I confidently predict that readers who loved Once a Witch will also love the second half of the story about the seemingly talentfree, teenaged witch TI confidently predict that readers who loved Once a Witch will also love the second half of the story about the seemingly talentfree, teenaged witch Tamsin Greene, her wacky, magic family, her hot and talented boyfriend Gabriel and their joint fight against the super evil and humans-hating Knight clan, because it is basically composed using the same elements: - an imperfect and insecure but likable, courageous and strong teenaged heroine. - a cute and devoted love interest and side-kick. - a slightly nutty familiy of bickering but well-meaning witches who provide both surprise elements and entertainment. - physically dangerous time travel. - action and a little thrill. - throroughly evil black witches lacking a conscience and compassion but filling the gaps with cool calculation, greed and gruesome practices like human sacrifice. - decent writing.
For me personally, „Always a Witch“ dropped half a star from the 3.5 stars I doled out to Once a Witch (out of a total of 5), maybe mainly because the sequel is exactly that: The second part of the story, one which did not add new elements, take the romance to a further level, or make the heroine’s otherness stand out – apart from her developing quite angelic traits in the end. All in all, a sequel that is almost as good as its precessor is an unexpectedly positive thing, for the nature of paranomal sequels seems to have this natural gravitation thing, that drags them down, built in. Still, I nonetheless irrationally hoped for
- Tamsim to have more difficulties to adapt to her life in the past (the struggle of nowadays’ people with the customs and the mechanisms of everyday life in past centuries is what makes time travel stories so attractive to me. But Tamsin takes over the life and the tasks of a lady’s maid within a day and without blinking an eye or getting scolded for being clueless.) - Tamsin’s and Gabriel’s shared time not to be wholly consumed by witchy business matters (i.e. saving the Greene family) instead of occasionally letting some hot sparks fly. (I really expected Tamsin, who is different from her family, not to be so hesitant and/or old-couplish. Apart from one misunderstanding (view spoiler)[Gabriel interprets Tamsin’s invitation to her room as taking the initiative to a good rolling in the hay (hide spoiler)], all of the young couple’s actions consist of heroically saving each other, planning together, trying to exclude each other from overly dangerous acts. „Always a Witch“ is a paranormal targeted at girls. And in the end I could not even remember what Gabriel looks like.) - the villains (members of the Knight family) to be less than 100% evil.( Yes, there are some specimen that turned out to belong to the good side, but those who didn’t, were painted a shiny black without any hints of gray.) - Tamsin’s heroics to be a little more real and believable. (Sure, Tamsin did the right thing and it is consistent to show her being courageous, but I expected her to be more afraid, more desperate to find an alternative solution in the end and to be a little more spunky and inconventional altogether.)
I really did enjoy reading „Always a Witch“, but I have to summarise that I am a little disappointed and that I did not feel compelled to write a review in order to persuade all my friends not to miss this book. On the contrary: I shoved writing the review from day to day, getting a worse and worse conscience, because I had been kindly provided with the opportunity to read the book before it was published by NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcout, the publisher. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I think this is my favorite Bartimaeus installment. A keeper. I really loved volume 1 and I enjoyed volume 2 and 3 - although I certainly felt like puI think this is my favorite Bartimaeus installment. A keeper. I really loved volume 1 and I enjoyed volume 2 and 3 - although I certainly felt like punching pomptous Nathaniel the harder and longer the older and cockier he got. Sheban assasin Asmira was a two-side, flawed character as well, but I liked her inspite of her pink "I-love-the-ruler-of-my-country-unconditionally" glasses right from the start. Bartimaeus' voice was even saucier than ever. And the historical/biblical setting in Israel and Sheba added a certain something to the well-adjusted djinni concept. Maybe there will be a fifth Bartimaeus volume? It would be easily possible to let another famous historical figure get in contact with him. ...more
"For pity's sake boy," Auntie Jane snorted as Dimitri shuffled carefully into the kitchen, there's salve for that . Use it before these trousers rub y"For pity's sake boy," Auntie Jane snorted as Dimitri shuffled carefully into the kitchen, there's salve for that . Use it before these trousers rub you raw. Downstairs bathroom. And you lot," she snapped at the girls who gathered round the table as he left the room, "stop giggling. He didn't get in that condition all on his lonesome." Allie pulled a platter of pancakes out of the oven were they'd been keeping warm. "He needs to learn to pace himself."
