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4.5 out of 5 stars31
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VINE VOICEon 10 February 2006
This is the first of Cate Tiernan's Wicca series also published originally under the series title Sweep. Unlike most of the teen witch books that flooded the market after the success of Charmed this is a keeper. The main character Morgan Rowlands is your typical 16 year old girl. She's good at maths, fiercely protective of her friends and family, shy and thinks of herself as nothing special in the looks department, until Cal, a charismatic attractive senior, transfers into her school. Morgan is instantly drawn to him, unfortunately for her, her best friend Bree wants Cal too. Bree is everything Morgan is not; confident, beautiful and all too aware of her appeal to boys.
Cal is wiccan and when he holds a party he quickly embroils not only Morgan and Bree but a wide circle of other teenagers into Wicca the religion of witches. Will Morgan and Bree's friendship be strong enough to withstand magick and jealousy?
What elevates this above standard teen fare is the beautiful and realistic portrayal of high school life in a small town. Morgan is a very sympathetic character, but Tiernan also manages to make even the secondary characters come alive. There is no Dawson's Creek speechifying in this, yet she still manages to make the characters believable.
Morgan has a great deal of raw talent for Wicca which surprises, frightens and delights her in turns. This is a great series which will have great appeal to older teenagers and anyone who likes a good supernatural yarn. Tiernan takes a few liberties with Wicca but for the most part this is a very faithful depictment of one of the most misunderstood religions. Tiernan also has a new series out called Balefire which is worth a read. One word of warning make sure you have enough money to buy all 15 of the Wicca series because after you've finished the first you will be well and truly hooked!
Younger readers may be more comfortable with Isobel Birds' Circle of Three series, Lynn Eweing's Daughters/Sons of the Moon, or Melissa Metz's Fingerprints all of which are much lighter although in my opinion less satisfying supernatural reads.
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on 1 February 2004
This book is brilliant. The series is based on 16 year old Morgan Rowlands, and how she comes into contact with Wicca through Cal, a serious hottie. Because of Wicca, she discovers things about hersself that she hadnt believed possible, and her life is turned upside down, whilst also becoming the happiest time of her life. This series (14 books and 1 super special) is fantastic, I would strongly advise reading them, but beware, dont believe all you read.
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on 11 January 2005
Morgan always believed that she was the plain one of her and her best friend Bree. But then Bree takes her along to a party thrown by the hot new senior Cal Blaire. Morgan falls in love with him on sight but will he ever be hers? She finds herself taking an interest in magick and so does Bree. As Morgan falls deeper and deeper into the well of magick and love...will she also come across hate?
I would reccomend these books to anyone who is over 11. They have a different story to most other books and they still manage to be fantastic. They all contain love, hate, betrayal, misery and a whole load of kick-ass magick. Enjoy reading them!
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on 14 July 2004
I thought this book was great; a really good beginning to a line of stories. I think that the Wicca series would be better sutied for people who are interested in Wicca or Witchcraft. But nevertheless this was a good story. I reccommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story.
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on 5 December 2002
Cate Tieran has truely outdone herself in this book, Wicca:Book of shadows. The story tells of a 16 year old girl called Morgan Rowlands, who comes to school to meet the hot new guy, Cal. In the story Cal brings a group of compeletly different people together to teach them about Wicca, the religion of witches. Morgan and her best friend, Bree, both begin to have feelings for Cal. This story is told in Morgans point of view, and at the beginning of each chapter there is a short diary entry by her, or Cal. Morgan begins to feel that Wicca is somehow a part of her. This book is amazing and full of emotions and details, creating a perfect image in the readers eye. Throughout the whole book I could see in my mind the whole thing! I'd reccomend buying this book to anyone of any age, although teenage girls might prefer it!
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on 11 June 2007
All 15 books in this series are fantasic, once you pick them up you won't want to put them down until you have read every last one. I recommended them to my husbands younger sister (she is 12) and a very 'reluctant reader'. Upon reading the first one she was hooked and sped through the rest of the series in a matter of weeks.

These books on the whole portray an accurate depiction as what being wiccan is about. There is abviously some artisic license, as what work of fiction would be complete without it. I myself have lived as a practicing witch for 9 years and found the descriptions of the festivals ect to be very accurate.
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on 3 April 2014
Note to self, I probably should have bought the omnibus version, 200 pages simply does not last me very long. And it is so much colder in the bus stop if you have nothing to read.
Also, the blurb is a little misleading. It makes the book sound mysterious and dark, whilst the story is quite a bit lighter. But then again the blurb was one of the things that made me read this book. So it balances out.

But to the book. This was the first time I read this particular book, although I have read Cate Tiernan’s “Immortal Beloved” (which I liked). Her writing style is still very nice and flowing. The pages flew by and made for a gripping story.

