Monday, November 30, 2009

Review: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (September 2009, Clarion Books, ISBN: 0547223994)

Notes: Received as an e-book via NetGalley.

First Lines:
I was born on the night of Samhain when the barrier between the worlds is whisper thin and when magic, old magic, sings its heady and sweet song to anyone who cares to hears it.

Review: When Tamsin Greene was born her grandmother said that she would be one of the most powerful witches in the family. Seventeen years later her special gift, her 'Talent' has not materialised. She thinks she's a disappointment and longs to get away from her huge and multi-Talented family.

During the summer holidays she is working in her grandmother's book shop when a handsome stranger appears, asking if she can find something for him. Those in the know, know that Tamsin's family are good at that sort of thing. Tamsin, wanting to prove herself though she has no Talent, accepts the assignment and arranges to meet the stranger, a professor, when they are both back in New York City, she to learn, he to teach.

The engagement party for her perfect sister, Rowena, brings Gabriel back into Tamsin's life. He has been away for many years and they had lost touch, however their childhood friendship is soon rekindled and could be easily developed into something more.

Tamsin's task, to find a certain clock is made easier as Gabriel can find anything. Their search takes them back in time and their action unleashes a power that could upset and possibly destroy their family's future.

I very much enjoyed Once a Witch. Tamsin is a likeable and sympathetic character who feels very real; her actions are understandable and consistent with her character. I found this a quick read but it does take a while for the action to begin. I didn't find this a problem as I was enjoying spending time with Tamsin's family and friends but my slight disappointment with the book is this: the story implies that there will be a big conflict and that Tamsin will have to make a huge sacrifice - but none of that happens in this book. There're some fireworks, but it seems that the big struggle is only just starting. I kept looking at the page numbers going down and wondering if I'd only got half the file. I've subsequently found out that there is to be a sequel: Always a Witch which I look forward to and hope will resolve the plot threads.

Cover: I love the cover. It represents Tamsin as both a student and as a witch (if you look closely at the book).


  1. I loved the book sooo much! Love the author too.

  2. this book rocks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! =3
    & i can't wait for the 2nd one hehehehehe

  3. According to twitter @CMacCullough the sequel is due out in the Spring.

  4. I loved the book alot..... kept me on the edge of my seat leaving me wanting more.

  5. second all that - reminds me of the 'daughters of the moon' series.