15 January 2016

Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Susan Dennard
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 8/10

Summary (Goodreads. Da real MVP):

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.

My Thoughts:

"I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end."

What a fantastic way to start off the reading year! Honestly this book, story, and world has so much potential to be a memorable and riveting trilogy/series/idk what the plans for this book is. While I took immense pleasure in the story, as it really was a wild ride, I had some large problems which I couldn't get past, which is why I couldn't commit to a 5/5 stars. But I will happily start with why I loved this book.

I'm going to start right out by saying that it was so utterly refreshing to read about the relationship between the two main girls in the story. I was expecting much from the friendship bond between them and I was not disappointed! The idea of the Thread-family bonds between people is an interesting and relatable concept that I really appreciated and had was completely on board with! I liked the lack of romance (even though romance was inevitably there, but I will get to that later), and it was clear the thriving relationship that could bend and break their world is through the Threadsisters. Susan Dennard made the main relationship not one of romance, but of friendship and sisterhood, but she didn't do it in a blatant way that screamed "My book is different than others because of this". It was lovely and inspiring and I liked it very much.

The characters in this story are all wonderful. There was not one I blatantly hated, which is saying much because I usually hate at least one character in a novel, usually because we are supposed to hate them. In this novel, there is no one "evil mastermind" the reader is supposed to feel hatred towards. Safi is witty and hilarious, and she has just the right amount of snarky sarcasm that I am wholly on board with. She went through such a character development in this book, and I was surprised of that. And it didn't move too quickly. The development happened in due time and went well with the plot of the story. Safi and her carelessness is a perfect contrast to Iseult, her Threadsister, who is calculating and "timid". I use that term lightly because there were moments where she seemed to be a tad timid, but her kickassery proved her to be otherwise. I loved their relationship as it seemed so natural and I WANT TO BE THEIR FRIEND.
I LOVED AEDUAN! Like, from the get go I knew he was going to be important, and I loved getting an insight into his character. There is so much more to learn about him and his past and he was probably my favourite character. His interactions between Iseult, Evrane, and Prince Leopold were memorable and quite important into learning about him as a person/character ... Speaking of Leopold I also loved him he was fantastic.
Prince Merik... I liked him as a character and I truly admire his leadership skills and coming into position. It's clear he's inexperienced and just trying to tdo the best he can and really that's all I can ask for. I want him to strive.

As previously stated, there were things I didn't care for and couldn't get past. The most prominent problem being the world-building. While I became accustomed to it by the end, there were so many things in this world that were not explained and I didn't understand; so many things were not established SO IF YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THESE THINGS ARE PLEASE EXPLAIN THEM TO ME BECAUSE AFTER READING 415 PAGES I STILL DONT UNDERSTAND: the origin wells and their history, wtf is the cahr awen, what are hell-bards & marstoki adders, how the truce came about and why it is ending (i'm assuming because it's a 20-year truce and 20 years is up?), how a person comes to cleave, how severed threads come to sever, why Nomatsis are hated, why there's another war, the politics, what happened with the interaction between Merik and Vivia between stolen ships? Clearly there were a lot of aspects to the story and plot line that were not explained, therefore I didn't understand. And that made the story hard to follow at times. So yes, if someone can explain these things to me I would greatly appreciate it.
The other thing I can't get on board with is the romance between Merik and Safiya. While she was on his ship, he treated her as a prisoner and while he shows meager ounces of respect and dignity toward her, ultimately he sees her as a piece in his contract. She is objectified by him as a bargaining chip, yet he's falling in love with her? Rather than tying her up, taking her food after offering it, and then mocking her, he could show some respect to her as a person and not assume the worst about her? I just feel as though he always hated her and made her "rage", but then he loves her at the same time and I just couldn't get on board with it or fathom how he could fall in love with someone who he hates and is rude to at the same time.
Also there were a few things that I definitely saw coming and were quite predictable. Still, the story kept me on my toes.

Final Thoughts: Other than that, though (lol), I did enjoy this book and the wild ride it sent me on. The characters were honestly so great, and the story was compelling and unique! While, again, I did have some problems, I'm hoping things will get cleared out in the next book, and I'm so excited to see where on Earth this adventure could go from here! Highly recommend!

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