Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis: In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Review: Truthwitch is the new fantasy series to hit the YA market with a bang! Filled with magic, intrigue, adventure and action, this is an exciting new series from Susan Dennard that will pull on your imagination and leave you wanting more.
Our two main protagonists, Safiya and Iseult, both hold special powers, but it is not these powers that are their real strength. Safiya is a Truthwitch, a person who can detect a lie, while Iseult is a Threadwitch, someone who can the threads that tangle a people to those and that around them. But their real strength is their friendship – their trust in each other, the protection they feel toward each other.
And this trust and loyalty will serve them both well, as they their land is on the brink of war, and the girls are on the run from a fearsome Bloodwitch. It is hard to tell which is the bigger threat, what secrets should be kept in place, and what who the real enemy is.
Safiya and Iseult can detect truth and threads, but will the cobweb of lies and plots be their undoing?
Action-packed, tense and exciting, Truthwitch will throw you into a world that is scary, captivating and exhilarating. I am quite torn about the world-building of this story – on so many levels it is amazingly detailed and executed in a very interesting way, but on the other hand, there are pieces of information missing, things that you need to piece together yourself, and sometimes all the answers are just not there. Sometimes there is a lot of information, without there being much information at all – sometimes it feels a little too complex, but this is to be somewhat expected from a fantasy story. But if you can forget about the details that are missing in this puzzle (I am sure they will come later), this story is filled with magic, friendship, twists and turns, ruthlessness and sacrifice.
What I loved about this story was the various POVs. We follow the story from the POV of Safiya, Iseult, Merik and Aeduan. And for me, this allowed me to better understand the relationship with Safiya and Isuelt, as well as see that Aeduan might be a little more than he appears. And then there is Merik; Prince and Captain – full of air and graces – this man could not be further from the Bloodwitch. I loved the stark contrast between the male characters, but both interesting, and both intriguing – in their own unique way.
Then there is my favourite – Aeduan. This Bloodwitch is somewhat of the villain in this story, as he is hunting Safiya and Iseult. But.. he intrigued me from the very first moment, and although I am sure I was meant to distrust him, I just didn’t. I loved seeing things from his POV, as it enabled me to feel (maybe see – it hasn’t been confirmed yet lol) that there was more to this character than first meets the eye (which is a bloodthirsty, merciless witch who will kill you as soon as looking at you). As we slowly unravel this complicated, and in a strange and twisted way – an honourable character, we will find that he is far more than the ruthless hunter the girls are running from. But it is all hints and minor acts that show us depth to Aeduan – there is far more of his story to come, and we are yet to see if the Bloodwitch is made from purely bad blood. I can’t wait to see how this aspect of the story develops.
The relationships and character development really drive this story. With a pleather of interesting characters, Safiya, Iseult, Aeduan, Merik who are all fierce in their own right (some down-right scary, others more cunning), but it is the dynamics between these characters that really hooks you into this story. The bonds, the hatred, the cleverness, the burning, the determination, the desire, the repulsion…. It is a recipe for disaster, or greatness!
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! I am hoping for some more information in the sequel to fill in a few spots, and I am truly hoping it doesn’t fall into clichés and tropes. Truthwitch is a strong start to what could be a fantastic YA fantasy series, and I cannot wait to see where the story takes me next!