Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

(VAGUE SPOILERS AHEAD)

I loved this book. 

I just wanted to get that off my chest right away. I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve been reading recently but as soon as I opened this book and read the first few pages, I knew that I would adore this. I love the world & the premise, I adore the characters & the diversity, and I am a huge fan of the magic. But before I blurt out my entire review in a sloppy paragraph, let’s actually pull some things apart. 

A brief summary: This novel follows threadsisters (how cool is that!?) Safi and Iseult as they try to, initially, find freedom, and then basically just run for their lives. Safi is a rare Truthwitch, which means that she can tell when someone is lying/telling the truth and for that reason she is sought after by all the various empires. Iseult is a threadwitch, meaning she can see other people’s ‘threads’ which are similar to an aura. This book includes lots of kick-ass fights, sassy remarks, exciting magic, epic friendships, and general adventure and excitement. What more could you want?

The Writing: I read a review that said the writing in this book was quite simplistic, but I didn’t really notice that. The writing wasn’t intricately descriptive or anything like that but I found it to be very compelling and readable and I was definitely sucked into the book from the first few pages because of this. I adored the names and character descriptions in this book, and for me character names are incredibly important to my enjoyment of the book. It sounds silly but the name shapes the character for me and if I don’t connect with the name, I find it difficult to see the character as well.

The plot: I found the plot to be exciting and quick and it kept me on the my toes. I didn’t find it predictable and I was very much caught up in the story. I loved the mixture of kick-ass female heroines, sass, fast-paced fight-scenes & escape scenes, political complexities, interesting side & central characters, and general excitement (can you tell I enjoyed this book!?).

The characters: I adore Safi and Iseult. Safi is feisty and fiery and tends to speak before she thinks and kick people in the face before she’s really thought things through. Iseult is strategic and the calm to Safi’s fire, but she is also completely capable of kicking butt and wreaking havoc. Their friendship is probably one of the best female friendships I have ever read – it is strong and unapologetic and they would both do anything for the other, without hesitation. They’re both complex and interesting and have flaws and insecurities that enable them to be relatable. And Merik, oh grumpy Merik, I love you. Merik is such an interesting character to me and I really enjoyed his interactions with Safi, but also that his storyline was entirely his own and he didn’t exist solely to be a love interest to Safi. He’s complicated and irritating and rugged and thoughtful and cranky and cute. The banter between him & Safi was just so so good – I am entirely on board this ship, but no surprises there. Then there’s Aeduan…I knew that I would like him from the moment he tried to kill everyone. He’s just so funny and brooding and completely at peace with his murderous ways. I really liked the loyalty he had to his own values & morals and his chapters were so fun to read. I can’t wait to see what happens with him in the next book, especially in relation to Iseult – I am also completely on board that. There’s so many other characters that I won’t touch on but I will mention Evrane, Kullen, and Ryber. Oh I am so so devastated for Merik & Ryber. I really liked Kullen, but more than that I loved his bond with Merik, that their friendship (threadbrother’s) was just as unapologetic as the relationship between Safi and Iseult. There was no attempt to pretend that there relationship wasn’t as strong as it was and there wasn’t any avoidance of affection. Needless to say I am crushed. Poor Ryber!!!! I liked Evrane throughout the book but I liked her even more when I discovered that she was Aeduan’s mentor and that he was willing to throw himself into chaos to save her?? AH Aeduan. I hope these two have more interactions in Windwitch!

Cons: Rather than have this entire review be me gushing and flapping about like an overwhelmed fish, I will mention a couple of things I didn’t find as brilliant. I was quite confused at the beginning of the story because the magic system is not explained and so words like ‘threadwitch’, ‘truthwitch’, ‘voidwitch’, ‘aetherwitch’ etc are just thrown at you and you’re expected to just kind of go with it. It too me a little while to get a grasp on the different types of witches and I’m hoping that more is explained about the varieties in Windwitch. The world itself is also quite large and the names of the places/rulers/empires and so on are just mentioned without much explanation as to where they are, and who they are. I found myself flicking to the map at the beginning of the book (so helpful) in order to gauge where things were in relation to others. Even after finishing it I am still not entirely sure who rules what and who the lesser rulers are.

Overall, I just found this to be a freakin good story. I was entertained and when I wasn’t reading it I was thinking about it and wanting to curl up with it. Let me know if you’ve read it and how you felt about it!

xx Cass

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