Saturday, 9 January 2016
Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
Author: Susan Dennard
Release Date: 5th January 2016 (14th January in UK)
Source: Arc won from twitter. Bought finished copies.
Synopsis: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery”, a magical skill that sets them apart from others.In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. (Taken from Goodreads)
It has taken me some time to feel equal to the task of writing a coherent review of this book which I read for the first time around the end of July 2015 (yes JULY). I finished my third, possibly fourth – I have honestly lost count – reading of my beauteous US arc *pets fondly* around the start of December and it’s taken me until now to actually complete this review. Truthwitch is now out in the world (still officially a few days away for the UK although I do have my finished copy already) which is such a joyous thing to me after being so utterly invested in the journey of this book since last spring. Holy void wells we’re finally at the end of the road. O_O
First I’d like y’all to do something for me, to set the scene if you will. Cue up in another window this video and then read this excerpt of Chapter 1 of Truthwitch. Now hit play on that song and read the chapter, come back when you’re done. Ok? Great.
*jazzy interlude musak*
You done? DO YOU WANT TO READ TRUTHWITCH YET?! OF COURSE YOU DO! Because that’s basically how that first chapter left me feeling. We’re thrown head-long into the action from the first line and by the end of this opening chapter you’re already breathless with excitement for what’s to come. It’s so magically visual that with the song playing in the background you can practically see it playing like a movie in your mind.
If you want there is also a sneak peek at Chapter 2 over on the Witchlands site that you can read once you’re finished here, which I *highly* recommend you do- there’s loads of other cool stuff over there as well like character quizzes and the most awesome author interview.
Annnnd back to the review. I don’t want to go into too much detail of all the things I love about the story as it’s not fair to veer into Spoiler Town so soon after release. BUT what I will talk about is one of the BEST aspects of the ENTIRE BOOK. Which is the dynamic duo known as Safiya fon Hasstrel and Iseult det Midenzi. Threadsisters for life, literal soul twins, these girls are the most BAD-ASS of best friends. This book slays thanks to the epicness of Safi & Iz’s relationship. Right from the beginning you can see just how much they mean to each other and the lengths they will go to in order to keep each other safe. Like, murder is not out of the question if your Threadsister is in danger. *cracks knuckles*
Besides our two main gals there is a whole host of fascinating characters including two certain gentlemen whose POV we get to read from as well as the girls’ and let me tell you – you are almost definitely going to have a fav by the end so share nicely with the other folk. There’s plenty of Merik and Aeduan to go around :P. Although I would like to call dibs on Aeduan please. At least on Thursdays. If you want more info that that awful tease then you should check out this video (link) where Sooz herself talks about the boys of Truthwitch.
Another aspect of Truthwitch which is SPECTACULAR is the world-building. Just how fantastically vast the world is, you can see from the map in the front of the book (also on the Witchlands website – click everything it’s glorious), and as you read you’re surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of strange new lands and cities. Diverse cultures and people populate the Witchlands and over the four books in this series (oh yeah there’s gonna be four books people) I hope we continue to explore all the fabulous places on the Truthwitch map.
The other deliciously complex aspect of the world-building in Truthwitch is the vast array of Witcheries that people can possess and how the different elements which fuel magic are used across the Witchlands. The way Susan has woven the magic into the myth and fabric of the world is stunning and I cannot wait to see how everything progresses throughout the series.
It is a difficult thing for me to truly explain why I love Truthwitch so much. A lot of it is tied up in how long I have been following this book’s journey into the world and how much I admire and respect Susan for what an incredible world she has created. Reading this book multiple times has made me appreciate the extreme level of passion and care that has gone into its crafting and just knowing how much Safi & Iseult’s friendship is inspired by Sooz’s friendship with Sarah J. Maas honestly makes me emotional in many odd ways.
If you've ever read a post of mine or follow my twitter then you may know that my best friend on this whole damn planet is Jess of Jess Hearts Books – she’s just posted her review of Truthwitch because of course we’d get them done on the same day – even before either of us read Truthwitch we both related ENORMOUSLY to Sooz & Sarah’s amazing friendship from following them on social media. So when we entered Safi & Iseult's world we instantly fell in love with their relationship and the idea of Threadsisters – friends so close that the very fibres of their being are inextricably entwined – to the extent that now we use that word to describe our own friendship.
Truthwitch has become one of those books so dear to my heart that I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about near enough everyday. I've read it at least three times and it's highly likely that I'll read it another three times at least before Windwitch comes out.
I know this review is awfully long and more than bit fangirly but believe me Truthwitch is more than worth every bit of praise I could lavish upon it. I strongly suggest you go out and get yourself a copy as soon as possible so you can lose yourself in the Witchlands like I have. I promise you won't be sorry you did.
Rating : Four & a half stars out of Five!