Laurie's Reviews > Always a Witch

Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
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Jul 19, 11

Read in July, 2011

‘Always a Witch’ is the sequel to ‘Once a Witch’, but despite having not read that book I had no problem understanding what this volume was about. MacCullough weaves the backstory deftly into this story in small bits and pieces, never hitting the reader over the head with it. ‘Always a Witch’ stands on its own just fine.

This YA novel features Tamsin Greene, a teenage witch who has just recently gained her powers after a lifetime of being the only ‘Talentless’ one in the family. There is a new threat from the rival Knight clan to her family, one that can only be dealt with by traveling back in time- again. She undertakes this task alone, to spare anyone else the bad effects of time travel. This time, she goes to the Victorian era and becomes a ladies maid in the Knight household.

Along with trying to head off the problem facing her family, Tamsin discovers something else wicked going on in the Knight household. While the Greene family of witches has no use for humans, they chose to simply ignore them. The Knights, on the other hand, see humans as playthings and lab rats. Can she deal with both of these problems by herself? Will she survive the terrifying and heartbreaking decision she must make?

There is plenty happening in this book; after a kind of slow start that revolves around Tamsin’s sister’s impending wedding, there is almost no breathing room. Even though the book clocks in at almost 300 pages, it seems rushed. This is probably deliberate, but it doesn’t leave enough time for the characters to get fully fleshed out. We see Tamsin better than anyone else, of course, but even she doesn’t seem quite real and solid. The other characters- Tamsin’s boyfriend, the Knights, her grandmother- are action figures without a great deal behind the action. I think this book would be well liked by very early teens, but older people may well be disappointed by this. I enjoyed it, but felt it could have been much better.

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