The second galley I received was for the book Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough. Which meant that while I had bought a copy of Once a Witch some time ago, I had to move it to the top of the “to read” pile. Can’t, after all, read the second book first. So, I dove into Once a Witch and am happy to say that I am now knee deep in the second, Always a Witch. So far, I am hoping there will be more installments to come! My review is below, again, for those folks who don’t want to be spoiled by all the other information on the page for the book.
While not a tremendously long book, this was an interesting story. Time travel is usually a difficult aspect of a book for me to digest, but it is well done here. The character development, at least with respect to Tasmin, is well done. I feel that I have gotten to know the character so that being inside her head makes sense and I am not left trying to put too many pieces together. I feel the outrage at her family that she feels because they kept her in the dark.
The writing is quick paced. We aren’t really given a lot of down time between scenes that move the plot forward. While I would have liked to see a little bit more between Gabriel and Tasmin, since there seems to be some chemistry between the two, it is nice to see that Gabriel isn’t some bad guy who’s just misunderstood or someone not good for Tasmin (if you are a YA genre reader, you know the kind of coupling that I am talking about). Instead, he’s a normal (although he has a Talent) guy who seems to be nice and just genuinely likes Tasmin.
The story is cleverly crafted so as to give us the potential for quite a story arc later. The time traveling could result in many different story options later. The love story between Gabriel and Tasmin could also be developed much further. If the series keeps up the great pace and the action scenes, I think it will be a wonderful series. I was pleasantly surprised by the edge-of your seat scenes (will they get out of 1939 alright? will Rownea be sucked into the giant time traveling clock with Alistar?). While they weren’t wholly unpredictable they did leave me wondering what direction the story was going to go in and how the characters were going to get themselves out of the situations in which they found themselves. Tasmin’s lack of forethought and lack of a plan when going to confront Alistar and try to save Rowena was refreshing. Normally, we see these grand plans and they run afoul, but it’s much more refreshing to see a teenager with a teenager’s response – to brashly decide to try to save a family member without much of a plan.
My pet-peeves with respect to the development of the relationship between the lead “couple” don’t really apply since the book wasn’t really about the love story – since that was peripheral and not really all that developed yet. In fact, nothing more then a kiss and a few non-dates occur during this book. The story really is more about the magic – the witch-ness- and the story of the families. I am hopeful that we will see a little more development of the romance in the next book (or more, if there are to be more). From time to time, there was a little comic relief too, which is nice in stories like this.
A good story, with promise for additional installments.