"Your daughter will be one of the most powerful we have ever seen in this family. She will be a beacon for us all."
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and on the day she was born, her grandmother proclaimed she would be one of the most Talented among them.
But Tamsin's magic never showed up.
Now, seventeen years later, she spends most of her time at boarding school in Manhattan, where she can at least pretend to be normal. But during the summers, she's forced to return home and work at her family's bookstore/magic shop.
One night a handsome young professor from New York University arrives in the shop and mistakes Tamsin for her extremely Talented older sister. For once, it's Tamsin who's being looked at with awe and admiration, and before she can stop herself, she agrees to find a family heirloom for him that was lost more than a century ago. But the search - and the stranger - 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 past sins of her family, and unleash a power so strong and so vengeful that it could destroy them all.
In a spellbinding display of storytelling, Carolyn MacCullough interweaves witchcraft, romance, and time travel in a fantasy that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.
This book suffers severely from First Book Syndrome. What it really needs is some solid rewriting and a strict editor.
Where's that full stop, young lady?
Once A Witch is a story about Tamsin, who is born into a family of Talented witches. On the day of her birth her grandmother prophecies great things for her, but it turns out, Tamsin was born with no Talents at all. Feeling like a freak and a misfit, Tamsin grabs at the opportunity to prove herself when a stranger mistakenly approaches her to retrieve a lost object.
There are a lot of minor inconsistencies in this book that kind of pricked at me, but before that, let us examine the basic plotline of this novel. This is a book based in Cliché Land.
1. A prophecy at birth? Check. 2. Powers that have not revealed themselves? Check 3. Powers that make her super-speshul and powerful when they do manifest? Check 4. A purpose that includes saving the world/her family? Check 5. A hot guy who helps her fulfill her destiny while falling in love with her almost instantly? Check 6. A bad guy who is the force of darkness with no shades of grey? Check
And of course there is the sister who is so pretty and perfect, she makes our (secretly prettier) heroine feel inferior. Rowena, the sister, is one of the most TSTL characters I have ever come across. She meets a man who obviously makes her sister uncomfortable, and insists on dragging him to her uncle's house and flirting with him and showing him all very valuable antiques in said empty house? Why is common sense such a rare find in YA books?!
And there is one scene where Hot Guy tells our heroine that she has only told him about two hundred times that her sister is a troll. HOw? Where? When? This guy went away when she was seven years old, and reappeared only two days ago! They haven't had any conversation about her sister! It's a minor detail sure, but it niggles.
This whole not-being-in-contact for ten years also makes the romance very implausible. I've met childhood friends after several years myself, and we tend to treat each other like polite acquaintances, not fall instantly in love!
Also, Tamsin's grandmother and family keep her Talent from her for no good reason that I can fathom. Sure, her grandmother says if she knows about her talent, things will turn out differently, but how? There is no explanation of why telling her about her powers would have been detrimental to the situation.
And then there is the time travel. Time is a tricky, delicate subject, not something beginners should be playing around with. MacCullough's version of time travel and its consequences is as limp as week-old lettuce. And by the way, Ms. MacCullough, I teach dance and if there's one thing I know, it's that nobody magically picks up the waltz without at least some basic instruction, no matter how good your partner is. Twirling across a dance floor the first time you waltz? Not happening.
I know I've been ranting, but Once A Witch is not bad, really. It's fast-paced and a good, light read, even if it's nothing noteworthy. It gets about 2.5 stars in my book, but I'm giving it an extra half star for the female MC smoking. I know, I know, it's bad for you and you shouldn't put it an a YA book, yadda yadda, but I live in a country where men can smoke like a chimney but women smoking garners 'you're the devil' looks. So I'm always not-so-secretly cheering for women smokers. It's her lungs, goddamit!
I have to say I was pretty surprised at how much I liked this book. I've been reading a lot of mediocre teen books lately so I didn't have my hopes up too high when I started this one. Thankfully, it was a really great book!
Tamsin's family is a group of witches, they each have Talents that manifest at around the age of eight. Unfortunately for Tamsin though, her Talent never manifests, but her older sister Rowena is one of the most powerful of the family. Tamsin's forced to live in her sister's shadow, always feeling like an outsider.
Then one day a professor comes in to the family's bookstore where Tamsin is working and asks her to find an object for him. He's heard that Tamsin's family has a knack for finding lost things. The professor mistakes Tamsin for her sister and asks her to find a special object for him. Not being able to say no, Tamsin takes on the task even though she doesn't have the Talent to do so.
Fortunately for Tamsin though, a childhood friend, Gabriel, comes back to live with her family and his Talent is finding lost objects. He agrees to help her and they set upon locating what the professor asked her to find, but is it really something that should be found?
One of the main things I liked about this novel was that each of the witches have special powers. It's kind of like wicca and X-Men combined, strangely enough. One witch can persuade anyone to do anything with their voice, another can freeze people, and yet another can control fire. And the Talents are handled in a way that's not cheesy at all.
Tamsin herself is a great heroine. She's spunky and smart, and even though she has her differences with her family, especially her sister, she still loves them and cares for them. Her rebellious nature stems from always feeling like the black sheep of the family, and she really just wants to belong with the rest of them.
I really liked the whole mystery within the story and I was increasingly curious as to how everything would play out. You can kind of tell how things will go but you're still left wondering at times.
Honestly, this book caught me by surprise. I wasn't expecting much but it turned out this was a really engaging read. I'm hoping the author is going to write a sequel soon, because I can't wait to find out what's going to happen next!
