Friday, February 7, 2014

Once a Witch

7851761Author: Carolyn MacCullough
Release Date: September 6th, 2010 
Publisher Graphia  
Genre(s): YA Paranormal  
Pages:  292
*1st book of series*

Summary (Goodreads):
 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.


I wasn't crazy about this book, but it was okay (as in I-didn't-totally-hate-it).  It was better than I expected it to be (not by much though), considering how the book hit us with an insta-love right in the beginning (and you guys all know how those irk me!). 

I will *try* to keep this one brief (LOL).  (I adore Brevity! But apparently, Brevity doesn't adore me...)

 What I imagine Brevity does when I ask it to be my BFF 

 So, this book did surprise me somewhat.  After they hit us over the head with both the "Chosen One" thing (which, again, I don't mind if done well, but here, eh) and the insta-love, I was instantly wary.  I thought it was going to turn out to be one of those books.  You know, those stereotypical YA books that just keep popping out these days like buttered popcorn (except not as good).  I know, I know, it's not fair to categorize YA like this, but I HATE (yes, I have a lot of pet peeves when it comes to books! I'm picky, but it's because I care! I promise!) when those books that are poorly written and use the same plot/characters/symbols that's been used sooo many times get a lot of undeserved attention, overshadowing all those really well-written books.

But I digress. (Alas, it seems brevity will escape me once more...)

So the cliches.

We have the "Chosen One" thing, the insta-love (I have yet to find a book where this EVER works), the perfect older sibling, and the Clary Fray syndrome-specifically the I-think-I'm-so-ugly-but-everyone-including-the-hot-guy-says-I'm drop-dead-gorgeous symptom.  Very serious and very contagious in YA. (Now, I'm not bashing insecurity, and I guess she's insecure as a result of her always being overshadowed by her sister, so there was a reason for it, but I am sick of this angle being played ALL THE TIME IN Young Adult. I mean, what's wrong with acknowledging that you're pretty? There is a huge difference between being narcissistic and loving who you are! It is possible to know and think that you're pretty, but not be vain about it.  That's self confidence!  And why does it ALWAYS have to be the guy who tells the girl she's pretty? Like, why does it mean something when a guy says it, but not when other people-you know, like friends and family and people who the girl actually knew for more than a day- say it? )  

INSTA-LOVE.  ARGH.  I know they were best friends when they were younger, but they haven't seen or talked with each other for YEARS. Absolutely no communication.  And there were no hints they liked liked each other when they were younger either.  SO NO.  This does not work.  And telling me their relationship when they were younger in 2 pages or less (much less)? That's not helping ANYONE.

The Chosen One thing is lower on my list of pet peeves for books, mainly because I HAVE seen this work before, and it worked good. Real good.  But here, along with the other cliches of YA and predictable plot, it didn't do this book any favors.  Even if her powers haven't come to her yet (supposedly), we all knew what was going to happen eventually.

The perfect sibling thing could have been a cliche, and it bordered on cliche, but it wasn't cliche, mainly because Rowena was a bit layered (?).  I was going back and forth on whether to call her personality layered or moody because I felt it could go both ways.  She cared for her sister (I guess), but she was a firm believer of tough love?  She was also snobby, but she had her moments. Granted, those moments were few and wide and really random/unexpected, but they were still there.  

There were also several lapses in logic and several things that I felt could have been explained a little more.  To avoid spoilers, I'm not going to mention them, but the plot was so predictable that  I don't think I'll be ruining much if I did... (But that's a total judgment call- well, this entire review is a judgment call, but you get what I mean.) And there's a second book too (which I don't think I'll be reading), so we always have that to explain everything....

As for the characters? The guy was hot (like cardboard), and the girl was nothing new; she could have been any of the hundreds of YA female characters out there. There were so many cousins and aunts and uncles, and 98% were mentioned in name only.  Side characters and the villian were stereotypical and not very complex.

But overall, this book wasn't that bad (at least, not as terrible as I thought it was going to be).  Even with that predictable plot and all those cliches, it was a quick read with an okay story.  This is the type of book to read when you're looking for something to read, but you can't really find good, addicting books. This will fill your time (it would make an okay filler book) while you search for that perfect novel ;).

Thanks for reading!

Rating: 1.5 out of 5


Molly-Mae said...

I was thinking of reading this book, but after reading your review i might put it on the back burner, what books do you recommend?

I've also nominated you for the liebster award!


Kyendwarrior said...

Sorry I took so long to get back to you (long story short: blogger wouldn't let me comment), but thank you so much for the nomination and for stopping by! :)

Before I say anything else- PERCY JACKSON. That is THE series I will recommend to anyone and everyone! (It is based on Greek mythology.)

After that, I would recommend anything by Jenny B. Jones. Her books are so delightful and full of heart!

If you're into books in this genre (fantasy/paranormal), I would recommend the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, Splintered series by AG Howard, and Companions of the Night by Vivian Vande Velde (cool name, eh?.) The first two are fantasy, and the last one is paranormal (it has vampires).

Hope you have an awesome week!