Sunday, 22 May 2011

Review: Once a Witch

Once a Witch (Witch #1) by Carolyn MacCullough
Published: 6th September 2010
Publisher: Graphia Books

Description 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.

My thoughts:

This is one of those books I didn’t expect to enjoy as much as I did. In fact, I read it purely because the sequel was available on net galley, so I figured I’d give it a shot.

The basic premise reminded me of the curseworkers series but a brief trip to Goodreads informed me it was actually written first. I’ve always had an interest in Wicca and witchcraft from a young age, so that aspect of the plot definitely intrigued me. 

I really liked and connected with Tamsin. It’s the first time in a while that that has happened actually, but I loved her humour, and her bitter resignation at her situation. I liked her roomate, Agatha as well. She was equally as funny.  I wasn’t a huuuge fan of Gabriel, the way he was so devoted to Tamsin even though he hadn’t seen her for 10 years? It irritated me. Tamsin’s reaction was much more believable. I wasn’t a huge fan of Rowena either, but then I don’t think we were especially supposed to be. Tamsin’s great aunt and grandma were two of my other favourite characters. The aunt was a bit crazy…but you find out why and her grandma was one of those wise old women who know EVERYTHING. I love those characters in novels. 

I loved the writing in this book, it was easy for me to get absorbed in the story and as I already mentioned I loved Tamsin’s humour. The plot flowed well and I found myself really invested in the storyline and desperate to know how it ended. 

The plot was fantastic, any book that contains time travel is a bonus to me. Like I said, I loved the Witchcraft element and I loved that all her family members had different ‘talents’. They were more varied than the Curseworker talents, more individual. Whilst I spotted a few of the twists, the finer details of them escaped me till they were revealed, and I missed one HUGE clue! The plot was so clever and fairly unique to boot. 

This was one of the cleverest books I’ve read in a while, and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something a bit different. 



  1. I haven't read it because I'm thinking like you did... I don't expect to enjoy it!! Lol!

  2. I really enjoyed this book and I can't wait for the sequel, Always a Witch. I don't remember much though, except that Gabriel was a bit weird in the beginning but I warmed up to him near the end. Great review- I like the length. ;)

  3. I love this book! So glad you enjoyed it as well! The next book is even better! Hope you like it too. :)

  4. You've convinced me-- I'm definitely going to read this one. I love books with 'smart' takes on witches, and I also love those wise, grandmotherly characters who know everything and aren't afraid to say anything. Thanks for the great review!

  5. This is the first that I have heard about this book but I am definitely adding it to my TBR list! I love a good old wise-grandmotherly character, actually there sounds like there is a lot in this book that I would love!

  6. I have this one waiting in my pile so I'm definitely looking forward to it. Thanks so much for your review!

  7. I've been meaning to get around to reading this book! And time travel? I must bump it up my "to read" list! Thank you for the awesome review! :D

  8. Hey Caitlin,

    Arrived at your blog from the ArmchairBEA site. I'm a big Neil Gaiman fan myself, and a lot of what I like to read trends toward magical realism as well.

    If you feel like your missing out on all the free books you'd get at BEA, I'd be happy to send you mine. Just drop me a line if you're interested.


  9. Oh, so want to read this!
    Great review! :)


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