Hi everyone! Today is the day I’m posting my first book review of 2019
, start to work on my New Year’s resolutions which included ‘Writing more reviews on my blog’ and it features Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – a book I’ve seen very mixed reviews for. I actually did not “plan” on reading this book anytime soon BUT it was compared to Avatar The Last Airbender by several people I trust (Hannah (A Clockwork Reader) is one of them!!) since the author added some supernatural abilities to the characters that are also based on the four elements and it has a lot of magic in it so I couldn’t say no! 🧙♀️ So, let’s just start with the review;
book 1 of The Witchlands Series
published January 5th 2016
genre: young-adult, fantasy, magic
truthwitch on goodreads ( •⌄• ू )✧
my rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Truthwitch was a book I struggled extremely with getting into and I do not know if it was due to the fact that I read a translated edition or if Susan Dennard’s way of introducing you to a new world is just a bit different from what I am used to. New places, languages, stories about the world itself and the magic systems are mentioned in every chapter you read and I was overwhelmed so many times with who is from which realm and how their magic functions. A short explanation would have been great at this point but instead I found myself being rushed through the plot and looking up the city names on the map that was fortunately included.
Nonetheless, I can’t and don’t want to deny that the world Susan Dennard created in this book is amazing!! It’s exactly the kind of fantasy world I enjoy reading about with different landscapes, an obviously well thought out magic system and the connections/problems between the different rulers and nations. A different aspect I really liked was the atmosphere and reading experience! While it was difficult to get into the book, as I mentioned earlier, it was very easy to be kind of soaked into the adventurous story line which was told from different POV’s, third-person each. And, at this point I should mention that the POV’s changed not only every chapter which was refreshing but also in between a chapter which was… well, a bit confusing sometimes.
Truthwitch has 416 pages, my own edition had about 500+ pages and that turns it into a book with a pretty good amount of pages. Surprisingly, there is not “a lot” happening throughout the story. Sure, there is this adventurous fleeing and going back and forth but at some points it got really slow-paced, in my opinion. Maybe that will change in the sequels…?
“I hate this. Both the storm and the plan. Why does it have to be ‘we’? Why not just me?”
“Because ‘just me’ isn’t who we are,” Iseult hollered back. “I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.”
✧ Safiya fon Hasstrel aka Safi is a Truthwitch and of noble descent. Her magic is very rare and seems to be extremely important for all the nations and rulers so, they want nothing more but to be able to be in charge of her after they find out that she is indeed a Truthwitch. Safi is a really impulsive person with a hot temper and usually says what she thinks rightaway which is the exact opposite of Iseult det Midenzi‘s personality. Both of the girls are smart but Iseult is kind of the brain of the duo. She is a Threadwitch, able to actually see the emotions of others through the so called “Threads” and a Nomatsi (something liek outcasts that are hated by other nations because of their lifestyle and appearance). Iseult is a silent person and always thinks before she acts. Like the other characters in this book she has her own interesting back story and secrets. I loved the relationship between these two, their coordinated teamwork and friendship.
✧ Merik Nihar is the Prince of Nubrevna, a Windwitch and the current admiral of the Nubrevnan Navy. His country has been devastated by war and he tries everythings to create trade connections with other nations. Unfortunately, there is a lot of trouble following him; his sister Vivia, a contract with Safiya’s uncle and a lot of more to deal with. I would describe him as a selfless, responsible and realistic person who can get very angry real quick. And, guess what; there is a romance…
So, let’s move on to my favourite character of the book:
✧ Aeduan – the feared Bloodwitch and Carawen Monk who follows Safiya and Iseult all around the continents by using his magic which allows him to basically trace blood. Aeduan is a mysterious character and as I believe the most complex and complicated one. Since he is Safiya and Iseult’s enemy he is the villain of the story but sooner or later you’ll realize that it is not THAT easy and that he is conflicting with many things such as developing feelings for someone…??!!
All in all, Truthwitch was a nice and enjoyable fantasy-read which I cannot give an only “okay” 3-star-rating although I did have some problems with it the characters and their relationships as well as the world-building were the things that convinced me to give this book 4/5 stars. That being said, I definitely want to continue reading this on-going series especially now that everyone is excited about the third book coming out but first I’ll have to read Windwitch and find out what everyone’s up to.
“Sometimes justice was all about the small victories.”
Have you read any books by Susan Dennard yet? How did you like them? Have you read Truthwitch or do you plan on reading it? I’d like to know!