Please correct me. But what I've learned from the first 30 pages is the following:
- The Gale family is a family of powerful witches whose main concern is to preserve their magic talents. - All family members have grey eyes that change with age. - Each couple produces at least four or five daughters and a son. Some daughters are the offspring of two mothers and a father? - The men have a tendency to switch over to the dark side - All women cook and bake like crazy. - The men choose their mate among their numerous cousins around the age of 20. The only rule is that the age difference has to be less than seven years. The boys find their permanent mate of choice by sleeping around with all matching cousins as much as possible. This results to group sex and "unpaced" sex frenzies on family holidays. And to mild jealousy among the girls who won't accept it if an almost too old female cousin is on a male Gale's "list" of options.
NOT MY CUP OF TEA. I do not mind cousins marrying each other (I have several matched cousins among my aquaintances) or falling in love, but this breeding-program-thing and the sex-as-the-one-and-only-way-to-find-the-best-match-method give me the slimy shivers.
The one remaining star is given for the beautiful cover. ;o)...more
I stopped reading after 86 pages. It turned out to be really too slow for my taste. All those ultra-detailed interior and fairytale-fashion descriptioI stopped reading after 86 pages. It turned out to be really too slow for my taste. All those ultra-detailed interior and fairytale-fashion descriptions were wearing my patience thin and the few things that actually happened more or less bored me to bits. ...more
An unexpected, work-related reading assigment turned up, which I will use as an excuse to abandon this book after 72 pages, although I wanted to let iAn unexpected, work-related reading assigment turned up, which I will use as an excuse to abandon this book after 72 pages, although I wanted to let it simmer on my bedside table for a while.
Is it so bad, you ask? Oh, it's not bad. - I just don't care for bordom-school (oops) boarding-school stories at the moment - especially not for those including blue-blooded royal-bitch-room-mates - the moody, goth-like, thrift-store addicted, I-am-different-from-everybody-else-where-is-my-great-destiny-invite-me-to-a-french-castle heroine, who in my mind looks like Emily the Strange, grates on my nerves - the evil or not so evil sisterhood searching for "The Dark One" promised in their prophecy switched on all the cliché-screamers inside of my head and alerted my suspicion-mode - I wanted a cute ephemeral ghost and got a solid Medici-time guy visited during time-travelling dreams.
Go ahead: buy and read it, but read the description first and forget about the cover. It has been switched at birth.
Nic, don't you buy the book. I'll mail it next week....more
I had read 106 pages when I stopped to admit to myself: "This is not for me". I was getting impatient and started flipping pages to quicken my pace. MI had read 106 pages when I stopped to admit to myself: "This is not for me". I was getting impatient and started flipping pages to quicken my pace. My thoughts drifted to my pile of unread books to determine which book I would pick up next.
Somehow the book is not what I had expected, both storywise and characterwise: It is basically a sorcery fantasy set in a fantastic clone of post-medieval Russia - with harsh guilds, no kindness between neighbors, superstitious people, who crave the postive effect of witchcraft but readily and randomly burn someone when fate or the weather turns against them, a young, ill-fated wood carver's orphan and a proud cat, who starts to talk after said orphan made a desperate deal with a dangerous albino wizard - ultimately good or bad? I don't know -, who craftily pushed her towards the edge in order to gain her shadow. The main note of the book is bitter and sad. Even the nomadic Roma- or Sinti-like travelling folk, who take Kate in when her life is in danger, are intolerant and more to fear than to like. Taggle, the fierce and haughty cat is believably feline, but he lacks the wit and the humor I expected to meet in him. He is definitely no Grimalkin. And Erin Bow is no Tamora Pierce. I know, I know, how could she be. But I so expected to be enchanted, to be roped in, to have to catch my breath and fly through this book in the matter of an afternoon that would have felt like minutes afterwards, that disappointment had to be the only possible outcome. My bad.
So glad that I didn't invest in the hardcover. But ... how do I get rid of the paperback now?...more
Meh-meh. I really think that a bEarding-school story would have been far more orginal than this "followed-all-baking-instructions-for-paranomal-young-Meh-meh. I really think that a bEarding-school story would have been far more orginal than this "followed-all-baking-instructions-for-paranomal-young-adult" boarding-school girly-girl, let's-kiss-the-presumably-hot-and-bad-but-taken warlock, "three-mean-girls-shall-you-be" witchy-washy is.
Please pat me on my back! Finishing this with only skipping half a page now and then took almost all my witch-power for today....more
I can't really comprehend that I am sitting here pressing determinedly the five-star-button - in spite of the first chapters, which obviously have beeI can't really comprehend that I am sitting here pressing determinedly the five-star-button - in spite of the first chapters, which obviously have been patched together rather sloppily and almost caused me to switch books with one click on my Kindle, ... and in spite of the undeniable cliffy. Yet - here I am am doing precisely that and feeling completely comfortable with it.
