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.
“I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.”
I had pretty high expectations for this one, and most of them were met. Although I was a bit lost in the beginning, the world Susan Dennard created with witches and sea creatures and magic was pretty interesting. I loved all the different types of witches people could be and seeing how their abilities worked, with my favorites being the Threadwitches and their Threadstones. The author also managed to juggle the four different points of view without any trouble, making them flow naturally and without any abrupt shifts or cuts that disrupted my reading.
The characters were well developed and layered, even the side/minor ones. Susan Dennard added depth to all of the characters, and as the story progressed the more complex all of them seemed. Iseult and Aeduan were particularly fascinating to me in that aspect.
Iseult was my favorite character by far. Not only because she was a Threadwitch, but because of how badass and fierce she was. Unfortunately (and here’s my one problem with the book), I disliked Safi a lot at the beginning and that didn’t change much as the story progressed. She seemed self-centered and was totally reckless at times. But, to my surprise, after doing something that ended badly (and actually could have turned out a lot worse) Safi actually took a moment to reflect on her behavior and recognize that she needed to stop being impulsive and oblivious to the world around her. It was very rewarding seeing her progress and grow as a character in that way, and it was enough to make me enjoy her character a little bit more. Until she did something stupid again.
Another aspect I liked: Iseult and Safi’s friendship was such a delight to read about, even though I disliked Safi most of the time. They were so protective of and careful with each other, and you could see just how much love they shared between them. It’s not often we find good female friendships in books, but Iseult and Safi’s was written beautifully.
Merik and Aeduan’s POVs were gave us great insight of what life was like for witches in different positions than those of Iseult and Safi’s. Merik’s took us to an entire foreign place in the Witchlands, and showed us the consequences of war and how dark things could be when you were part of a little nation that was about to be beaten down by bigger ones. Aedaun’s followed the nobility and all that dealing with nasty people in power entails, but still showing us that maybe he was not as awful as he seemed.
Truthwitch was a great YA Fantasy read, and it worked very well as a set up for what is to come. I am definitely going to pick up the next installment, though, because I do feel like the series does have the potential to do even better as we delve deeper into the world of the Witchlands and witches.