Monday, January 4, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard - Review

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.

---------------------------- Amazon, B&N, Goodreads ----------------------------

Well, it's January 5th and you know what that means, don't you? If you guessed that Truthwitch is now available, you win a prize! *does jazz hands*

Truthwitch is the highly anticipated fantasy series by Susan Dennard. While my love for this book knows no bounds, I hope that you can look beyond the hype to what I think is a fantastic book and start to a series. I haven't read Susan' other series and I wasn't sure if the writing style in Truthwitch, despite a genre and story that sounded right up by alley, would stop me from really enjoying this book. DON'T WORRY GUYS, I WAS WRONG.

Honestly, I read the first chapter of Truthwitch and then set the book down, not touching it for weeks, because it didn't grab me immediately. I know what you're thinking - how Jasmine? HOW? But in my first dip, I got the characters confused with one another, didn't really know how the world worked, and didn't really know where the story was going to go. Not to mention I was in a MAJOR book hangover from Queen of Shadows (coincidentally by Susan's BFF Sarah J. Maas) and just couldn't really get into anything at all. However, once I revisited Truthwitch, it was the. perfect. remedy for my hangover - and I read it in 7 hours.

There are a lot of thing I love about Truthwitch. The world is interesting and original, broad enough to welcome lots of adventure and depth without being too overwhelming. The magic system is presented well, slowly unfolding so that you understand how it all works by the end but aren't info-dumped in the beginning. The history and lore is developed wonderfully and revealed at good times. The pacing of the book, which is something I don't usually notice unless it's really bad or really good, is spot on, lingering in the perfect spots while having lots of action and details to move it forward. I think that the shining points of Susan's newest novel, though, are the characters.

The confict, while threatening wide-spread destruction, is really brought to focus by the threat it has on Iseult and Safiya, as if they are this kind of sun in the entire Truthwitch universe and the rest of the story revolves around them (even if they don't realize it). They are believable and authentic, their friendship reading true and proving that being completely different people doesn't have to hinder a strong, healthy relationship. Susan makes a lot of wonderful points in this novel, introducing characters of multiple social backgrounds, ethnicities, and moralities without ever hitting the reader over the head. She explores these dynamics by just having them all interact with one another and the world and it's a joy to read.

It's hard to explain how engrossing this story is without literally reading it - it grips you immediately and yet pulls you deeper in every chapter, revealing more about Safi and Iseult, about all the people they encounter on their adventure, about the world and the magic and all the pieces that are moving without the characters or the readers knowledge. While there are romantic elements, I see Truthwitch, really, as a novel about sisterhood, about friendship and boundless faith and trust, not only in each other but in one's self. The earnestness and heart that Susan Dennard has put into this novel is the same feeling I got reading Queen of Shadows (a compliment I think both Sarah and Susan would appreciate), this contagious unraveling of the heart that weaves throughout a well-written, well-developed plot.

Phew. This is a long review but this book gave me a lot of feels. Congrats if you made it this far! I'm so sad that I have to wait for the second book, but I am so excited to see what happens and revisit these extraordinary characters on their journey. I highly recommend for anyone who loves fantasy or character driven stories!

Bravo Suze!

Note: I got the pleasure of meeting Susan Dennard at ComicCon International this past summer, and her humbleness, genuine kindness, and desire to encourage young people was a wonderful experience. Thanks for being a great human being, as well as a great writer!

Find out more about Susan and her works here:

I’ve come a long way from small-town Georgia. As a marine biologist, I got to travel the world—six out of seven continents, to be exact (I’ll get to you yet, Asia!)—before I settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor.

I’m the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the forthcoming Witchlands series (Tor, 2016), and if I’m not writing, then I’m busy slaying darkspawn or earning bruises at the dojo.

I live in the Midwestern US with my French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats. Learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on the blog, newsletter, twitter, instagram, or pinterest.

Happy Reading!


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