants to escape. Unlucky for her, I really wanted to get to know the rest of her family.

It reminded me of Holly Black’s Curse Worker’s Series, with the whole big family almost mob style way of thinking (although less scary) the only difference was that we got to see a lot more of the powers in ‘Once A Witch’ which I love. I think I’m addicted to seeing all the different things people can do in magic books – I get way too excited and just want to keep meeting more members of the family.

It’s a fast paced plot that really draws you in, and the stakes and tension remain high throughout. You get a sense of ‘something’s not right’ fairly quickly after the initial set up, and it just keeps building and building until the stakes are so high I wasn’t sure how anybody was going to get out of this alive – it just all seemed so impossible.

I cannot wait for the next book “Always a Witch” which will be released in August 2011 (no exact date announced yet.)
The cliff hanger was just enough so that you felt there had been a good resolution for this book, with enough built up to get the next book off to an awesome start – the stakes are high, and I have a feeling they’re just going to keep raising.

In the meantime, ‘Once A Witch’ is going next to Saundra Mitchells ‘The Vespertine’ on my bedside table, for frequent re-reads and hugs when no one is watching. 

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