Once a Witch (Witch #1), Carolyn MacCullough 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. تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و هفتم ماه ژوئن سال 2016 میلادی عنوان: همیشه یک ساحر: جلد اول: روزگار یک ساحره؛ نویسنده: کارولین مک کلاگ؛ مترجم: کیارش شفیعییان؛ ژانر: فانتزی، جادوگری، رومنس؛ تعداد صفحات: 278؛ خلاصه داستان: «تامسین»، در یک مدرسه ی شبانه روزی، به دور از خانواده ی خویش، که همگی آنها جادوگر هستند، زندگی میکند؛ حتی پسردایی و دختر داییها هم، موهبت ویژه ی خود را دارند، «تامسین» استثناست. با اینکه مادربزرگ او در زمان تولدش، پیشگویی کرده که او یکی از نیرومندترینها خواهد بود. اما با اینهمه «تامسین»، هیچ موهبتی ندارد، پس خود را از خانواده ی خویش جدا میداند. تا اینکه پروفسوری جوان، او را با خواهر بسیار با استعدادش «رووینا»، اشتباه میگیرد، و «تامسین» میپذیرد، تا ارث خانوادگی پروفسور را، برایش پیدا کند، غافل از اینکه …؛ ا. شربیانی
This book is about Tamsin who is born into a family with great expectations. They are all Talented meaning that they all have specific powers that they are able to use. Her grandmother predicts that she will be the strongest and most powerful Talented witch. Her family is ecstatic and expect the best from her. They are disappointed to realize that she has no powers. Feeling like an outsider, she tries to stay away from her family and be like a normal 17 year old girl. This ends when she is at her family business and a case of mistaken identity arises. She feels that this is her one opportunity to show her family that she i useful and is determined to find this person's lost heirloom.
While reading this book the second time and being much wiser (only slightly) I realize that this book is kind of cliche. Let's see what that means:
More detailed list:
More powerful elder sister? Yep. Attractive former best friend who she'll fall for? Yep. Typical bad and power-hungry guy? Yep. Unlikely hero in the beginning? Yep. Turns out to be a superhero? Yep. And...having to live up to high expectations? Yep.
Now let's go through them.
Her old sister Rowena is seemingly perfect. She is beautiful, powerful, and has everything that Tamsin wants. Rowena likes to make Tamsin feel bad or uncomfortable. A main example in the book is when she shows a complete stranger their house while making a show of causing Tamsin discomfort.
Hot Ex-Best Friend is the typical character that Tamsin would fall for. Even though he wasn't around for a while, they both have instantaneous feelings for each other after being away for many years. This was a little doubtful but it was still pretty well done.
The bad guy seemed pretty obvious but I'm not going to say any more about that just in case you don't see that. He uses Tamsin's family hoping to get more powerful for himself and get back at them. He is slightly insane sounding (typical) and will stop at nothing.
Without these typical components, I feel that the book would have been a little better and been less predictable.
Tamsin, in the beginning, is a typical teenager and moody. She tries to emphasize what her family has done to her even though it isn't that bad.
There was a lot of action in this book along with some suspense. The awesome time-travel helped this. They were always concerned about what the consequences would be but they acted anyway.
The characters were witty and very funny. I liked Gabriel since he did genuinely care about Tamsin even though he wouldn't always agree with her.
Tamsin was a great heroine. She was able to take care of herself.
She was smart and calm during some dealings with the villain. Even though she talks bad about her family, she loves them and will do anything to take care of them. There is a coming-of-age on her part since she changes her views and powers through out the book. She goes from a winy teenager to a mature young woman throughout the book.
It does lead into another book that I've already read but will re-read since they are still good books the second time around.
The idea of the story was excellent. I have to admit, the writer used her imagination very effectively for the fantasy elements. But, other than that, there was nothing in the book that I liked very much, and I didn't find anything here very enjoyable either. Still, I finished the book because it's not my usual style to leave it in the middle. And I had to struggle a lot to understand its confusing sentences. Seriously, it needed a lot of editing.
Despite a promising start, this book really didn't turn out very good for me. I had a hard time swallowing the resolution, since it didn't involve any measure of apology on the part of her family for estranging her all those years. One moment she's the bitter black sheep with no measure of witchy Talent, the next she is the most powerful witch of them all, ready to defend her family with her life despite the perpetuated lies they used to alienate her since she was 8 years old. The book seemed to be headed in a certain moral direction, one which celebrated individuality rather than following blindly in the footsteps of our ancestors, but in its stead there seemed a message that our destinies are tied whether we like it or not and, in effect, we don't actually have a choice in the things we do. Perhaps others will get something different from this book, but for me it was a major disappointment. I also felt the romance was more effectual when both main characters were sharing in their feelings of seclusion due to their own opposite differences. It was an interesting dynamic that the ending destroyed. While I know a story that starts out with a witch foretold to be most powerful, but who shows no signs of such, will inevitably gain the powers despite the delay... I kind of wanted it to go in the other, more unique direction. As a result I finished the book feeling emotionally hollow rather than fulfilled.
Honestly, I don’t have too much to say about this one. The story was nice enough, I liked the characters as well as the whole gift concept, but somehow I can’t seem to find anything to gush or complain about.
