Heyo! I finished this book a few days ago, and I’m having some mixed thoughts. I’m not quite sure if I like it…
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
My Spoiler-Free Review
(But it may not make much sense if you haven’t read the book)
This book started out a little too slowly for my tastes. What’s more, the world-building was choppy and confusing, which made the story difficult to focus on. Excellent world-building is something I’ve come to expect from fantasy because it’s so important to the story–that’s why it’s called fantasy. It’s supposed to grip you tight and pull you into another world, one so developed that you don’t even notice that you’ve left your own.
In this aspect, I believe Truthwitch fell short.
All at once, you’re barraged with names of continents, empires, titles, and so much more. After finishing the book, I’m still not sure which country one of the main characters, Safiya, is from. In addition, the plotline is crazy straight from the start. It’s hard to focus on all of the action while still keeping the new world straight. It wasn’t exactly an info-dump, but Dennard used a lot of new terms without fully explaining them. The vocabulary was a strange mix between Italian, Latin, and straight up keyboard spazzing (Cahr Awen, for example).
Another thing that bothered me was the development of the story. It got really interesting to me about 150 pages in, and then I couldn’t put it down. But everything before that seemed senseless and forced. Inciting events occurred, but they weren’t natural. The characters did weird things to initiate them.
That being said, the plotline does pick up, and the writing gets pretty epic. What I thought was a directionless story ends up becoming complex and intertwined in some very creative ways. I was impressed at the way in which layers began building to form a cohesive, solid book. The writing itself flowed nicely. Dennard used a refreshing mix of diction and vocabulary, and there were some scenes where I got major goosebumps.
I want to wrap up on a good note, so I have a few more things to mention that I absolutely loved. The first was the relationship between the two female protagonists, Safiya and Iseult. Their friendship was one of epic proportions, and it’s seriously goals. I loved how Dennard created “Threadsisters” and “Heart-threads”. It created a very unique feel and gave credence to the relationships. I was glad that there wasn’t much focus on romance. What romance there was was quite subtle and sweet. The real star was Safiya’s and Iseult’s girl power. They’re pretty badass. Also. Character. Development. (!!!!)
Another aspect I adored was the magic system. I thought it was very inventive and I’ve not seen many like it. I love the way power works–it seems very natural and effortless. I especially enjoyed reading about Iseult, the Threadwitch. I thought her thread-reading was fascinating, although I wish we had a little more insight in to what each color meant.
Truthwitch is an extremely intriguing and strong foundation for what I think will be an excellent fantasy. By the end of the book, the world was more familiar to me, so I was able to appreciate the story and the characters that much more. I am, without a doubt, continuing on with Windwitch when it comes out next January. (By the way, look how pretty the cover is!) Follow the link below to read a sneak peek of her new book!
Check out Susan Dennard’s website here.
Purchase Truthwitch on Amazon.
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