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.