When I first started reading I got really excited since the plot moves at a really fast pace and I found myself being glued to the pages. I only stopped because I had already spent the better part of my evening reading and this annoying thing called real life kept demanding my attention. Strangely enough, when I picked up the book again the next day I wasn’t able to regain the same level of excitement as I had felt the day before. I assume that if I had read the book in one go (as some of my booker friends did) I would have been captivated by the fast-moving plot, the sweet romance and the likeable characters and probably would have ended up rating it 4 stars. However, I did take a break and after I had taken council with my pillow, I found that I didn’t really care about how the story would end. I didn’t feel the need to pick up my book again and continue reading. As my friend Olivia once said so perfectly, I wouldn’t have gone looking for my book if I had accidentally misplaced it somewhere.
This was great! I like Tamsin and Gabriel a lot (a little more action would have been nice) but if I had a sister like Rowena I'd be in jail before my thirteenth birthday. *mumbles condescending bitch*
Tamsin is a witch that’s not witch. The Talentless daughter of a powerful magical family she would prefer to escape. And she has escaped—at least a little, in her dorm at prep school.
But when a dark and mysterious stranger asks her to FIND a clock, Tamsin tells a fib.
She claims she can find it.
And it’s all downhill from there. Well, almost all. There is Gabriel, the young man from her past who seems not at all disturbed by the fact that she never developed her powers. And not too disturbed by the idea of breaking the rules in order to take her back through time. And who happens to have a Talent for FINDING things.
I really liked the premise of Once a Witch, and Tamsin’s frustration at being the “Talentless One” in her family. The other characters were a lot of fun as well: Agatha, the “insightful” roommate; Rowena, the snarky older sister; and Aunt Beatrice, who has LOST it. Whatever it is.
Although Carolyn had a few novels under her belt already, Once a Witch was my first experience with her writing, and I’m looking forward to more.
Tamsin was a very relatable character. Feeling like you don’t quite fit in with your family or that you’ll never live up to their standards is something that I remember struggling with myself. I loved the dynamics of her family and how even though it was so huge everyone was close in their own ways. It was refreshing to read about a “normal” happy and loving family even if they were witches! Characterization was great, even with the secondary characters. I would have liked to seen the relationship between Gabriel and Tamsin a little more developed. I know they were supposed to have a history, but it still felt like there was something missing. Although, I did enjoy the comic relief that Gabriel provided.
The plot was interesting... um I mean, engaging. I don’t think I’ll ever say interesting again after reading this book! Anyway, the plot was engaging! A little mystery, a dash of romance, all rolled up into a ball of intrigue! Delivers one magical novel!
Overall, it was just fun . A feel good, can’t wait for the next one, kind of read.
Okay first off… I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK!!! I sat down to read it last night but was interrupted so the first chance I got today I started. I went so far as to not even put it down to blow dry my hair making this a very bad hair day because I got completely distracted by the book and so sucked in that I blow dried my hair until it was just a little too dry. This book was very well written and I have to admit I am impressed by the author. It was such a smooth read and as you breeze through the pages you fall more and more in love with not only the fun loving characters and all their quirky characteristics and abilities but with her writing style.
This is such a wonderful story and I am looking forward to a sequel! There is just a little bit of everything in it. Romance, hate, sibling rivalry and of course the fantasy essence the story weaves so beautifully. I look forward to reading more novels by Carolyn MacCullough. If all of her characters are as easy to relate to and lovable as Tamsin then she is sure to bring us many more enjoyable YA novels. I do believe this is the perfect novel to have started out my year and hope you all will read it too and enjoy it equally as much as I did.
Wowzers, this book moves at breakneck speed. There were a lot of characters, a lot of powers, a ton of plot, and Carolyn MacCullough packed it all into a shorter book. Did I enjoy it? Definitely. I just wish it was about 50 pages longer and unraveled at 70-75% of the current pace.
I have no idea why did I give this book 3 stars when I first read it... because it was amazing! I started it a few hours ago and I couldn’t put it down! I mean... I have to go to work in a few hours, but this didn’t stop me from finishing the book, because it was way more interesting than I remembered. Can’t wait to read the second book tomorrow!
Bagian awal novel ini tidak memberikan sensasi kejut yang hampir membuat saya berhenti karena bosan. Apalagi dari segi kalimat per kalimatnya terasa sulit dicerna otak saya yang pas-pasan ini. Entahlah, apakah dari novel aslinya memang sulit ataukah tersebab gaya penerjemahannya. Saya tak tahu. Yang jelas, memang ada sedikit ganjalan ketika menyimak rangkaian kalimatnya. Banyak sekali adegan yang dibuat dengan kata berulang:
...meliuk-liukkan jari-jari tangannya dalam gerakan-gerakan rahasia, berkomat-kamit dalam bahasa yang hanya diketahui olehnya saja.
Liuk-liuk, jari-jari, gerakan-gerakan, komat-kamit...hmm, begitu banyak kata berulang dalam satu baris kalimat saja. Dan, hal tersebut terjadi hampir di banyak bagian novel ini. Saya jadi kepengin mengecek naskah aslinya, apakah adegan tersebut memang berulang. Just curious.
Untunglah, saya tidak jatuh dalam kebosanan yang berkelanjutan. Begitu sampai pada adegan Tamsin, Rowena, dan Alistair dipertemukan dalam satu scene, suasana mencekam dunia sihir kuno mulai menyedot perhatian saya. Dimulai dari situlah, Once a Witch menyihir saya hingga ke lembar halaman terakhirnya. Beruntung, saya memutuskan untuk membeli novel Young Adult yang diterjemahkan dan diterbitkan oleh Ufuk yang harganya dipotong 40% ini di Indonesia Book Fair 2011 beberapa waktu lalu.
