Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

From Amazon: 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've had a few days to think about this book, and I'm still not sure what I make of it -- i'm stuck in the middle, undecided. The premise itself had the potential to be brilliant, but I just felt like something was missing. The slow pacing of most of the novel distracted my attention, though the characters always redeemed it.

Tamsin and her family were a great set of people to read about, with all their powers and quirks. I thought the emphasis on the importance of time, using clocks and watches, was clever, if a little confusing at times. The family history tied in well to the present problem with Alistair Callum, and I enjoyed learning about the age-old war that still haunted these two important families. I would have liked to have known more about that side of things, so that I could have gotten more of a sense of just how much hatred and revenge was bubbling under the surface.

Tamsin's love interest Gabriel was an interesting character, though he seemed to fit back into her life far too easily. After such a long time with no contact, surely there would be some hard feelings or icy greetings? Their interaction and banter was written well, as was the whole novel, actually. I have no qualms with the writing or characterisation, moreso with the occasionally lackluster plot and pacing. If there's a sequel (and I hope there is!), I have a feeling I'll enjoy that more, as everything's already established, and hopefully we can dive straight back into the Greene family's wonderful world of witchcraft.

9 comments:

Carla said...

I just bought this book from the book depository, just waiting for it to be delivered, sounds good.

Book Chick City said...

This sounded like a really good read, it's a shame when books don't meet expectations. Thanks for the review.

Luisa said...

Thanks for a really thoughtful review - it sounds interesting!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

Great review! It annoys me when the book doesn't live up to the premise.

Andrea said...

That sounds good. I may have to try it.

Lauren said...

That's a pity, since I'm really looking forward to this one, and I tend to think you're pretty spot-on with reviews. Three stars is still an okay rating, percentage-wise... but I'll take your review as a warning not to get my expectations *way* up till I've checked it out!

one shelfish blogger said...

Aw, that's a shame, it sounded so good. But since there are promises of well written banters, I'll probably have to check it out regardless XD

Amy said...

That's a shame it looks really good, Great review!

Ladytink_534 said...

I am intrigued with the idea behind the book but a bit worried that the slow pacing would throw me off. I'll just wait a bit and see if there will be a sequel.