Book Review: Truthwitch By Susan Dennard

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Goodreads synopsis:

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.

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Have you ever had a book sitting on your shelves for years, maybe you’ve tried picking it up before but it didn’t quite capture you at that time so you put it back on your shelf for another day? That was my life with Truthwitch! Although I am glad I gave this novel another chance, I am finding it hard to review due to it feeling like the first section of one very long book with no satisfying conclusions to any of the characters storylines. Due to the length of this series, it feels as if I have barely touched the surface of what this series is truly about.

Truthwitch was definitely more “adult fantasy” than my usual YA reads. However I found that the world building usually found in adult fantasy was lacking. It wasn’t a huge deal for me due to the fact that I am not a huge high fantasy fan and often find dense world building tedious. However if you enjoy high fantasy you may find this novels world building murky and unsubstantial. There were also several characters that had names I couldn’t, for the life of me, pronounce! I found myself either skimming over them or creating completely new pronunciations in my head.

The story itself was great, maybe a little slow to start with, but it picked up after a while and I started to really enjoy the character interactions. The two main characters Safiya and Iseult (this is one of the names I made up a pronunciation for) have an incredible friendship, which I loved reading. They would follow each other everywhere, trust each other completely and die for one another. It was also really refreshing to see that when a romance was introduced, it did not affect their friendship in anyway. Speaking of which, the romance was alright, I do love a good snarky, “at each others throats” romance. However it did feel a little bit like “love at first sight.” I get the feeling this could be explained further down the track as having more to do with their magic causing an irrational instant bond (hopefully ha!) I am a total sucker for a romance though, so although it felt “insta lovey,” I still enjoyed it!

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. I loved the politics of the Witchlands and I am interested to see what happens next. I am hoping that the next book will flesh out the storyline a little more and hopefully it feels less like everything and nothing is happening all at once. Because of the time it took for me to really start enjoying this book, I am giving it 3.5 stars. I will continue the series, but for those of you who enjoy more in-depth fantasy, I’d give it a miss!

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