Monday, April 11, 2016

Review: Truthwitch

Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands # 1)
Author: Susan Dennard

Book Summary:
Truthwitch (The Witchlands, #1)“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 makes 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.”

Safiya is the high-bred hot-headed side of this dynamic duo, and it comes as no surprise to her Threadsister, Iseult, when they find themselves in the midst of danger.  Again.  When a terrifying Bloodwitch catches the scent of Safi’s blood, it becomes clear; the secret of her magic might finally be revealed.  In a desperate attempt to stay together and escape discovery, they rush to outrun the Bloodwitch.  When Safi’s drunk Uncle decides to pay an unexpected visit, these best friends must find a way to navigate the hurdles of political society while protecting the only thing that matters to them: each other. 

I really love the premise for Truthwitch: two best friends who can seriously KICK SOME BUTT and a wild pursuit across the lands (and seas!)   What’s not to love about that?  Throw in some amazing magic, smoldering men, and the constant threat of war after a 20 year respite and, Yikes, I had to get my hands on this one!

After actually reading this book, I am confused as to how I should feel.  Excited?  Check.  Confused?  Check.  Frustrated?  Check.  Now this review is hard to put into words because I absolutely love SO many things about this story… and yet, there are parts that just leave me standing around looking for the actual story.

What I struggle with in the story is twofold.  The first problem is that there is so much new information presented to the reader at all times.  There are powers, witches, types of Threadconnections (Threadsister, Heartthread, etc), names, titles, places, dates, war history, and different supernatural objects and events.  Normally, this would be difficult to keep track of BUT, when each chapter follows a different character and what is happening to them, there is all of this information overload multiplied by 3.  It's exhausting, and there are  sooo many pages that require looking back to earlier parts of the book just to get the names straight or to try and figure out who was talking!  The second problem, is with Safi’s magic.  It is not obvious why it is considered so super special.  This could be a result of the aforementioned confusion about most of the world-building, but it is hard to understand why Iseult can’t also detect deception with her ability to see threads.  With the magic of seeing threads, she can tell when people are nervous or frightened and that sounds like a very useful tool towards detecting deception—it’s what we try to rely on today with modern lie detectors.  Taking this into account, coupled with the fact that Safi’s gift can be confused if the speaker BELIEVES they are telling the truth, her whole gift seems filled with problems.

Aside from the inability to keep all the places and names straight and a lack of understanding of the extent of the various powers, I really do LOVE many things about this book.  The friendship that the two girls display is undeniable and powerful.  This is so raw and right that I can’t help but connect with it.  This is the type of friendship that is instantly relatable to anyone who has ever had a close best friend and the envy of those who haven't.  Everything about their friendship is glorious.  The way they both sacrifice themselves for the other person and place their friendship over romance. *Sigh*

Another thing that I adore about this book is the uniquely identifiable personality for  each of the characters.  With each person's perspective,  I feel myself shift and step into their mindset and problems.  I distinctly hear each character’s voice and love watching each of these personalities mesh and clash throughout the book!  Overall, this story is a brilliant new addition to the fantasy world, and I cannot wait to experience the next chapter.  (Especially now that I have some terms under my belt!)

The Cover:

This cover presents exactly what we can expect from the book a (and Safi) Warrior-y, Magic-y, Stunning and Fierce story.  For once, the model on the front actually fits the description of the character in the book.  I have no problem at all picturing this fighter as the headstrong Safi! Hopefully the second book’s cover will focus on Iseult.

I give Truthwitch a 3.5 out of 5 hearts: Good Book

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