Pada saat ini, menemukan cerita Young Adult bertema paranormal atau supranatural dengan taburan tokoh-tokoh dunia dongeng: vampir, werewolf, peri, shifter, menjadi sangat mudah. Namun, menemukan novel paranormal atau supranatural dengan racikan baru lah yang susah. Bagi saya, Carolyn berhasil menemukan ramuan baru dengan membangun sebuah dunia sihir kuno yang suram, mencekam, dan sulit ditebak bagaimana ujungnya. Meskipun tidak terlihat adanya makhluk-makhluk aneh dunia ghaib, namun beberapa unsur fantasy mampu menjaga intensitas ceritanya.
Kisah tentang penyihir ber-Talenta, perjalanan melintas waktu, perjanjian berdarah, pertarungan hidup-mati antara penyihir putih dan penyihir hitam, adalah unsur-unsur fantasy yang cukup untuk membawa imajinasi saya bergentayangan menembus batas-batas logika dan rasionalitas. Meskipun, premisnya tetaplah sama, penyihir putih dijamin menang, namun Carolyn mampu menjaga konfliknya agar ending tidak berakhir dengan mudah. Ia menyelipkan twist di sana-sini yang bikin saya gemes. Dan, saya yang sudah menyadari bahwa buku ini memiliki sekuel tidak lagi merasa canggung begitu ending dibuat menggantung.
Namun, meskipun berhasil membuat ramuan baru, toh sebenarnya hal tersebut bukanlah hal yang sepenuhnya baru. Tapi, saya tak akan menghakiminya. Pada kondisi saat ini, saya cenderung mengabaikan kebaruan cerita. Apabila ketika membaca merasa menemukan sesuatu yang baru ya... “alhamdulillah ya, sesuatu banget..” tapi kalau tidak ada yang baru ya nggak papa, lha penulis dan buku yang terbit saat ini sudah jutaan, wajar saja jika ada satu-dua adegan atau bahkan benang merah yang hampir sama satu dengan yang lain. Asal tidak secara terang-terangan menjiplak saja. Di novel ini, saya kebayang serial Heroes, serial X-Men, Harry Potter, bahkan Vampire Academy. Ya sudahlah, dinikmati saja.
Tokoh Tamsin dengan mudah menarik perhatian. Dia yang diprediksikan oleh sang nenek akan menjadi yang paling kuat di antara keluarganya justru tidak terlihat tanda-tanda bahwa ia memiliki Talenta luar biasa. Di sini, bayangan saya meluncur pada sosok Harry Potter yang baru menyadari bahwa dirinya adalah seorang penyihir ketika disambangi Hagrid dan diundang bersekolah ke Hogwarts. Tamsin, meski dengan jalan yang berbeda, hampir memiliki garis nasib yang sama dengan Harry Potter, bahwa pada akhirnya dia tahu dia juga ber-Talenta. Bahkan, sesuai dengan ramalan, ia memiliki Talenta yang luar biasa yang diincar oleh sang penyihir hitam.
Karakter Gabriel sangat cocok disandingkan dengan Tamsin. Gelenyar asmara di antara mereka berhasil membumbui alur maju mundur yang disusun oleh Carolyn sehingga tak jarang menerbitkan sesimpul senyum di bibir dan keinginan untuk bilang, “ohhh...co cwittt...” dengan gaya Fitrop.
Pada akhirnya, ending menggantung memang bikin nanggung. Saya terpaksa harus menunggu buku keduanya untuk mengetahui kelanjutan kisah ini. Apakah akan semakin suram ataukah akan ada banyak sisi cerah yang dihadirkan oleh Carolyn. Dan, by the way, ini akan jadi berapa seri? Trilogi? Tetralogi? Apa banyak-logi? Semoga cukup beberapa seri saja.
Kelemahan mendasar dari novel ini, bagi saya, adalah kerumitan kalimat-kalimatnya. Termasuk gaya pengulangannya sebagaimana yang saya sebutkan sebelumnya. Nanti saya coba bandingkan dengan edisi bahasa Inggrisnya deh.
Konflik utama baru menyentuh beberapa karakter saja, padahal konflik tersebut berpotensi menjadi sangat besar, sebesar ancaman Voldemort bagi dunia sihir Harry Potter. Di novel ini, ancaman itu masih terbatas pada keluarga Tamsin dan beberapa karakter selingan di lingkungan mereka. Saya berharap konflik berkembang secara signifikan di buku berikutnya.
