Always a Witch

Main Characters:

Tasmin – A member of the Greene family who was raised to believe she didn’t have any talent, but then finds out she does.  Her Talent consists of a few things:  she can prevent people from using their Talent, she can absorb temporarily other’s Talents once they have used it against her three times, and she can decide when she wants to let people use their Talent against her.  She is in a relationship (of some sort) with Gabriel.

Gabriel – A friend of the family, he has the ability to find things and to Travel.  He likes Tasmin and follows her back in time.

Althea Greene – Tasmin and Rowena’s grandmother.  She has the ability to see the future and the future she now sees for her family is grim.  In fact, she doesn’t see her family existing at all since Alistair traveled back in time.

Rowena – still the annoying sister.  Surprisingly, she helps Tasmin get back in time, but she seems very put off and annoyed that she’s not in control.  This is seen, for example, by how she makes the statutes of the dogs in the parlor repeat Tasmin and their Grandmother’s private conversation, so she can know it all.

Alistair Knight (aka Alistair Callum) – We don’t see much of Alistair.  Although something he says to Tasmin points her in the right direction when it comes to her figuring out what her decision is and the sacrifice she has to make.

NEW CHARACTERS:

La Spider aka Lady Knight – matriarch of the Knight Family.  Mean and evil is the best way to sum her up.  She is very powerful, has the Talent to move objects with her mind.  She is looking for ways to expand her family’s power and Talents and lifespan, and she doesn’t care who needs to get killed in order to do it.

Liam Knight – Lady Knight’s son.  He is charming and evil.  His Talent is to occupy other’s bodies.  And he experiments on others.

Rosie – A maid in the Knight household.  She has a thing for Liam and she helps him get little children to experiment on.  She helps find other maids too.  She knows something isn’t right, but she really doesn’t care.

Jessica Knight – Liam’s sister.  Her talent is to heal people.  She appears to hate her family and the things her mother and brother have her do and how they make her use her Talent.  She is in love with a non-Talents person and her mother wants her married to a particular man to improve the family’s position in society.  Her sacrifice saves the Greene family and strips her family of their powers.

Silvius – a member of the Greene family.  She can shift into a wolf.  She is the first member of the family Tasmin encounters.

Isobel – another Greene family member. She can shift into a bird.

Locations: NY City.  When is a better question – we have present day and 1887.

Main Premise: The Greene family is being threatened by Alistair Knight and the Knight family.  They want to get their Talents back – which the Greene family stripped them of back in the 1800s.  Tasmin is reminded by her Grandmother that traveling with Gabriel isn’t the only way she can Travel (even though it is forbidden).  Tasmin doesn’t want to Travel with Gabriel because people who stay longer then  few days in the past suffer for it.  And Tasmin doesn’t want him to suffer.  Rowena helps her Travel through the use of the Domani (the object the Knight power is locked up in).

When Tasmin gets to the past, she uses the name Agatha Smithsdale and gets a job in the Knight household.  And Tasmin soon realizes it is not a safe place.  Alistair comes calling  to warn the family but La Spider isn’t home.  When he shows up again, Liam decides he could be useful.  He decides that Alistair would be a great test subject.  After a few days, Gabriel shows up because he tried to find Alistair.  Tasman had trouble at first finding her ancestors.  When she does, she doesn’t think they believe her.  Turns out, they believe her but Thom Greene, the head of the family back then is really trying to decide what to do about it.  He calls Tasmin the harbinger of death – his death.  And she is.  But, he is smart enough to realize that he too must sacrifice himself to save the family.  He is killed in the showdown with the Knight family at the end and Gabriel Travels, bringing him to the future so they can escape.  He then Travels back to the past with Tasmin so they can witness the Greene family binding the power, using Jessica as a sacrifice.

But, Tasmin realizes that the sacrifice has to be given, not taken.  So, she sacrifices her power at the same time Jessica is sacrificed.  Jessica heals her – for the last time she is using her powers, and it is the first time she is using them of her own choice – and that in turn saves the Greene family and strips the Knights of their power.

Gabriel takes Tasmin home to their own time.  When Tasim tells him that she doesn’t know who she is anymore because she isn’t Talented again, he tells her she is and that he loves her.  Finally, it becomes clear to Tasmin why her Grandmother insisted she be raised thinking she didn’t have a Talent – so she can live without it once more.

Other important things to remember for later: It appears that there may not be a later.  Tasmin has now Talent once again.  The Knight family has no power.  Rowena was nicer to Tasmin when Tasmin returned to her normal time.  But there are 6 elements: earth, air, water, fire, blood, and time.  So…  I am guessing that we never know who might come from the future or what impact the time traveling might have.  We might get another book.  I would like to see one.  Most of the loose ends are tied up however, so…  I guess we will just need to wait and see.

Alistair sacrificed his power.  When the battle is over, his dead body is in the Knight home.

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.

3 comments

  1. Hi! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new
    iphone 4! Just wanted to say I love reading your
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    Like

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