Review: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCulloughOnce a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
Series: Witch #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 292
Genres: Paranormal YA, Young Adult
Source: Purchased myself
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Rating:

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.

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 artifact, 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.

Kay

Your ghost host at Dead Book Darling
Kay's been blogging about urban fantasy, young adult and werewolves since 2009. She's a firm believer in the many uses of the towel, the science of deduction and other fandom in-jokes. To support her book-buying habit, Kay keeps up a day-job as a science journalist (so feel free to ask her about Physics).

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