Saya sudah menyiapkan diri untuk menemukan typo ketika membaca novel ini, berdasar pengalaman membaca novel produksi penerbit ini, tapi saya tetap saja terkejut dengan jumlah temuan saya, satu strip post-it penanda typo saya habiskan untuk novel ini. Berikut adalah beberapa temuan typo tersebut:
(hlm 9, 90, 220) tanda baca titik (.) tidak ada (hlm 16) ras = rasa (hlm 30) menggeluyur = mengeluyur (berkeliaran = kata dasar keluyur?) (hlm 40) terselip tanda baca (?) yang tidak perlu (hlm 42) ...cokelat. “kesukaanmu,” kata Silda.... huruf k pada kata kesukaanmu harusnya kapital (hlm 64) Mendadak, ibuku mendadak muncul.... redundansi kata “mendadak” (hlm 68) seksama = saksama (hlm 90) pertam = pertama (hlm 121, 127) konsistensi penulisan frekuensi ke dua dan kedua (belum tahu juga sih, beda penggunaan di antara keduanya) (hlm 126) Bagaimana kalau kita benar-benar, benar-benar hati-hati? ...redundansi kata benar-benar. (hlm 132) Tidak, dialah mendekat dan mengajakku menarikan dansa itu. ....lebih enak terdengar jika diselipkan kata “yang” di antara kata “dialah” dan “mendekat”. (hlm 141) bebisik = berbisik (hlm 157) gosokkan = gosokan (hlm 158) ...hampir terlompat keluar dari kulitku saat sesuatu berbisik di lenganku... #eh? Berbisik itu bukannya kategori indera pendengaran ya? Berbisik di kulit? Maksudnya apa? (hlm 169) ...keberatan untuk untuk naik kereta, tapi ibuku... redundansi kata “untuk”. (hlm 195) dipenuh = dipenuhi (hlm 239) ...yang marah muncul ke di lengannya. ....redundansi kata “ke”. (hlm 242) ��Toh aku tidak sedang sedang menggunakan... redundansi kata sedang. (hlm 260) mantra itu jangkauan tidak terlalu jauh. ...sebaiknya ditambahkan “nya” pada kata “jangkauan”. (hlm 264) menengggelamkan = menenggelamkan (hlm 280) merubah = mengubah (hlm 292) menganggantungkannya = menggantungkannya (hlm 302) Tam, aku ada bar di Lion’s Head. ...melihat konteks kalimat yang tidak merujuk pada kepemilikan bar tersebut, maka sebaiknya diberikan tambahan kata “di” di depan kata “bar”. (hlm 303) Agatha terkikik-kikik sedikit, Agatha-nya kikikan khas Agatha dengan dua nada tinggi.... kalimat ini rancu, saya tak paham maksudnya. Mungkin lebih baik kata “Agatha-nya” dihilangkan saja. (hlm 309) Gabriel memberikan menanggapi dengan suara datar... lagi-lagi kalimat rancu, lebih baik dihilangkan kata “memberikan” atau mengubah kata menanggapi menjadi “tanggapan” atau “respons”. (hlm 319) ...dan aku melempar pisau ke itu ke pojok ruangan.... redundansi kata “ke”, sebaiknya “ke” yang pertama dihilangkan. (hlm 322) ...membuka mulutku. tak ada kata. Aku tidak... huruf t pada kata “tak” seharusnya kapital. (hlm 337) tengah-tenah = tengah-tengah (hlm 359) cengeramannya = cengkeramannya
Sebenarnya masih ada beberapa lagi typo setelah halaman 359 itu, namun dikarenakan persediaan post-it saya habis, saya tak lagi kuasa menandainya sehingga terlupa di mana saja typo tersebut. Cukup mengganggu, bagi saya. Karena lumayan banyak typo-nya. Dan, sudah pasti lewat dari batas toleransi typo yang saya tetapkan (5 kesalahan). Semoga saja, pada cetakan selanjutnya (jika akan dicetak ulang) atau novel lain terbitan Ufuk dapat ditingkatkan kualitas cetakannya.
Yang saya salut sih, Ufuk ini sangat memanjakan pembaca dengan memberikan keadilan bagi pembaca Indonesia untuk mendapatkan cover sesuai buku aslinya (versi lain). Hampir beberapa buku terjemahan diterbitkan dengan cover aslinya. Dan, saya kebetulan memang menyukai cover-cover novel Young Adult versi aslinya.
Baiklah, ini hanyalah sekadar review subjektif saya. Bagi Anda penyuka Young Adult, tak ada ruginya mengoleksi buku ini. Selamat membaca, kawan!
A fine urban fantasy about a family of witches, told from the POV of Tamsin, the only member of the family without powers. When she's mistaken for her super Talented (with a capital T) sister Rowena, she tries to prove herself to her family by finding a long lost family heirloom for a handsome young professor. Of course, mayhem ensues.
I wanted to love this a little more than I did. I liked it fine. But I love the "families of witches" plot line, and was super excited to read about Tamsin and her family. But the worldbuilding just wasn't there to support it. I had so many questions about how they all related to each other, for instance, they call all adults aunt and uncle, even if they're not related, but . . . how did these people find her family? Who started them gathering here? The small town knows their witches and goes to them for herbal remedies and whatnot, but each person has a specific Talent, and none of them were for Love Potions, so . . . were they also just really good at botany? Things just didn't add up, and I felt like she could have spent a lot more time explaining the family and exploring the magic.
3.75 stars I ended up really liking this book, although I didn't expect it to be that good!
Spoilers in this review will be marked of course
Short summary This book is about Tamsin, who grows up in a family of witches. Everyone in her family has a certain 'power' or even several powers, like shooting fire/walking superfast/reading someones mind etc. Everyone expected Tamsin to be a great witch, but her magic power never showed up.
Expectations I saw a blurb by Cassandra Clare on the cover, so I was like: NEED TO HAVE THIS She said: ''A fantastic urban fantasy with an enchanting romance at its heart.'' Sounds amazing right?!
Storyline The storyline was entertaining, because I loved to read about Tamsins extraordinary family. Tamsin is kind of funny as well. Things start to happen pretty soon, so I got sucked into the story pretty soon as well. AND - there is timetravelling. I love books with timetravelling, so that's a plus.
