Friday, May 7, 2010

Sweep: Book of Shadows, The Coven, & Blood Witch by Cate Tiernan

When Morgan Rowlands first sees the gorgeous new senior Cal Blaire at school, she falls for him, but remains firm in her belief that he would never be interested in her plain looks or flat chest.  But Cal turns out to be completely different from any other guy she's ever met-- to start with, he's a witch.  He invites Morgan to be a part of a new coven he starts up, and though she has no idea what to make of it at first, she decides to try it out. But after one circle, she knows she'll never be the same.  She discovers her hidden talent for magick-- a fact that has far deeper implications than she ever expected.  And as she taps in to her power and her history more and more, her relationship with Cal grows deeper.  Yet someone as powerful as she is is bound to attract attention, and not all of it good.  But how does she know who to trust?

Re-reading the first three Sweep books was like coming home for me.  As in Balefire, Tiernan builds a rich world, with a complex system of magick (based on Wiccan practices, but tweaked and enhanced to make for a more fantastic story) and an engaging cast of characters.  Morgan and Cal's magnetic attraction is a wonderful portrayal of first love.  And every single one of the supporting characters, no matter how minor, is fleshed out enough that you're rarely confused about their motivation (and if you are, it's probably because Tiernan is leading up to a reveal!), and even when they make bad decisions, you can't hold it against them, because you probably would have done the same thing.  The stories that intertwine, forming the overarching plot, leave you breathless with suspense, keeping you turning the pages desperate to know what happens next--only to leave you with yet another cliffhanger at the end!  Thankfully, there is plenty more where that came from.

The Sweep series (known as "Wicca" in the UK and elsewhere) originally came out from 2001 to 2003, which is when I first read it, and I can't help but feel it's finally gotten the treatment it deserves.  The first three books have been released in a fat bind-up edition (though for now it's only available at Wal-Mart; it will be released in all bookstores September 2nd, 2010, just a few days before the first book in Tiernan's new trilogy Immortal Beloved.)  The individual books are still available in bookstores if you can't wait, but keep in mind, they cost $7.99 each-- the same as the bind-up costs for three.  You can read the first 7 pages of Book of Shadows on the Penguin website.



  1. Hello, I just started reading this series on a whim when I saw the books at my library. Really, this is a wonderful series. I'm in love with how likable all the characters are and how they are influenced by choices or people.

    Even the magic and the way Morgan goes through it all makes me look at -trees- a different way. For that, I really appreciate Tiernan's careful, vivid writing!

    These books are a breath of fresh, imaginative air. I really couldn't put them down; they're so good. Why haven't I heard of them before?

    Well, just finished the 6th book and can't wait to read more.

  2. Hi Natasha-- I wish I knew why Sweep isn't better known! Back when the series first ended, there were all sorts of campaigns and petitions to try to keep it from getting cancelled (sales were apparently too low), and it was only enough to get us Night's Child (the last book). The 2007 reprints were nice, but like I pointed out, not very cost-effective. The publisher tried selling it as a TV show and everything, but no one picked it up. I'm hoping that with the new packaging and the success of the Vampire Diaries TV show, Sweep might have the chance to become what it always deserved to be.

  3. I fell in love with this series last year and even though I have the first 12 books in the series (I plan on getting the other 3 later) I think I'll give in and get this bundled version too. I absolutely love this series!

    And I hope you're right, I hope it does get picked up to be a show, that would be amazing!

  4. I really need the new bind ups to come out. I braved the ghetto walmart for this.

  5. You and me both Pam! I had to take a subway to nearly the end of the line and then a taxi to get to the nearest Wal-Mart for me to get it. I'm glad to see that the next bind-up is coming out in regular bookstores pretty quickly after this one gets there.


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