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.
Well, it's one year later and I finally picked up Truthwitch by Susan Dennard! I adored her Something Strange and Deadly trilogy and since there was soooo much hype surrounding this one, I had high expectations...and this is where I say the unpopular opinion of they weren't quite met. Don't get me wrong, this was still a really good read. Perhaps part of my issue was I was fighting a cold during the beginning half of the book and then full out sick for the latter half. And add to that sickness that this is a fantasy with names galore that I can't pronounce and objects that can't be pronounced or quite understood well, you're looking at some enjoyment issues.
Safi and Iseult are best friends and are running away together because they want to leave their current life behind. This is where things begin to get muddied for me. I couldn't understand what their situation was and why they wanted to run away. Granted based on Iseult being Midenzi (I think that's the right word, I apparently forgot to write it in my notes), she's not well liked just on principle, she's also a Threadwitch and can basically read people's emotions. Safi is a Truthwitch and basically knows when you're lying or telling the truth. Truthwitches are rare and Safi is basically wanted for the power she can bring to whoever has her in their employ, but not everyone is willing to be so generous by employing her.
So once again we see Safi and Iseult running for their lives, add to that, a Bloodwitch is on their trail. He has the ability to track anyone once he has a hold of their scent and can basically control you and your blood when he sees you. Scary stuff, but I am already seeing the appeal to this darkness. And I think Susan is intending us to since the third book of the series will have some focus on him.
That being said, though this is called Truthwitch, we get a lot of different points of view, Safi's, Iseult's, Merik's, even Aeudan's. Yeah, names, so hard to pronounce! Drives me crazy. Let's get onto Merik though! Merik is a Windwitch and can control the winds basically. He's a ship captain and a prince. He's tasked with bringing Safi and Iseult to another country that's supposed to be their safe harbor, should he succeed without having injured Safi in any way, or having someone else injure her while in his care, then another country would open up trade to his, which his country is suffering from the lack of it.
So much goes on this book and yet these names and other vocab words kept tripping me up. It doesn't look like a glossary or character guide will be placed in the books either, which honestly would be super nice! I wanted to love this book, but didn't quite get to that point. Again, this could be because I was sick while reading it and am still a little sick as I write this...which makes me think holding off on Windwitch for a few days might be in order despite my need to keep reading!
There was just a hint of romance in this one between Safi and Merik. It was kind of cute, because they both try to fight the pull between them. And there may even be something in the works for Iseult and another character, but I won't spoil that much by going further. Things ended pretty dramatically in this one too! I wouldn't put it high on the cliffhanger scale but it does seem dire in the grand scheme of things. Glad I can just jump to the next one. Now to battle this congestion and get it cleared so I can start the next book with clearer head and hopefully be able to comprehend this fantastical world.
I had a few rough patches with this one and it wasn't the awe-inspiring tale that I had hoped for, but I am definitely sticking around for a little longer at least!
Overall Rating 3.5/5 stars