Truthwitch: A Witchlands Novel
Review #1 - Isabel C.
TRUTHWITCH is the first book in a new series by Susan Dennard. Her pervious series is the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy.
In the world of TRUTHWITCH, some people have magical powers known as witcheries. The powers stem from the four elements, as well as the Void and Aether. As the novel begins, a 20-year truce between empires is about to end and war is on the horizon.
The novel features Safi and Iseult, two witches who are best friends and practically sisters. Safi is a Truthwitch, meaning she knows when somebody is lying. But she can’t let anyone know or she’ll be used as a political tool. Iseult is a Threadwitch. She can see all of the Threads that bind people together --- except for her own. We also get to meet Merik, a Windwitch who’s more than a little handsome, and Aeduan, a Bloodwitch, any witch’s worst nightmare.
If you like fantasy, high fantasy, paranormal or anything else I’ve forgotten, read this book. I can’t sing enough praises for TRUTHWITCH.
TRUTHWITCH does what so few high fantasies can: it places me in a world that won’t let me go, even after I’ve finished the book. I had my doubts going in --- I’m not a huge fan of books with more than one POV --- but I was immediately sucked into the world and the characters that inhabit it.
I honestly wish I could meet all these characters in real life. Each one is so unique and interesting. Safi is headstrong and kick-butt. Some might call her overconfident, but my love for her doesn’t end. Iseult is full of compassion. She and Safi are perfect best friends for each other. In a society where strong female friendships are few and far between, Safi and Iseult were a breath of fresh air.
The novel starts a little slow, but once I got past the first couple of chapters, I devoured the book in one sitting. It’s fast-moving with lots of travel; luckily, there’s a map in the front to help out readers. There are many plot points that were purposely left open, ready for the sequel, WINDWITCH.
I believe everyone should read this book, but especially fans of THRONE OF GLASS by Sarah J. Maas. The world of TRUTHWITCH has a similar feel, and I’m pretty sure the characters in the two novels would get along really well. If you liked Dennard’s previous books, definitely read TRUTHWITCH. If you like fantasy, high fantasy, paranormal or anything else I’ve forgotten, read this book. I can’t sing enough praises for TRUTHWITCH. It succeeded in every aspect, and has me anxiously awaiting the next book!
Review #2 - Carly Silver
With positive reviews galore and a front-cover endorsement from teen lit queen Sarah J. Maas, Susan Dennard’s TRUTHWITCH was just released but has already garnered dozens of squee-tastic reviews. But not every person sees through the same lenses, and this reviewer’s glasses are definitely of a different prescription. While TRUTHWITCH makes an admirable effort to put female friendship first and has flashes of brilliance, it winds up overreaching and underwhelming the reader.
Magic pervades the aptly-named Witchlands, but among the most prized powers is that of the Truthwitch, who can tell if someone is lying. Aristocrat Safi is one of the few Truthwitches around, but she hides her power to avoid becoming a political tool. The person in the world she cares most about is Iseult, a fellow mage and Threadwitch, a cast-out from her own clan. The two girls try to forge a life together amidst the political turmoil of three empires calling off a 20-year truce in a world war.
Safi and Iseult --- selfish and thoughtful, carefree and cautious, high-ranking and commoner --- complement one another nicely, but they’re hard to like in and of themselves. Safi is an unlikeable character, self-absorbed and ignorant of the needs and wants of those around her, which makes it hard for the reader to fall into the world of TRUTHWITCH. Iseult is a solid secondary character, but independent of her best friend, she doesn’t have a personality with enough punch to stand out as a heroine.
All too often in life and literature, women are pitted against one another, so it’s refreshing to see how Safi and Iseult balance one another out.
Where TRUTHWITCH is successful, however, is in its depiction of two young women loyal to one another above all. All too often in life and literature, women are pitted against one another, so it’s refreshing to see how Safi and Iseult balance one another out. They’re deeply flawed characters, but that makes their friendship all the more realistic and appealing.
I also felt that TRUTHWITCH exhibitedpoor world-building, which serves as the backdrop for the entire book’s conflict. The different empires sprawled across the Witchlands are never delved into and just serve to distract the reader from the characters. And the powers of different Truthwitches, so integral to the conflict and plot as a whole, are just mentioned in passing.
TRUTHWITCH is a good first foray into fantasy, but one hopes Dennard lets Safi and Iseult each come into their own as fully rounded heroines in future volumes.
Reviewed by Isabel C. and Carly Silver on January 7, 2016