So, I know I said a review for The Dream Thieves was coming, but I bought and finished a new book last night. Because of its buzz, I feel I should review Truthwitch by Susan Dennard first!
I bought this one on bit of a whim, but it has been on my TBR for a while now. Plus, I was dying to try one of Dennard’s book, considering her famous friendship with one of my favorite authors, Sarah J Maas.
Here’s the description from Goodreads:
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.
I really enjoyed this book! I read it pretty much in one sitting (which, actually, for me isn’t unusual when I’m bitten by a reading bug). The plot is fascinating, with some of the most intricate world building I’ve read in a long time. The amount of detail and historical context needed to understand the plot was a bit daunting at first, as the Witchlands is a delightfully complicated place. There were unique racial stereotypes, various empires with their own political systems, and the interactions between these empires to understand, but Dennard does a pretty good job of guiding the reader through the details. I thought the plot was a bit predictable, up until the very end, but it was really intriguing and enjoyable!
The characters are similarly well-formed, particularly our four alternating narrators: Safiya, Iseult, Merik, and Aeduan. Safi and Iseult’s friendship was the centerpiece of the story, which was a refreshing change. I actually preferred Merik’s point of view though- he was my favorite character. Safi’s character development was real, but very overtly discussed, though that really didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book.
The writing is spectacular only in its world building, but it serves the purposes of the story well, with much more action than flowery description. Safi’s point of view, in particular, is quite humorous. Some examples:
“Who the rut is that Nubrevnan Windwitch? And: He should really learn how to button a shirt.”
-Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
And, more inspirational and thematic than humorous:
“It wasn’t freedom she wanted. It was belief in something—a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what.”
–Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Overall, this was an enjoyable read, though I don’t think it lived up to the extreme hype I’ve seen it get. It was, to my mind, stunningly similar to the work of Sarah J. Maas, but without Maas’s uniqueness and plot twists. Still fun, though, especially for a fan of the genre. I’m looking forward to reading the next installment to follow the characters’ journey.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Has anybody read this? Comment below and tell me what you think!