Characters Tamsin is a funny, cute and smart character. She's kind of awkward, but hey, that's cool, I am too xD Agatha is Tamsin's best friend. She was okay, although kind of the cliché 'best friend who likes to party and likes to flirt with boys'. She's a bit more outgoing compared to Tamsin. Rowena, Tamsin's sister, was pretty bitchy at the beginning, but she ended up being a nicer person I guess? Don't really know yet, till I read the sequel. Gabriel is a yes for me. Cute, smart and charming. The bad guy was okay. His character could've been more elaborate and less cliché, I feel like. I see this one a lot in movies as well: just a predictable, power-hungry, bad guy.
Opinion about the ending The ending was a bit chaotic to me, but nevertheless pretty thrilling. I'm looking forward to reading the sequel!
Conclusion Some of the characters felt a bit cliché to me, but I really enjoyed the storyline. Since I did really like the main character and the storyline, it kind of compensated these more cliché characters. It's a quick and fun read. Not too special, but certainly not a bad one! I would definitely recommend this if you're looking for a quick and light read. It actually got me out of my lingering reading slump entirely! Thought I'd mention that :)
Fena değildi, konusu da iyi hoştu. Fakat neden bilmiyorum kitapta olaylar çok yavaş ilerliyordu. 20 sayfa okudum zannediyorum daha 10 sayfayı bile ancak okumuşum... Yazarın dilinden mi yoksa kurgudan kaynaklanan bir şey mi hiç bir fikrim yok. Ama okunabilir :)) Özetine gelirsek, olaylar Tamsin'in etrafında gerçekleşiyor. Tamsin ve ailesindeki her birey cadı. Hepsininde değişik güçleri, yetenekleri var. Fakat Tamsin'in hiçbir yeteneği yok. Bu yüzden kendini ailesinde deyim yerindeyse hep ezik hissediyor. Bu yüzden ailesinden uzaklaşarak yatılı bir okulda öğrenim görüyor, tatillerde ailesinin yanına dönerek büyükannesinin dükkanında çalışıyor. Yine büyükannesinin dükkanında çalıştığı bir gün dükkana yabancı biri geliyor ve onların cadı olduğunu bildiğini söylüyor ve Tamsin'i ablası Rowena'yla karıştırıyor. Ondan güçlerini kullanarak ailesine ait eski bir saati bulmasını istiyor. Tamsin hayatında ilk kez cadı olarak görüldüğünü hissedip adama yardım edeceğini söylüyor fakat adamın onu Rowena sandığını da unutmamalı. Tamsin tatil bitince tekrar okula dönüyor ve adamla tekrar karşılaşıyor, ona saati bulacağına dair tekrar söz veriyor. Ama bir sorun var onun saati bulabilmesi için güçlere ihtiyacı var bu yüzden aile dostu olan Gabriel'den yardım istiyor. Gabriel ve Tamsin'in arasında da bir şeyler var bu arada :) Gabriel'in yeteneği kaybolan şeyleri bulabilmek. Fakat Gabriel saatin günümüzde varolmadığını geçmişte varolduğunu söylüyor ve saati bulabilmek için Gabriel'in güçlerinden yararlanarak geçmişe gidiyorlar. Geçmişe yolculukta bu saatin çok önemli olduğunu ve Tamsin'in de bir yeteneği olabileceği hakkında ipuçları yakalıyoruz :D Ve olaylar buradan sonra çorap söküğü gibi geliyor, yakalamaca kovalamaca, Rowena'nın olaya dahil oluşu, adamın aslında göründüğü gibi biri olmaması falan filan. Aslında olay benim anlattığım bölümden sonrasında başlıyor ama oraları anlatmak değil okumak lazım :D İkinci kitabı merak etmiyorum desem yalan olur, umarım çabuk çıkar :))
I'm a pessimist when it comes to new authors. So, when I started to read Once a Witch I was waiting to be underwhelmed.
The opening scene, with Tamsin and Professor Callum was okay, not the best first chapter I've ever read, but the setup, a girl without powers growing up in a family of talented witches, was intriguing enough to keep me reading.
By the time I got to Rowena's Engagement party, her grandmother's prediction for her when she was born ('she will be a beacon')and Tamsin's meeting with Gabriel (a childhood friend she hasn't seen in years who has the ability to find lost things) I was hooked.
Next, followed a carefully crafted story, wherein Tamsin, pretending to be her oh-so-charming-and-talented sister Rowena, promises to find a clock for Professor Callum. There's something strange about the clock, something familiar that she can't quite put her finger on, but a promise is a promise and so she does her best to find it.
A terrible chain of events follows, all from the simple act of finding the clock and her powerful grandmother tells Tamsin she will have to make an awful choice.
The author leaves room for a sequel, yay, cause I can't wait to find out what happens with Tamsin, Rowena, Agatha, Professor Callum and especially Gabriel, who is just about the coolest love interest I've seen in a while.
I wasn't expecting much from this book, to be honest. The blurb on the back didn't sound all that great, and the cover is kind of ho-hum (not that it should matter...but we all know it does!). Anyhoo, I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this one. I did have to roll my eyes a few times at some of the stupid things the heroine did, but overall the plot kept chugging along a such a nice pace that it didn't matter too much to me. It also had a nice little love story that surprised me by not being overly annoying. I'd definitely recommend checking this one out.
