Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

05.13.16The Kingston ChurchPsalm Drive, TexasTruthwitch Review

Book: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

Author: Susan Dennard

Original Release Date: 5th Jan 2016

Genre: YA/Fantasy

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Blurb: 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.

My Thoughts:

I should have loved this book. It has everything I look for; a very well built fantasy world, two kick ass female protagonists, a handsome male lead, and witches with amazingly intricate and specific powers. It sounds like it was made for me, but I think the hype surrounding this book had something to do with why I gave it a lower rating.

I really wanted to fall head over heels in love with this book, and I did with the world it was set in. But for some reason the overall story just didn’t pull me in. It took me around four months to read this book which I think didn’t help; that was mainly because of university commitments but if I had have been fully into the story I feel like that wouldn’t have mattered as much.

I liked the characters, and I was invested in them. I especially loved learning about Iseult’s past and the different things she could do with her magic and Safi and Merik’s interactions. I enjoyed Dennard’s writing style, and reading from the different characters point of views, especially Aeduan’s as it meant we could see his emotions and motivations without having to have the typical long winded villain speech somewhere in the book. But for some reason this just wasn’t enough for me. It kept me reading for the four months, and I did want to see what happened to these characters as I enjoyed reading about them, but the story they were in wasn’t compelling enough for me to devour it in the one or two sittings.

I don’t know why I wasn’t as sucked into the story as I wanted to be. There was a lot of action, although it didn’t feel like there was when I was reading, and the story was interesting but I wasn’t turning the pages at break neck speed like I wanted to be. I was more drawn into Iseult’s threads and what they revealed than the actual plot of the story and the ending especially felt like a let down. It was very anti-climatic in my view despite it paving the way for the sequel. I just really hope this isn’t a trilogy because I feel this world is so big, which is one of the aspects I really enjoyed about this book, that I just want to explore it, even if it isn’t with these characters.

I do like the characters, I wanted to know what happened to them and I wanted them to have a happy ending (which I knew was never going to happen in the first book of the series) but I didn’t feel like the characters had a lot of development throughout the novel. We saw Safi change a bit and take people other than Iseult into consideration, and the two of them having to work alone did develop their characters slightly but I still felt that the characters I was reading about at the end of the novel were practically the same as the ones I started reading about.

The character I was most invested it, strangely, was Evrane. I was really interested in her past and wanted to know more about what happened between her and some of the other characters that caused them to not like each other. I loved how she did what needed to be done despite what Merik said, and she always put healing someone over everything else. I really want to know more about what happened during her time at the Carawan Monastery, I just want to know more about the Carawan Monks in general really Susan are you picking up the Evrane prequel I’m putting down here?

I will probably get the sequel for this because of how much I need to know about this world, the different types of magic and what happened to these characters. I just hope the the story picks up and gets a bit more interesting.

I did enjoy reading this,  and if I hadn’t have had university it probably wouldn’t have taken me soooo long to read it, but despite that I couldn’t get into it as well as I wanted to. I was so looking forward to reading this book because of everyone’s amazing reviews and the synopsis sounding amazing, but I was let down by it. I desperately wanted to give this book a minimum of a four star rating but after finishing it I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I’m still looking forward to the sequel though and finding out what happens to our badass female protagonists.

What are your thoughts on Truthwitch? Did you love it? Did you hate it? Or did you agree with me? Let me know in the comments below!  

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