Book review: Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Once a Witch (Witch, #1)Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once a Witch tells the story of Tamsin Greene, a young woman who was born into a magical family in which people have Talents. Their Talents are discovered by the age of eight and when Tamsin was born, her grandmother said she would be one of the most powerful witches the family would ever have. All cool and dandy, right? Not when her family and Tamsin realize at age eight that Tamsin’s magic never shows up.

Tamsin, now seventeen years old, spends her time attending boarding school and works in her family’s bookstore aka magic shop in her spare time. When Alistair Callum, a professor at NYU comes to the bookstore, he presumes Tamsin is her older (and Talented sister) Rowena and asks her to find a family heirloom that he’s lost. Constantly having to compete with her sister, Tamsin decides to accept the challenge, but with disastrous consequences. Alistair Callum isn’t just looking for a family heirloom, and Tamsin is anything but untalented.

I started this book as part of book-tube-a-thon, my fourth consecutive read, and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The book started off somewhat slow, which bugged me a little, but by the time other characters such as Gabriel and Agatha were introduced, the pace of the story was no longer a problem. Tamsin’s relationship with her sister Rowena was very interesting to read about, as it became the center point of the story about halfway through. I’d assumed the relationship between the two of them would be used to either praise Tamsin and be a reason for her internal dialogue or choices, but the book allowed us to take a peek into Rowena’s situation as well.

Tamsin I thought was a good character, not overly whiny or annoying to read about. She was very practical and dealt with the situations as they came to her, which made reading about her a very laid back experience. Gabriel was also interesting to read about, although in general I did find him a bit bland at times. That tingly feeling you get when you read about couples in books was completely absent in my case, and I do enjoy a good romance. However, I do admit that this story needed little of it to be interesting.

The author’s writing style was pleasant to read, no use of extremely big or problematic words for someone who’s first language isn’t English, though I did have some trouble concentrating on the storyline with the jumping through time bits. I don’t deal well with time traveling in general, it tends to mess up my image of what’s happening, but all in all still a good read.

I’ll be starting the sequel, Always a Witch today and aim to have the review of that up as quickly as possible.

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