I thought this one was cute enough, but I wasn't that invested in the characters or what happened to them...not sure why. It's like another book I recently read that had me from the get-go and then lost me or should I say I lost interest? I think perhaps it could've been due in part to the beginning that talked about how the MC was supposed to be a powerful witch (the most actually), so it took a bit to gain some interest in her character.
Oftentimes if I'm not too terribly into the characters if there's a romance that can make up for some of my disinterest; however, that didn't happen either.
I’ve had this one stuffed in the back of my shelves for ages. I bought it when Walden books (a Borders subsidiary still existed) that should show you how long it was. But I never read it. Don’t know why. Just one of those perpetual backlist books. But when I decided to participate in Blogger Blackout I decided to focus my attention on backlist titles. And the fact that this is Halloween week made this title perfect to read. Going in: lots of high hopes. Witches. Identity. Family. Three things that should’ve made this book awesome.
Result: Okay, but flawed. To be fair, it had a lot going for it. I enjoyed the depiction of magic in this book. I felt like MacCullough did an excellent job explaining how things worked in her world. And I liked how magic had a family connection. And that was another thing I had to give this book credit for: family. It’s rare in a YA book where family plays such a prominent role. So, anytime there is a book that feature it I give it a big fat plus mark on my score card. However, despite the fact that there is a major dose of family drama and angst in this book, it also suffers from typical YA cliches too.
Ugh, the main character. At first I really liked Tamsin but then she started to get plagued by the things that your stereotypical YA main character gets plagued with: savior concept, insta love, you don’t know how special and unique you are, while being TSTL. Also, while I understood why she was upset for not having a gift. I grew annoyed with her angsting. I was hoping she’d be awesome on her own without magic. But of course not…rolls eyes. I will say that while the romance in this book is insta love at best, I was able to tolerate it. Mainly becuase overall it was more or less a blip in the book. If you’re going to do insta love this is how you do it. It’s not that annoying when the romance isn’t portrayed as one true love nonsense and the love interest isn’t a total jerk. Pacing also plagued this book. While I like the fact that it is mercifully short, the first half of the book dragged. And then everything after that….
Hello, whiplash. And whiplash is bad enough on it’s own, but when you involve time travel that has so many plot holes that not even the Back to the Future trilogy can make sense of it, you have issues. Even with these faults though, this is a fun book. I’m sure a lot of people will love it and continue on to read it’s sequel. Do I have plans on reading it…maybe if it’s at the library, but I don’t have an imminent need to read it right at this moment. It’s a good book with faults. It’s not the most memorable book, but if you’re in a witchy mood you might want to give this a try.
(3.5 stars) Tamsin comes from a family of witches. At her birth, her grandmother prophesied that she would become one of the most powerful of all — but Tamsin’s powers have never manifested, making her odd one out in the clan. If this were Harry Potter, she’d be a Squib.
Unsurprisingly, Tamsin is insecure about her magical deficiency. When a stranger comes to the family’s shop, looking for someone to help him find a lost item, Tamsin’s insecurity leads her to make a fateful mistake. Now she’s the only one who can put things right. The good news is, she may not be as powerless as she thought…
A lot of YA paranormal novels get bogged down in angst and mundane scenes, but Once a Witch is not one of them. The plot hits the ground running, moves quickly, and builds up suspense as it goes. One of my favorite details is the way Carolyn MacCullough uses the word “hellcrater” to ratchet up the tension. Tamsin has her phone set up so that it displays “HELLCRATER” when she gets a call from home, and at first this is a cute joke. By the time the climax arrives, every call from home bears frightening news, and seeing “HELLCRATER” on the page sends your heart into your throat.
There’s a romantic subplot, and it’s a refreshing one. This is not the kind of romance where the girl and boy gaze at each other once and it’s instant true love. They knew each other long ago, meet again, and then build up a relationship through talk and shared experiences.
Once a Witch has a time-travel twist, and I’m not sure it quite works; I think there’s a closed-loop paradox in it. Also, the plot occasionally moves a little too fast, whooshing through scenes I’d love to have seen in more detail, particularly the Samhain scene at the end. It’s especially a bummer because MacCullough writes ritual so beautifully.
These few quibbles aside, Once a Witch is an enjoyable novel that’s both suspenseful and charming, and avoids a lot of the tropes that have become annoying in YA.
As I mentioned in my review of Hourglass by Myra McEntire, I read that and Once a Witch at around the same time, and I'd rate them about the same. Hourglass has better time travel while Once a Witch has better romance.
Tamsin Greene was born, destined to be one of the most Talented and powerful witches in her family. But now at seventeen, she has long since gotten over the fact that her “Talent” just never came to be. She’s more or less an average teenager (of course, without taking her Talented family into consideration). She attends school in New York City, has a great roommate/BFF and is as far away from the eccentricities of her family as she can get.
But when a stranger walks into her grandmother's shop and asks if she can find something for him - thinking her to be her older sister Rowena (who can find anything - no matter where in the world or in time it might be), Tam passes herself off as her sister and agrees to take on the job. With the help of her old friend Gabriel, she is able to locate the object (in 1897), but that’s only the beginning of a tale that will lead you on a hunt through time that will reveal plenty of family drama.
I absolutely loved the premise of this story. Young girl from powerful family full of all types of zany family members all with their own special "Talents" and her with none. Loved it!
Tam was a very relatable character. What girl doesn't struggle to fit in with their family? There will always be someone bigger and better than you - it's a matter of accepting who you are. That's not always easy to accomplish - but something worth striving for. I enjoyed the bickering between the sisters and the love/hate relationship they had. I can definitely relate to that. The scenes where the family is gathered and you read about their Talents - was just a treat to read. I especially loved the parts where Tamsin goes back in time - very detailed, it gave you that dreamy, glittery-around-the-edges feel to the time.
