6 November 2011

Review: Once a Witch...

Once a Witch, by Carolyn MacCullough
Series: Once a Witch, book 1 of 2
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Contemporary
Published: September 2009
Pages: 292
My Rating:

'Once A Witch' was a quick and easy read. Aimed at a younger audience I think. If you want to read a nice book, that's not too complicated, and able to finish within 2 days, go for it!

First I'll talk about the things I did not like. Or maybe the things I missed is a better way to put it. Because I missed some descriptions. Environments and persons weren't very well described. Maybe it's good because it leaves your imagination at work, but I like my books more descriptive. That would have given the book, the characters and the environments a little more colour. Because it was a colourful life going on here.

The dialogues between Tamsin and Alistair, as well as those between Tamsin and Gabriel, could use a little more spice. I guess the whole book lacked a little spice. It was a very nice read indeed, but nothing very special or memorable that stands out.

The story enveloped at a slow pace, but not annoyingly slow. Things happened, but no major events at first. I think about halfway through the book, the story picks up speed.

The farther I read, the more the plot sped up. When something happened to Tam's sister Rowena, I was really curious how and what had happened to her. Albeit the plot being somewhat simple, the story not too complicated, I still found myself wanting to know what was gonna happen next, how Tam was gonna fix things.

Because of the 'action' I liked the second half better than the first, admittedly.

I like the book/plot/characters and promise of romance enough to read the sequel 'Always A Witch' today or tomorrow. The ending sort of forces you too, actually ;)
(Also because I know it's a quick read, I'm not always in the mood for a book that takes too long to finish.)

It's purely the lack of description (details) and the simplicity of the writing/ story /plot /characters that make me give this less than 5 stars.

If 'Once A Witch' were a meal, it would be a simple but pleasant supper, lacking a little spice... A meal that wouldn't linger too long on your brain for its complexity, or the fact that it touched you deeply somewhere because of its originality and boldness, but still an agreeable meal. An every-day supper.


The family gatherings, and 'Talents' (witchcraft related gifts) every family member has, were sometimes really fun. After all, these people are normal people too and use their Talents for entertainment purposes as well. The uncle who allows the littles kids to break the china plates and then puts them back together with his Talent was a nice humorous touch. So was the uncle who keeps (dis-)appearing everywhere out of thin air, startling everyone all the time. Or the poor aunt who kept saying she had lost is, though no one seemed to know what it was she lost, including herself. I could imagine the chaos vividly.

I really liked the scene where Tam and Gabriel attended a party in 1939 to locate the object Alistair desired. It felt romantic being there, doing a waltz all dressed up, magic surrounding them. Magic, because of all their 'Talented' family members, even more magical because it was Tams own heritage she was in. She got to meet her own grandmother as a young woman, how cool is that? Also, she finally got to understand the things her grandmother would tell her later, *why* things happened the way they did, why everybody kept Tams talent a secret, letting her believe all this time she wasn't special in a family where everybody else is. But that's exactly what gave Tam her strength I think, to try and be normal.

And of course the ending scene was brilliant too. I could just see that before me on the silver screen. I didn't quite understand what it meant when Alistair vanished into the clock, but the epilogue clarified things for me. Tamsins family's future is blank, as in there will be none. Obviously Tamsin's got her work cut out for her and I am curious to see what will happen. Especially because that will happen in the Victorian Times. Can you say 'jummy'? ;)

Have a nice day! :)

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