Review: Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan (Sweep #1)


Book of Shadows by Cate Tiernan // VBC ReviewBook of Shadows (Sweep #1)
Cate Tiernan
Published: Jan. 29, 2001 (Penguin Putnam)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Source: purchased

Reviewer: Jannelle

Rating: 4.5 stars

Morgan Rowland has loving parents, a cute younger sister, a stereotypical gorgeous best friend at the top of the popular group, and a nerdy boy best friend who is on the opposite side of the popular spectrum. What seems to be a normal life for any 16-year-old girl, doesn’t seem to be enough for Morgan.

When Cal, the hot new transfer, comes to town, the small town of Widowsvale is in a flutter as they try to figure out who Cal is and where he comes from. Soon enough, Cal invites Morgan and the rest of the school to a seemingly strange party in the middle of the woods. Here, Cal announces himself to be a witch, a practitioner of Wicca, and is hoping the people present will assist him in forming a coven of witches.

Needless to say, the school is split: some of the kids want to stay and see what Cal and his Wiccan circle have to offer, and the other half want to get as far away as possible. Funnily enough, Plain-Jane Morgan decided to stay.

As with any other initial installment to a series, Book of Shadows creates the foundation with which Tiernan will continue to build upon. That is, Book of Shadows is chock-full of character intros, blossoming storylines, and a very subtle world formation. Morgan’s world, and that of the Wicca practitioners in it, rely heavily on our modern world with the additional fantastically magickal (yes, that’s magick with a “k”) component of witchcraft. This isn’t our modern-day version of Wicca; this version involves the instant gratification stereotypically associated with witches seen in maybe The Craft (just an example).

This means there isn’t overly intricate world-building here, though we do catch a glimpse of what is waiting to be explored in future installments in regards to Wiccan history, magickal abilities, and what either of those two topics have to do with the each other.

Tiernan also does a phenomenal job of creating such a dynamic protagonist. Morgan is a sixteen year old girl, yeah, but she’s so much more than what that would normally mean. Her voice and actions read much older and rereading this book now in my late twenties versus back in my early teens (holy cow does time fly!), I find that Morgan is just as relatable.

Touched upon briefly in the novel is Morgan’s connection with Cal and her romantic interest in him. Nothing too romantic occurs throughout the novel, though there’s an obvious connection between the two of them. Tiernan did an excellent job at rebuilding any tension there might be between the them from scene to scene throughout the length of the book. I’m excited to read about what this means for future installments in the series as well.

My only grievance with this reread is that it read a bit slower this time around. I sincerely feel as if this had to do with the first-book-in-series-blues, where the author is simply trying to acclimate us to this new world. If you pick it up, stick with it as it is totally worth a read.

I cannot say this enough: I love the Sweep series, with Book of Shadows being right there at the forefront for top books in the series (14 books plus a special edition). There is such a wide amount of storylines happening in this tiny 187-page book that there is never a dull moment.

If you have never read the Sweep series, do yourself a favor and start with Book of Shadows. It’s a quick and easy read with a wonderful storyline that continuously evolves from book to book, beginning with this one.

Sexual content: kissing

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