TRUTHWITCHAuthor: Susan Dennard
Series: Truthwitch #1
Source: Purchased from Chapters
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars
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.
Before I get a Bloodwitch on my trail who wants to kill me, let me say that I DID like it. It is a GOOD book. But it is not the be all, end all, especially of the YA Fantasy genre. There were a lot of great things about this one, but there were some instances in this novel that had me not enjoying reading it. I was at the point where I was at 41% and thought about DNF-ing it because I just wasn't getting into it. But I pushed through and the last 30% really wow-ed me, but I am reviewing the whole book so it is a solid 3 stars (with the first 65-70% being 2.5* and the last being 4*, which makes it 3* when you average it out. I can show you the math).
Positives, first. So here's what worked:
Safi and Iseult's friendship. It was top notch. I loved that they supported one another and challenged each other in the best way. They were ultimate squad goals and brotp. I thought at the beginning they were a bit stereotypical but they seemed to grow as the story went on. And I was really hoping for a lesbian bath scene but alas that did not happen. I think their story arc is going to be great and I like that while part of it is interconnected, there is parts of it that are independent of the other. It allows for their friendship to shine while also allowing each girl to shine as well.
I liked the Safi at the end of the book. I liked the Safi that wanted to make a change in the world, not the complacent one that did shit just to do it. I think she knows how to make use of her witchery and will continue to grow into what it truly means to be a Truthwitch.
The last 30% of the book. Once the girls take their bath (honestly, it's not a bath, but you'll know what scene I mean when you read it and I don't want to spoil what actually happens), the plot feels like it GOES somewhere. I understand this is the first book in a series of four so there needs to be foundation for where the plot could go, but it felt like there was more foundation than actual plot in the first 70% of the novel, which was ... frustrating. But more on that below.
And onto what didn't work:
As I said, it was frustrating that the first 70% of the novel was foundation for parts of the story that you knew wouldn't get touched for another book or two. Because they weren't subtle hints at things that could happen -- you were flat out told that it would happen and then this plot point was "done," so to speak and based on previous experience from reading Fantasy, I can tell you right now that it won't be talked about again until book 3 or 4. MAYBE near the end of 2. And that's frustrating to me. It almost felt like it was written in there so that people WOULD continue with the series, which I am positive was not Dennard's intent but, again, was just frustrating. It seemed as though any time we got leeway on information or a plot point, it would switch to something else entirely.
I wasn't a fan of Merik. He wasn't as great as I had heard and I just didn't think he was the perfect love interest. I had heard it was a slow burn romance, but it was more a hate to love one and I just couldn't get there. I didn't see the appeal of either Merik or Safi so I guess they are good for each other? I think I would have liked it more if their "romance" hadn't been included, at least not in this book.
I had a problem with "oaths" and "promises" and "contracts" in this because it seemed like all anyone did was sign on to something or promise something and then look for a loophole. I'm not here for that, especially with the oaths Aeduan took to protect the chosen two girls and how he is trying to get out of it? Like no thanks. I think I would have more respect for Aeduan if he was very literal about the oaths he took tbh.
And my last big issue was the magic system. There was so much information given at the beginning without any information really given at all. It isn't explained why there are different types of magic or how there is a determination of what your specific affinity will be in that magic. Or even why some people can only do one thing with their magic while others can do a lot more. I needed a whole hell of a lot more out of the explanation of the magic system rather than just taking it at face value because #magic.
My advice is to wait for the entire series to be out before beginning to read it because there are so many open ended threads in this one that you will most assuredly forget about before the next book comes out. This book was a foundation for the rest, yes, but it didn't feel like much more than that to me. Black sheep, I may be, but *shrugs*