Feb 21, 2016

Truthwitch (The Witchlands 1)

  by SUSAN DENNARD  

book review rating 3 out of 5

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 k ...more

Goodreads summary

CURSE YOU FICKLEWITCHERY! I’m undecided. I'd like to rate it 2, or 3, or even 4. So, don’t bother with the rating, read on to find out more about my sudden onset of Ficklewitch prowess.

As the first of four planned books in The Witchlands series, Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard, features a breadth of elements that I savor in fantasy novels: an intriguing magical world, fast-pace adventures, spot on humor, steamy romance, and so much more. Here comes the dreaded…But, I had a really hard time connecting with the protagonists—Safiya and Iseult. I found myself not wanting to read about them for a good portion of the story until about the last quarter, then I raced breathlessly to the end.

At its heart, Truthwitch is a beautiful tale of the deep bonds of friendship. I get this appeal, and I absolutely love that Ms. Dennard has chosen to write a story in which the ties of friendship can be just as epic as that of romance. Safiya and Iseult’s Threadsisterhood would have been truly great if they'd shown more consideration for other's instead of only thinking of themselves. It would seem that nothing and no one seemed to ever matter to Safi except for Iseult, and vice versa.

“…when Safi had fought for Iseult—had done everything she could to compensate and to save her other half from the damage she’d wrought—Safi had ended up hurting someone else. Lots of someones.”

I’ve always really enjoyed complex characters that exude strength through struggle. I couldn't see Safi in this light. I took her confidence for arrogance, passion for temper, and ingenuity for troublemaking. I was beginning to believe her uncle's words.

“If you wanted to, Safiya, you could bend and shape the world…Unfortunately, you seem to lack the initiative.”

The character development was really going to “hells gate.” Until that moment when Safi seemed to grow right before my mind’s eye. She gained humility and showed compassion to someone else other than Iseult. That was the turning point for me. Safi took me on a long and arduous character arc, which I feared I wouldn't enjoy. But, my fear was unfound, freeing up my attention to focus on Merik (valiant Prince and his silly bone broth) and Aeduan (deadly assassin and his adorable feelings for a particular Threadwitch).

One of my favorite parts of the book is the highly developed magical realm—the Witchlands—full of exquisite details about the intricate and elaborate magical system. The plethora of witchery seems to be limitless. Each new magic falls within the established magic laws, and feels very naturally and well thought out. And with each new magic introduced, the Witchland magic felt very familiar. Where have I read this recently?

Evrane’s Waterwitchery = Corporalki Healer
Aeduan’s Bloodwitchery = Corporalki Heartrender
Kullen’s Airwitchery = Etherealki Squallers/Tidemakers
Eron’s Aetherwitchery = Fabrikators

Of course, there were a few witcheries, like Truthwitch and Threadwitch, which are very unique. Others though, they resonate very loudly with those in Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse. So, while I did fall in love with the Witchlands, I am reluctant to hail it as completely “original.”

Truthwitch ended much more positively than I expected. Ms. Dennard begins to set the stage for her next book by slowly revealing a larger more ruthless political game—a widespread web of conspiracy to steal away the Truthwitch. She also hints of a world on the verge of being reborn in the hands of two young characters who have yet to know they're great potential. Are they the Cahr Awen—a mythical pair with the ancient power to change the world? I can’t wait to find out!

BOOK TALK: Hate me for reading her book or hire me to be part of her ARC team (please let it be the latter), I mean absolutely no disrespect to Ms. Dennard, but I found several errors in my book. The most obvious of which is, “...to sniff out unmarked hereitcs heretics.” This little typo can be found on page 82. What are your feelings when you come across errors in a published book (non-ARC)?

Available at

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