Tuesday 5 January 2016

REVIEW: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Tor
Genre: High Fantasy, Witches
Release Date: January 5th (US) 14th (UK) 2016
Buy The Book: Amazon - Amazon UK

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 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 Thoughts:
Truthwitch is set in a fantastically epic world that contains the Witchlands. Safiya is a Truthwitch, a rare witch who has the ability to tell truth from lies. With her gift being so uncommon and powerful in the hands of others, she spends her life hiding her true self for fear she’d be used as a weapon. Isuelt is a Threadwitch, a person who has the ability to see the Threads of others. The Threads of a person show their mood, and gives Isuelt great insight into a person’s feelings. She and Safi are Threadsisters, close friends with an important bond. 

The Witchlands once fought against each other in a Great War that was ended by a twenty-year peace truce. But that truce is approaching its end and war is set to wreak havoc through the lands again. Meanwhile, Prince Merik of Nubrevna, a torn land that still faces the dire consequences of the war, is desperately trying to do the right thing for his homeland, and his people. 

I will admit that it took me a little while to get into the book. I was confused at first about the world and what was going on with the characters, but I was intrigued by Safi and Isuelt, and the witchery within the story. Once Safi and Iseult were forced apart for a little while and we truly see how much they mean to each other, all of the action kicked off and I was gripped. 

We follow the story in third person from the POV of both Safi and Isuelt for a good few chapters at the start, and whilst I adored their sections, I also really loved the introduction of Merik into the story. He was tough when he needed to be, but his moments with his Threadbrother, Kullen, were touching and showed a softer side to him. Inevitably there was a budding romance between him and Safi, but it’s a slow-building relationship that starts off as a feisty dislike for one another, so I enjoyed the tension between them. 

What also drew me in was getting to see the story from Aeduan’s POV. Aeduan is a Bloodwitch who can track down a person by their scent, and he hunts the girls from the beginning. Seeing the events from his perspective added an extra layer to the story, and I adored how very different he was to the other characters. I am desperate to find out more about him. 

The world within Truthwitch is truly breath-taking, and Dennard does a fantastic job of laying out the history and the mythology of the Witchlands for us. Whilst it can feel a little overwhelming at the start of the story, we learn more as the plot goes and we begin to understand the way this land works. I was fascinated by the history of the Origin Wells and I’m eager to learn more as this series continues.

There are also plenty of minor characters in the story whom I’m keen to discover more about, like Mathew, the girls’ tutor, and Eron, Safi’s uncle. I feel as though we’ve only just scratched the surface as to what’s going on in the Witchlands, and what part each character plays overall. I’m very excited to see where the story takes us next! 

Most of all, at its core, this story is about friendship. It’s about Threadsisters who would do anything for each other, they would travel to the ends of the earth to find and protect one another. The bond between Safi and Isuelt is so very important, and I adored everything about it. This is one of those rare YA stories in which the friendship between the main characters takes centre stage, rather than the romance, and it was utterly refreshing. I am completely drawn into the bond between the two girls and I look forward to seeing were their epic friendship takes them next. 

Royal Rating:

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