I found the story quite enjoyable, it moves at a nice pace and is well written. It reflected the protagonists feelings well. At first it bothered me slightly how Morgan just looked at Cal and then she was oh-so in love. But I tried seeing the story from a teenager’s perspective. Often the initial attraction is based on looks and there is no reason why this could not be real. And as teenagers sometimes do, maybe she is making it sound a little deeper in her head than it actually is. Which made me realize that Tiernan had actually a lot of insight into a teenagers world view when she wrote this story and that is very impressive.

Tiernan obviously went through great lengths to understand Wicca before putting this on the paper and for that she has my respect. I think it is really important that she was careful and thorough with this because unlike magic systems that are based on fantasy alone, Wicca is a real religion and Tiernan gave it the respect every religion deserves. You can see it especially in times when Morgan was conflicted about what she was doing due the opposition from her parents who were Christians.

Morgan is an interesting character who does quite a bit of self-discovering in the book and I think she is a well-developed character. I do hope that Cal (and his Wiccan mother) get more back story in later books. At first I had some trouble trying to keep up with all the numerous characters, but I liked how we got the extra information on them woven into the story. It was smooth and made the characters individuals.

I think this is a great story and would definitely recommend it, especially to teens. But I have a feeling that when the story develops it will also be very insightful for the older readership. “Book of Shadows” deserves three and a half stars and they are strong ones, shining bright next to the waning moon of the goddess.

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The review is also on my blog:
[...]
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on 22 March 2012
Morgan Rowlands is an normal 16-year-old girl with an totall ordinary unremarkable life. Morgan spends most of her time with her best friends Bree and Robbie. When Cal Blaire moves to her small town of Widows Vale Morgan finds her life changing. After being hosting a party Cal reveals that he is a practicing witch looking to form a new coven and Morgan finds herself intrigued. But when Morgan and Bree both become interested in Wicca and Cal personally, Morgan finds her mundane life thrown into turmoil.

This is the first in the Wicca/Sweep series which is hands down one of my favourite series of all time. I've read and reread these books countless times over the past ten years or so making an actual review way overdue. The book mixes magick (spelt here with a k) with normal teenage life in a fascinating way. The attention given to detail, especially in this first book shows that the author has done some serious research into modern Wicca and generally presents it in a realistic way, although a degree of artistic license is taken.

The storyline is well paced with Cal's appearance and the introduction of Wicca coming early on. From there the emotional ramifications of Morgan's choices keep the pace fast, and the writing makes the book really accessible and easy to read without being dull. Interestingly the start of each chapter includes a quote from a fictious magickal text and a segment from the journal of one of the characters which adds an extra dimension to the storyline.

Morgan is a brilliant lead character who really comes to life on the page. The first person narrative really allows the reader to get inside Morgan's head and experience things alongside her. Her inner turmoil about being drawn to Wicca is particularly well-written as are her family's reactions. As her life begins to change Morgan gradually becomes more confident and starts going after what she wants which is a brilliant characteristic.

The supporting characters are equally well written, with Bree pulling off the glamour-puss role without being irritating and Robbie being the ideal best friend. Cal is the perfect mix of gorgeous and tempting, especially with the additional draw of being the only witch Morgan and her friends know.

All in all, this was an awesome read and I can't wait to get stuck into The Coven.

Plot: 10/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 9/10

Overall: 49/50
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on 7 December 2003
This excellent book blew me away, and I couldn't put it down! It focuses around Morgan, who thinks that Witchcraft is comical when her best friend Bree, takes her to a meeting of Witches. Morgan soon realises that there is more to her that meets the eye, when she meets an attractive boy named Cal, a witch, who takes an interest in her. He introduces her to the world of Witchcraft, and she begins to think that she may have power, when she starts to fell strange whenever the circle meets. With a great plot and a perfect ending, this book is a must have for any teen!!
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on 6 December 2010
16 year old Morgan Rowlands lives in upstate New York with her devout Catholic family. Morgan tends to live in the shadows of others, her best friend Bree, gorgeous and confident and her little sister, Mary K, popular and pretty. Morgan isn't hideous, she's just Morgan of little to no make-up, very few-if any, curves and values the quality of her friends so much as quantity; she's okay with that, she's happy with her place in the world until she meets good looking and outward thinking Cal Blaire.
Morgan is shown a whole new world when she meets Cal and with that whole new world she finds herself.
Cal introduces Morgan and her friends to Wicca and Morgan has an uncanny affinity for it. She's finally being noticed and when she and Cal develop feelings for each other it causes trouble amongst herself and Bree.
Despite the difficulty that practicing Wicca brings to Morgan's life, she finds that without it she feels empty. Choosing between Wicca and other important areas/people in her life is difficult for Morgan but will she be true to herself or others?
An interesting quote in the book that has always stuck with me from this book:
"Anytime you feel love for anything, be it stone, tree, lover, or child, you are touched by the Goddess's magick."
by Sabina Falconing, in a San Francisco coffee shop, 1980
Morgan has been touched by the Goddess! My only complaint with this book is the length, it is quite short, as is the rest of the series.
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