Vee is on a forced mental health hiatus until 16th June. See you then!

Review of Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

by - May 29, 2012

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.

A fairly quick read, Once A Witch is a fairly average story of a girl who was born into a magical family but has no magical powers of her own. Then of course, a mysterious stranger arrives in the middle of the night, asks her to find this big ass clock and BAM! she uncovers family secrets galore. Well, not that quickly but the story was only 300 pages long and I whizzed through it pretty fast.

The problem I had with this was that I simply did not care. I got to 200 pages and thought to myself, 'If all the characters died right now, would a give a rats ass?' Nope, I wouldn't at all. I genuinely wanted one of the characters to die half way through the book, just to make it a bit more interesting. I think the problem is Tamsin herself. She's got the whole 13 year old angst going on and constantly whines about how much she doesn't fit in her family. Except wait - she's 17 and has moved out ages ago. Get over it already! The interesting element in this is that she's a smoker. I have no idea why this is.

And then there's Gabriel. He has next to no personality except to pine incessantly for Tamsin's attention. He's supposed to be her childhood friend and apart from the brief anger when she crashes into him (literally) he follows her around, making random comments to try and get her attention to the fact that he totally wants to get in her knickers. Rowena isn't much better. Her power is persuasion of the words variety - she can get anyone to do what she wants and as a result, she's pretty stuck up her own... anyway.

And then the family secret went a little Twilight (I'm not sure if this was written before or after Twilight). I'm not a fan of comparing books to Twilight but there you have it. I was expecting Tamsin to actually be pleased about finding out the secret but it seemed to give her more reason to bitch at everyone.


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  1. Lol DIE CHARACTERS!!! I got this one in the bargain bin at Chapters for 5$ but the reviews are really mixed so I haven't dared pick it up yet. Gabriel sounds incredibly annoying! Not sure i'll pick this up anytime soon.

  2. Ohh, this book! I remember reading it last year and thinking it was pretty cute and a very nice read, but I had the same problems as you: The characters all felt so one-dimentional and stereotypical! And I was really confused at the end of it with the clock battle haha so it bugged me as a ninth grader :') I'm not a fan of comparing books to Twilight either, but I guess that this one DOES kind of have that feel to it LOL x)

    Awesome honest review, Vickie! :)

  3. Great review! I totally agree! I read this book a while back and I actually thought it was a quick read too! I wasn't a big fan of the writing style and the characters either. I guess this book was just an "okay" read for me. Thanks for the review :)


  4. Hahaha, I'm glad I'm not the only one who actively roots for characters to meet their demise when I'm not feeling a book. I had this one on my TBR, but you've just assured me that it certainly isn't a priority. I will say the UK cover is loads better than the US one! I actually kind of love the art.


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