I listened to this via audiobook, and while I enjoyed it, I wondered if I would have liked it better had I physically read it. I think mainly because the narrator added accents to all of the characters, and I couldn’t quite decipher what accent she imitated. I was getting a Middle Eastern vibe, but I’m just not sure. It’s a bit frustrating because I don’t want there to be any sort of false representation despite this book being fiction.
Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release date: January 5, 2016
Length: 415 pages (hardcover)
Genre: Young adult, fantasy
Synopsis (from Goodreads): “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.”
I found that I did truly enjoy this book, but there were some aspects that were fuzzy and confusing, and I couldn’t find the plot at all for a majority of the book. The world building, however, was excellent and unique. I liked the different “types” of Witches. Safi, one of the main protagonists, is known as a rare “Truthwitch” able to discern whether or not a person is telling the truth or lying, but her gift has a caveat. She knows the truth only insofar as the person believes the truth themselves. Her Threadsister, Iseult, is a Threadwitch with the ability to detect a person’s emotions by the “threads” emanating from them.
Pros: love the fantastic female friendship between Safi and Iseult. They are truly loyal to one another, and I find it refreshing to see this theme more and more in YA literature. I also liked how the two girls seemed outcasts in their own society. I also loved learning about each different type of “Witchery,” and we meet a variety of characters with a particular gift, such as Aeduan and Merick.
Cons: confusing world building in some aspects, especially in terms of what’s so important about Safi and Iseult? Maybe I just completely missed it, but the mystery surrounding the Origin Well and its purpose completely alluded me until the very end, lol. As for the romance in this book, I wasn’t quite convinced of it, especially between two certain characters. I will say the whole Kullen teasing Merick about needing to “tumble in the sheets” with a woman will make his Witchery go crazy made me giggle.
I am not absolutely in love with this book, but it’s only the first book in the series, and I will definitely read more because the ending was strong, and definitely prompts towards a fierce sequel!