Saturday, 2 April 2016

Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
Author: Susan Dennard
Release date: January 14th 2016
Publisher: Tor
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: ARC
Pages: 412

Source: Pansing

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.

Truthwitch is such a refreshing change from the trend of reused plots that have taken over a lot of YA fiction these days. It follows two witches, Safiya and Iseult, who have different strengths and powers, and use them as they see fit. I loved the fast-paced plot after the beginning few chapters, and I really grew to like the main characters we meet.

There are several different kinds of witches in this book, Safiya being a Truthwitch and Iseult a Threadwitch. Safiya can discern when people are lying, and Iseult can gauge people's emotions. The two are Threadsisters, connected by a bond that I can't really describe, but the closest thing to it would be parabatai from The Mortal Instruments series. The two are on the run after getting into trouble with a Guildmaster, and they find themselves in Venaza City, trying to escape the Bloodwitch after them. Which is where they meet Merik, and Safiya is made to become the noblewoman that she is.

Safiya and Iseult are from very different backgrounds, so it was interesting to see how well they connected with each other despite their differences. Safi is the Domna of Cartorra, while Iseult is from the Nomasti tribe, looked down upon by everyone around her. The two are separated for quite a bit of this book, and I think that helped a lot for them to figure out who they are.

I adored Safiya! She's smart and resourceful and badass, and I loved that she never gave up on anything. Her constant verbal and physical confrontations with Merik were a source of great amusement in this book. I cannot wait to read more about her in the next! Iseult on the other hand is more difficult to figure out. I preferred Safiya's POV, so I guess that's why I focused less on Iseult. But I do hope we find out more about her in the next.

There are four different POVs in the book - Safiya, Iseult, Merik and Aeduan. Merik is the prince of Nobrevna and also the captain of a ship, and Aeduan is the Bloodwitch who's after the Threadsisters. I loved both the male POVs, they were so starkly different, and really interesting. Merik is an awesome character, and though he did things I didn't condone, I understood them. He cares about his crew and his people more than anything else in the world, and he'll do anything to make sure they stay safe. Aeduan is kind of a mystery, and I was so intrigued by him throughout. I need to know his story! I hope we get to find that out soon.

There isn't much romance in this book, not really. Trust me when I say Safiya and Merik did not get along at all for most of the novel. Safiya was a burden on Merik since he had to transport her safely to a port in order to participate in a trade contract with Cartorra. And he really needs that contract, for his people. The two of them practically hated each other for a while! And I didn't like the way Merik treated her in some parts. But it was amazing to see Safiya slowly beginning to understand him, to empathize with him. And seeing them fall for each other was so incredibly sweet. I can't say whether their romance will be a big deal later on either, because regardless of his feelings, Merik would still put his crew and people first.

I realize I haven't said much at all about the plot, and I don't want to. There's a lot that happens, and I don't want to give anything away. There is so much suspense, though. And action, and intrigue, and I really couldn't put this book down. I read it all in one sitting, which is saying something since it's pretty long! There really was never a dull moment in it.

I was satisfied with the climax and the ending, and there were things I didn't see coming. I'm eager to see how Dennard explores some of the big revelations she made here in the next book. Truthwitch was a great beginning to this series, and I urge all you fantasy/paranormal lovers to pick it up!

*Thank you to Sasha from Pansing for sending me an ARC for review*

Rating: 4/5

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