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.
Author: Susan Dennard
Part of a Series: Yes. The Witchlands #1.
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
No. of Pages: 416 pages
Genre: High Fantasy, Adventure, Young Adult, Magic, Witches, Paranormal, Fiction
One of the many reasons as to why I marked Truthwitch as one of my most anticipated reads of 2016, is that it’s a book that revolved around friendship, and yet, it falls under the High Fantasy genre. If my memory serves me correct, I have never, in my life of reading for leisure, read anything quite as promising as this one. Other than romantic contemporaries, and dystopian novels, I am also a big, big fan of the friendship trope in YA, and so, it’s a no-brainer that this book made it to my list of most-awaited releases.
What made me love this novel by Susan Dennard was that every page of it was filled with either fierce action scenes, or ones that were heartwarmingly romantic, and I mean it literally. Readers were introduced to Safiya and Iseult in a very intense way, and yet, it was just the first chapter of the book. On the other hand, romantic scenes between some of the characters seemed to have that realistic and relatable feeling. It was very interesting because not all authors have that ability to keep up an active atmosphere, all through out their novel/s, and Susan did just that. She was able to maintain the hype of the story and the romance, and in turn, it kept me interested, and hooked, making me crave for more.
Susan’s characters as well as the world building were all well written. There may have been quite a few characters, from witches, to monks, but all of them contributed to the betterment of the story. They all had their parts to play to see Safi and Iseult’s story through, and it was impressive how Susan gave majority of them, if not all, their own types of witchery. I have to admit, I might have appreciated the story more if a guide to the Witchlands’ different witches was provided, but I enjoyed the story just the same. Also, the world was, obviously, given much thought and innovation. I loved seeing just how developed the Witchlands were, from Cartorra, to Nubrevna, and Carawen. Susan gave us such vivid details, allowing us readers to see just how beautiful the setting was. It was all mind-blowing.
Now, as for the pacing, which happens to have been my only issue with this book, it was kinda slow. There are scenes wherein progression of the story seemed postponed to give way to a different, and less relevant scene. Personally, I’m not a big fan of stories with incredibly slow pacing, but for Truthwitch, I was glad to make an exception. See, the story required a pacing that didn’t go fast so as to make sure that the story makes a good impact on the readers. I must say, I might not have fully enjoyed the book if the pacing was a lot faster than it really is.
This part of the review may contain spoilers, and it’s about the ships, so if you haven’t read the book, might as well skip this part!
One more thing I wanted to discuss on my review was the raw emotion that the different“ships” emanated from their first encounter. ONE. Safi and Merik’s love story wasn’t at all like insta-love (thank the gods!) they started out as fierce enemies, and only through getting to know each other better, did they develop feelings towards one another! I can’t wait to see where this goes! TWO. As for Iseult, it wasn’t that easy for me to ship her with someone as fast as I did with Safi! At first I shipped her with Aeduan, only to find someone else to ship him with (ehem, Evrane! OH MY GODS!). End of spoilery section.
“All in all, Truthwitch is a great start to an even greater new high fantasy series. Susan Dennard effortlessly compels her readers into a vividly defined world, filled with intense, action-packed scenes as well as characters and worlds that were carefully crafted to tell the story of two amazing women who discovers just how strong and crucial their bond is in conquering their worlds.”
Characters – 4.50
Plot – 4.50
Writing Style – 4.50
Pacing – 3.00
Ending – 4.50
TOTAL – 4.2 / 4 Stars
“It wasn’t freedom she wanted. It was belief in something—a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what.”
“Sometimes justice was all about the small victories.”
“Allow me to serve you, Safiya. We have spent too many years apart.” “And I have spent too many hours between meals.” A glare. “Give it to me now, Polly, or I shall castrate you with a fork.”
“If you were that sort of girl, then…” Merik lifted a hand to her jaw—tentative at first, then more confident when she didn’t pull away. “Then I would start here and move down your throat.” His fingers whispered over her neck, to her collarbone—and Merik was pleased by how punctuated her breaths grew. How much her lips trembled.”
“I guard the light-bringer,
And protect the dark-giver.
I live for the world-starte,
And die for the shadow-ender.
My blood, I offer freely.
My Threads, I offer wholly.
My eternal soul belongs to no one else.
Claim my Aether.
Guide my blade.
From now until the end.”
About the Author:
Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. With a masters degree in marine biology, she got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (she’ll get to Asia one of these days!)—before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.
She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series (from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Witchlands Series (Tor, 2015). When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, exploring tidal pools, or earning bruises at the dojo.