Really, at the beginning I had the fleeting, horrible impression my paranormal "favorite" Infinite Days would manage to catch up with me. The cruel, excitement-addicted, immortal heroine - unable to feel for mere mortals - and her gang of equally shiny, but worthless companions, who break a taxi driver's spine for fun. I got very angry about repetitive sentences that should have been edited away and I moaned about unbelievable scenarios like an immortal girl hiding a burn-mark from her best friend under a scarf for over a hundred years - in spite of drunken and drugged party nights, shared hotel rooms and beach holidays, or like the same girl being shocked about said best-friend's pleasure at causing someone deadly pain. As if it would be possible to hide a personality this rotten for over a century from someone that close to you.
I held out and was rewarded with 180-degrees-style improvement. From the moment Natasya boarded the plane in order to leave her old life behind, the nasty crinkles smoothed out and the story enfolded beautifully in front of my eyes. And Natasya/Lilja "magickally" wormed herself into a cosy nook of my heart - the one reserved for heroines, who are prickly and nasty and damaged on the outside, but hurt and helpless and lovable deep within.
"Immortal Beloved" could probably be described as a cross between Rachel's Holiday, Secrets of Truth and Beauty and maybe Succubus Blues. It is the story of a girl whose long, long life has made her unable to feel attachment, unable to sleep without "self-medication", unable to decide for herself what she really wants. It is a story of a girl at the point of no return. A girl who turns herself in at a rehabilitation center for wayward immortals, because she vaguely remembers a woman inviting her 50 years ago to come and stay with her should she hit the bottom end of things and change her mind. The rehab plot unexpectedly uncovered some very interesting strings of thought about the burdens of immortality, but also about a fulfilled life in general. That might have easliy turned into something preachy-soppy, but Natasya's own snarky, sceptical attitude and her ongoing inner monologue fueled by exaggeration lightens the mood and gives her stay at "River's Edge" a pretty hilarious note.
I was really relieved not to have to read about the hot-hot-hot love-interest without reprieve. He is of the - in my opinion - hot sort and I began to look forward to Natasya's encounters with him (nothing like enemies falling for each other hard, isn't there), but I was glad that the romance was not taking over the already interesting story as soon as the potential supernatural heartbreaker made his first entrance.
I have to say, I not only guessed the connection between Natasya and Reyn, I really knew when she implied that his face looked familiar. But at that point I did not mind anymore. I was too much enamoured already to care.
So. Same as with Die for Me for instance, falling in love with this book has been an entirely individual process that cannot be easily explained by check-marking off its shining points. Thus it makes recommending it to all my friends a tricky thing. I won't do it to be on the safe side. I certainly do not want to be lynched. But realize that maybe you are missing out on something rather satisfying and heart-cuddling.
I, for my part, crave to read the sequel now. But ... I, too, know what a sequel can do to a lovely story (exasperated sigh). ...more
Actually I stopped after finishing the first book of the three this volume contains. So my rating does not cover the whole package. I shouldn't forgetActually I stopped after finishing the first book of the three this volume contains. So my rating does not cover the whole package. I shouldn't forget that this is a story purely aimed at children, but in my opinion there is not enough plot: Running, resisting, getting stronger, fighting, running, resisting .... Also if I had read this bad-witch-good-witch story as a child, I think it would have been too cruel and too yucky for my easily frightened self, although the descriptions are not very graphic. Among other similar ones there is a scene in which tiny teeth (unattached to anything) eat the skin of the heroine's face. The process is stated, but the effects (how it looks, how it hurts, how the rest is held up) remain to be imagined. However, the ratings of many others, who loved this trilogy as children, show that not every child has that kind of over-imaginative mimosa mind I had. So probably this is worthwhile children's fantasy after all: The good triumph over the bad - trailing a high, but anonymous body count behind. ...more
I have stopped reading the sequel to The Final Empire after 131 pages although I liked it. And if there were not so many other books waiting to be reaI have stopped reading the sequel to The Final Empire after 131 pages although I liked it. And if there were not so many other books waiting to be read, to be ordered, added, re-read, discovered ... I would have read "The Well of Ascension" until its very last page and would have been quite contented with the time spent with Vin, Elend and the rest of their crew. Probably I even would have rated the reading experience four stars. A strange mixture of feelings made me let it simmer, ask for a friend's opinion and finally "set it free" (I offered it to others).
I feel quite compassionate now that the book has landed on my to-swap-list: The poor little, but pagey thing has just become a true victim of consumerism. I have been earning my own bread - and reading material - for a while now and I can actually afford buying books and putting them away half-read - being half-sated, but actually fed up. 20 years ago I would not only have finished it but made it last a few days longer, because the alternative would have been re-reading my favorites and not-so-favorites for the umpteenth time.
Good old times? Good new times? I honestly do not know....more