Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Once a Witch - Book 2 - Always a Witch

Always a Witch (Witch, #2)Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After my very enthusiastic review of Once a Witch, the first book in this set by Carolyn MacCullough, I was very eager to read this book. A lot of answers were left unanswered from the first instalment and it was such a pleasant read that one could almost not wait to have more of this author. Always a Witch does not disappoint. It was a solid and enjoyable read that delivered a lot of unexpected surprises.


It would be such a pity to tell all of you what happens next. I will therefore stick, once again, with the Goodreads summary of the plot of this book! Here it goes:

The adventures of Tam and Gabriel continue with more time travel, Talents, spy work, and of course, the evil Knights.

Since the gripping conclusion of Once A Witch, Tamsin Greene has been haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision—one so terrible that it could harm her family forever. When she discovers that her enemy, Alistair Knight, went back in time to Victorian-era New York in order to destroy her family, Tamsin is forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the nineteenth century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the advances of Liam Knight. As time runs out, both families square off in a thrilling display of magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.


As with the first book this was such an effortless and easy book to enjoy. Carolyn MacCullough’s writing engages you and then carries you along on an exciting journey of magic, mystery and history. I definitely liked the exploration of the Knight’s household with all its secret nooks and crannies and all the sorrows suffered by the members of the household. To me it was a realistic world portrayed through the eyes of the characters and it had just enough of a historical angle to make me fall in love with the setting instantly. Tam is a strong character who worries little for herself and cares deeply for her family, despite the wrong that was done to her through the denial of her Talent for most of her life. I like her inner conversations struggling with what she wants and what she feels is right which I found very realistic. I must be honest in saying that faced with the same challenges I would not have been as brave as Tamsin. She tends to find good in people. Gabriel is also a favourite of mine although one does not get to know him very well in these books. He has an easy joking manner which I found very enticing and it certainly lightens some of the seriousness of this book. I would have loved to get to know the characters better but the ending does feel quite final, so I guess we won’t have that opportunity at the moment. Although the ending was very unexpected, it does feel like it was the correct ending to this story at the end of the day. I almost can’t believe that I did not see it coming as the author does leave some subtle hints throughout the books and this left me going over and over the story after I turned the last page just to enjoy the fact that I had not expected what happened in the end.


I really think these books were two short. I felt a bit bereft after the end of Almost a Witch and felt that many of the characters and plot lines could have been explored in a little more detail. Although I like the pace of the books the story does move from one event to the other with incredible speed and really doesn’t give you an opportunity to consider and enjoy the highs and lows as you could have. Although I also accept that all stories can’t be recorded in series of books that last forever and ever, I would have loved to spend some more time with these characters. As a love interest Gabriel was not fleshed out in any great detail and I believe therefore that the love story was not at the forefront of the story that the author wanted to tell. It still left me wanting in some aspects though. This might however simply be just a bit of withdrawal from all the intense love angles explored in recent books I read and I will not put this down as a criticism but merely a personal observation.


I still loved Always a Witch and it did rise up to my expectations coming from the first instalment. I did not have the same feeling of elation I had as with Once a Witch but I certainly did enjoy this book immensely. I will definitely be sure to look out for further books by the same author and am certain that she will only be going from strength to strength in the future.


We might be seeing more from the author but I believe the story of Tamsin is at an end. I will be happy to continue reading about the Greenes in future if we are lucky enough to have a sequel. Watch this space!

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We might be seeing more from the writer but I believe the tale of Tamsin is at an end. I will be satisfied to read on about the Greenes later on if we are fortunate enough to have a follow up. Observe this space!
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