Thursday, July 21, 2011

Review - Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch (Witch #1) by Carolyn MacCullough

Genre: Paranormal Young Adult (Witches)

Rating: 2 stars
Pages: 292

Summary: 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. 

Thoughts:  Is there a nice way to say mediocre?  Because, if there is, that would be how I would describe Once a Witch. I had had such high hopes for this book.  In fact, I was so convinced that I'd love it, I bought the US hardback.  Now? Well, let's just say I wish I'd waited for the paperback.

There were just too many problems with the plot - and try as I might, I couldn't overlook them. Some of these are rather hard to get into (such as WTF was with Tam's family treating her like she was useless when...), but others will be apparent after only a few chapters. For example, love interest Gabriel?  He was one of the most obvious problems.  Even though he's only been back in Tam's life for about a minute-and-a.half, they act as though they see each other constantly.  I don't mean in the kind of "our love knows no time limit" way, but in the "I know details about your life that you cannot possibly have told me" way.

See what I mean?  Plot holes really do ruin a book - it's like the author/editor is just not trying.

And then there's the supposedly-central save-the-family plot.  To call it disjointed is putting it mildly.  Gabriel and Tam were jumping through time for reasons that were never really clear - they're chasing down an artefact, then they're after her aunt, suddenly they're trying to rescue Tam's sister - oh wait... nope.  Turns out they're just in the 1930s to play dress-up. I dislike people not having a plan; I seriously dislike people time-travelling without a plan.

Bottom line?  Once a Witch is mediocre.  While it's not a complete waste of time, neither is it an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.  I'm afraid I won't be picking up the sequel.


  1. What a shame...the cover looks amazing and so does the summary, but plot holes are so annoying...I'll try it

  2. I really liked this book, such a shame you didn't! Oh btw, your font on this background is really hard to read, I had to highlight it to be able to read your review!

    The Cait Files

  3. @Cait - Ooh dear! I've changed the colour of the font so hopefully you can read it better. :)

  4. I read this one awhile back and while I didn't love it, I didn't hate it either. It ended up just being an okay read for me and I can definitely understand the problems that you had with it. Nice review!

  5. I completely agree with this review - 'disjointed' is a good way to describe it. I thought it was slow as well and I wasn't left with a desire to read the sequel.



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