Not Always a Witch

Well, another book read. I am sad to say **spoiler alert here** that the title is misleading. When the book is over, it’s clear that Tasmin will not always be a witch. The pages for both books in this series (which I hope needs to be qualified by “so far”, but I haven’t seen any evidence to support that qualifier) are up!

These books are a great break from the sappy YA paranormal-romance. There’s a little romance between Gabriel and Tasmin, but considering that Tasmin is in the past without Gabriel for most of the 2nd book, and she’s not (hold on to your hats here!) pining away for him every moment of that time (OMG! **she says sarcastically**) this really is more like a YA paranormal adventure then YA paranormal romance. And I like it that way. For those who don’t want to be really spoiled, the review is below. For those who do want to be spoiled, the pages are done.  Enjoy!

(FYI:  Next up: Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler.)

Review: Continuing where Once a Witch left off, we are again in a world where the Green Family and the Knight Family have Talents as witches. This story, like the previous, is about the Talents and the (as I call it) witchiness of the families. While I have seen this in lists as a teen romance, I would not categorized it as such given that Gabriel is missing for nearly three-quarters of the book. One again we have time traveling, a little bit of a love story, a lot of action, suspense, creepiness, and Talents. I was pleased that the action was again fast paced.

It is, however, fairly important to understand the action to have read the first book. Without the background, a reader might be left to wonder what Tasmin is doing back in the 1800s or who is this person Gabriel that she thinks of from time to time. The author doesn’t really stop the action to provide a reader with the background that would be missing had a reader not read the book. When Tasmin Travels back in time and fortuitously finds herself in the Knight household it is evident that it’s not somewhere Tasmin should want to be.

Unlike some other books in this genre, the author let the characters stay true to the pictures that were painted in the first book. Tasmin doesn’t have much of a plan but is determined to head to the past anyway. And once she gets there, she still doesn’t have much of a plan. It was nice to see that she still didn’t change who she was or how she reacted to things. Sometimes we see in this genre that the main character morphs into someone much more intelligent over the course of books or someone who has abilities to plan and reason or react in a more restrained way then they ever had before (you might call it growth – but it’s rarely for the point of growth, instead it’s to make a convoluted plat work). Here, Tasmin is already very intelligent, but brash and reactionary. This doesn’t change.

The author does a wonderful job creating the villains here. There were villainy enough that I couldn’t believe it when I felt myself feeling bad for Alistair. The new characters all added to the story and it’s plot, while most of the old characters are back in our time waiting for Tasmin to return. It was nice to see that Tasmin with Gabriel’s help could manage to save the day way back when – and in a way that didn’t give me the standard time travel migraine. The little we see of the rest of the cast from the first book is just enough – it was refreshing to see that the author didn’t try to twist the story to involve the other characters just for the sake of involving them.

While there wasn’t as much in the way of comic relief here, and it was much darker then the first book, it was still a fun little read. The action is described well and I got enough detail to form the mental movie that I want to have while reading a good book. The descriptions help set the tone here, they don’t seem distracting. The prose and the dialogue feel real. And while there was a reference to the fact that Tasmin at one point sounds like she’s in the 19th century, I didn’t feel a dramatic shift in dialogue to feel that it would be difficult to read, nor did the subtle change in dialogue seem to subtle so as to make me feel that the author ignored the change in time.

I was surprised by the twist here. I knew all along that there was going to be some big dramatic decision – and it happened so fast that I didn’t feel prepared for it. And I didn’t expect it to be the twist that it was. It’s great to see an author with the guts to give me such a twist. My pet-peeve about the lack of the foundation for the relationship might come into play a little here – since Gabriel’s declaration that he loves Tasmin comes without seeing much of the relationship at all, but given how little this book was about the romance and how very much it was about the future of the Green family and their Talents, I’ll let it slide.

It was a good read. I am not sure there is the possibility for another Tasmin/Gabriel witch story, without warping all sorts of things with the way this book ended (but Traveling could make anything possible, right?) but it would be nice if this wasn’t the last we will see of them.


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