The ending left plenty of loose ends, but you can totally understand this since it seems there will be a sequel in the (hopefully) near future. This was a quick, fun read - with sibling rivalry (which I always love), quirky characters, a sprinkling of romance, and plenty of mystery and intrigue. Although the story is written for ages 12 and over - no matter what the age, this is a story that can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.
Somewhere along the way, I must have categorized all YA fiction to be subpar books with even worse writing. Yet, I still manage to be intrigued by book covers and add them to my tbr. This is one of the few times that I managed to stumble on a gold mine.
Once a Witch follows Tamsin, the younger daughter of a magical family who was supposedly predicted to be the "beacon of her family" and being super powerful. Well, at the age she was supposed to be getting her Talent, as they call it, she doesn't. Now at 17, she's sorta angsty, but mostly just fed up with her Talented family and integrates herself with normal, unTalented people. That is, until she decides to impersonate her sister when a mysterious stranger ends ups asking her at their family business to find something his family lost more than a 100 years ago. The missing object is a magical clock and Tamsin (with her family friend/love interest, Gabriel) begins the search without knowing exactly what it is capable of or of the stranger's motives toward the object and her family.
Tamsin is a pretty normal YA heroine. Well, her self-esteem is low when she's with her family, but otherwise she handles the rest of her life a New York teenager. I ended up liking her, though I can't say exactly why. Since this was a YA urban fantasy, the love interest, Gabriel, made his impact without stealing the show. He's a sweet guy.
The highlights of the book are (1)the superior writing (compared with other YA, of course) and (2)a different type of fantasy story with time traveling and (3) a sweet realistic romance between childhood friends.
Overall, I can highly recommend this book. I believe its going to become a series, so I am excited to see what Ms. MacCullough has in store for us.
I don't what it was about this book but there was something about it that just drew me in.
The book was a continuous stream of fast-paced tension with an added dose of action. I loved the chemistry and interactions Tamsin had with the male lead. It's quite obvious that they have feelings for the other but it's never bogged down in a mushy subplot that takes away from the main story. Yes, they like each other, but their friendship is more important and she doesn't really want to be in a relationship she knows she's not ready for. He was a very supportive friend, always there for her when she needed him, and always willing to help out when the going got tough.
The plot had a few mild surprises and the whole time traveling aspect was just amazingly fun. I loved the whole paradoxical issue of it and the dangers they faced. Tamsin isn't a super strong, obnoxious, overly hyped woman who does anything she wants and to hell with what you think female. She's insecure, determined, and a tad bit jaded/confused. She doesn't let people walk all over her like a doormat and stands up to adversity when the moment calls for it.
The writing was very smooth and easy to read. It's first person present tense and I usually hate those but this one was done well (enough for me anyway). I can't wait to get my hands on the next book!
I debated reviewing this book. I’m still not sure what to say about it. Simply, it bored and annoyed me.
Tasmin is supposed to be 17, but her actions more reflected that of a 12 year old. She was rebellious, because she felt inadequate next to her sister. This inadequacy put her family and the world in danger, but instead of feeling remorseful she simply got angered at a betrayal that her family had perpetuated.
Their was absolutely no love for her sister. The only guilt I saw from her was when her roommate got injured. I get sibling rivalry, but this took it to the extreme.
Gabriel was the only saving grace of this book. He was interesting and not despicable unlike the majority of the characters. He still held a torch for Tasmin after years of absence. He had a bad childhood unlike Tasmin and was still mature about it.
Tasmin did not have a ‘bad’ childhood, but complained ad nauseum about it.
Looking back I’m not sure why I finished this book. So yeah, did not like. And looking at the goodreads reviews I’m in the minority in disliking this, so I’d encourage you to look at more reviews before deciding not to read it.
I think I see a sequel in the future for this one. I guess I hope so because I'd love to read more about Tamsin, Gabriel and their big family of witches. Tamsin, born of a long line of witches, has no Talent, what the witches call their power and she feels left out and different. In an effort to try to show that she is capable of doing what the others can, she makes one very bad choice, or maybe several, depending on how you look at it. Anyway, there is time travel, surprising magic and the beginning of a possible romance. Loved it. MacCullough weaves a great story, even characters that you think are inconsequential are important to the story and she pulls all the threads togehter very well. I can't wait for the next part of the story.
*edit* Having now read the second book I've changed my mind a bit on this one so it rates a four instead of a five. Both this and the sequel could have easily been incorporated into one with some of the extraneous filler removed and made one solid book. The second book drags quite a bit and maybe it's unfair to rate this one according to that one, but it did affect my feelings about this book. So, there you go.
I swear for the life of me I don't know how my queen Cassandra Clare has read and loved this book!
I guess she read it and pictured in her head what it would be like if she was the author. In that case, the book would be freaking awesome, because she is CASSANDRA effin' CLARE and I admit Once A Witch has potential.
Potential that in the hands of a great author would turn into an awesome adventure with witches and a great love story between childhood friends.
Unfortunately, I can't say MacCullough is a good author.
The plot was underdeveloped, the characters flat and the writing poorly executed. It felt like I was reading a children's book, because everything gave a childish vibe.
I eventually gave up. There are way too many great books for me to be wasting my time with this one.