Saturday, October 29, 2011

Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Note: This review contains no spoilers of Always A Witch, but does contain spoilers of the first book in the series, Once A Witch, a review of which can be found here

Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Release Date: August 1st, 2011
Pages: 288
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Publisher
Buy It: Book Depository
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 where she soon finds herself disguised as a Knight family maid.
Although I enjoyed Once A Witch I wasn't entirely blown away, but with its follow up MacCullough definitely appears to have found her groove. I was intrigued when I learned that Always A Witch was going to take place mostly a century earlier in time, especially since MacCullough's contemporary world felt so believable but luckily, MacCullough has a knack for setting and I was once again transported. Plus, with the absence of a love interest I didn't particularly enjoy for most of the novel and a whole new cast of creepy evil characters the result was a sequel I actually enjoyed more than the first book in the series.

Everything I enjoyed about Once A Witch was just better in Always A Witch, the plot was more enticing, the characters more creative, even the writing seemed to flow better. It was also nice that although Tamsin's story is a "series" it is in fact only two books, and this one wraps up the telling quite nicely. That said, although I preferred the sequel, I don't think it would work great as a standalone and that you really need to read Once A Witch to fully appreciate it's followup. I also appreciated the confidence Tamsin had gained from the first half of the story, I felt MacCullough did a great job with her growth as a person and it was nice to see a main female character who wasn't always relying on a man.

My favourite parts about Always A Witch were definitely the villians! La Spider and Liam Knight were both incredibly spooky characters and it was interesting to see how they compared to their distant relative Allistar- who I actually found some sympathy for in this portion of the story. Overall, Always A Witch is definitely the second half of a story not a complete tale on its own, but it was also enchanting and thrilling in a way that surpasses its prequel and that readers looking for a story that is more action and less romance are certain to enjoy.

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