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Truthwitch: A Witchlands Novel (The Witchlands, 1) Hardcover – January 5, 2016
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"Truthwitch has it all, strong female characters, adventure, magic, romance, and non-stop action that will leave you breathless!" (Maria V. Snyder, New York Times bestselling author)
"Truthwitch by Susan Dennard is so, so, so great - epic fantasy, epic adventure, epic friendship." (Kate Elliott, World Fantasy Award Finalist)
"A masterfully told tale loaded with political intrigue, magic, harrowing fight scenes and escapes, mythical creatures, legendary prophesies, breakneck adventure, and even romance, this book will have readers breathlessly awaiting the sequel." (School Library Journal)
Starred Review. "Dynamic storytelling and a fully imagined magical world...Dennard's rich descriptions, insightful characterizations, and breathtaking action sequences will keep readers on their toes." (Publishers Weekly)
About the Author
- Grade Level : 7 - 9
- Lexile Measure : 810L
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0765379287
- ISBN-13 : 978-0765379283
- Product Dimensions : 6.4 x 1.34 x 9.62 inches
- Reading level : 13 - 18 years
- Publisher : Tor Teen; 1st Edition (January 5, 2016)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #629,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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There’s a lot to take in. This world has so much potential. You only get a very little bit of background because everything is so plot driven. That goes for characters too. Iseult, for example. There’s a bit about her mom and her past. A very little bit. A chapter maybe. And then she’s back to following Safi.
There’s Aeduan. Very interesting character but a lot of his info is a mystery.
Merrick and Safi you get a little bit more history but still, it doesn’t seem like enough.
I read this like I watch most anime (not the really good anime). The fight scenes are a bit ninja-anime-like and the characters are platonic. But it’s fun to watch for the time it’s on. I want to read the next book but I don’t know if I like this style of so much action to propel the story with very little actual storyline.
PS. The point of views change between these four main characters, though it feels like Safi and Merrick get the most “screen time.”
EDIT: i have to reiterate i read all 3 books because i have OCD that makes me finish most things no matter the cost.. If i could go back in time i'd force my self to never pick it up. I say this lightly. I'v read SO MANY "Epic" Fantasies and consider my self an expert in all things DND, i grew up watching the Hobbit on VHS when i was barely old enough to talk. I have a huge acceptance for all things failing grammatically, so long as the story is solid or it has great twists turns or exciting political intrigue with cloak and dagger etc etc. But i hate it when the focal point of the story is EMOTIONS and TRUST usually between an emotionally unstable female and a cold hearted merciless male. WHO CARES if he makes her feel safe and she makes him FEEL, that doesn't resolve the issue of people being enslaved and traitorous fathers making stupid decisions. If i wanted read about Excessive Quantities of Overly Emotional FEELINGS' i'd start reading Romance Novellas.
What is Truthwitch about?
Truthwitch follows two main characters, Safiya and Iseult. Safiya grew up as a domna, expected to eventually rule her uncle’s estate. She’s a truthwitch who can tell a truth from a lie, a fact she keeps hidden to avoid being used politically. Iseult is of the Nomatsi tribes. She left her tribe to apprentice in the city but can't escape the persecution that she faces because of her culture. She’s a threadwitch meaning she can see the connections between people. The two best friends want nothing more than to live a simple life, though for them a simple life involves a bit of conning and thievery. But a failed robbery involving a Bloodwitch, and her uncle's involvement in the possible end of the twenty-year truce, throw that plan into chaos.
What I Liked
This book is as much about the characters as it is about the story. Safiya and Iseult have such an amazing friendship. It’s so refreshing to read a book where the friendships are so much more important than the romance (not to say that there isn’t some great romance!). They’re also very different people which makes it easy for any reader to find one of them you can identify with.
I LOVE the magic in this book. While every witch falls into a category, they may have different strengths and weaknesses in that category. It’s a very practical take on magic with witches joining trades based on their talents. So much of the technology is magic based which is awesome. It’s just so cool seeing new types of witches and seeing the creative ways that they each use their power and that the world has adapted to the power existing.
Top reviews from other countries
Okay, so I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about this book so was really unsure what to expect. Some people love it and some hate it- it seems to be the marmite of the YA Fantasy world. I know there was a massive hype for this book when it first came out but somehow I missed that so I didn't have any prejudgements of the book itself which is always a good sign. But I was hoping it was going to be good.
The plot follows two witches, Safi who is a rare Truthwitch and Iseult who is Threadwitch meaning she can see others emotions/feelings and their connection to the world. So basically the coolest witch. Can you tell I am biased? Safi and Iseult are both Threadsisters and I found it interesting because Safi is much higher in terms of her status whereas Iseult seems to be very low. The book follows them being chased by various bad guys around a world which seems very medieval. You can tell this book is meant to be a set up for a series for sure but it also does a great job of that.
At first I found it really hard to get around the world building because there seemed to be a lot of words but not a lot of explanation. You really are shoved at the forefront of all the action as a reader. But I really did love this world! I just had to give it some time. I think this is because everything is very unclear to begin with such as the types of witches, who Safi and Iseult actually are and an impending war (I still don't know how it began).
However, I think which really made the novel was after the first 200 pages everything really started to come together and when Safi and Iseult are both separated there is real development within their characters. I liked that romance wasn't the forefront of the novel either- you don't often get a girl/girl friendship being the main vocal point of any novel never mind fantasy.
The one POV which I really enjoyed because there was a lot of POV's was of Aeduan. He is the Bloodwitch and plays the 'bad guy'. We all love a bad guy. His witchery was also totally badass. He quickly became my favourite character and I just wanted to know more about him. I was left with so many questions at the end of the book. It wasn't fair!
All in all, I did enjoy this book and will be getting the sequel, Windwitch, soon. So a big thank you to Anna and Sakina for recommending it to me!
The start did take me a bit to get into as your thrown in on the action straight off and it took me a while to get the characters straight. So would give it a few chapters to get into it. This would probably be my only critasim though. Oh and at times as it jumps from character perspectives you can lose track of where everyone's at. This happened about twice both times in battle scenes. So not sure if I skipped an important sentence of if the author forgot to say but will see if I feel the same after a re-read.
Every main character I felt such a connection with their motivations felt so real. As Safi and Iseult as are so diffrent one impulsive and one controlled it's nice to read from each girls perspective to get a better understanding of each girl. It also helps as each girls witchery can only be seen and felt by them. The other perspectives help keep everything fresh. The characters are what makes this book so enjoyable so if you don't like them you will end up hating this book.
I like that this story's not a straightforward good and bad, black and white type of story. Every time you think you know where it's going more is revealed to you and you realise you were wrong. It keeps you excited to see where it's going. Though this book does have its problems I'm excited to see how this story continues.
I hate to add to the hype but this novel was just fantastic. I haven't heard the best things about Susan Dennard's 'Something Strange and Deadly' series, so I wasn't sure what to expect from Truthwitch , but Dennard really blew it out of the water (pun not intended). Her writing was great, and I feel like she really flourished when writing about the world and how it responded to magic - good and bad. I liked the magic system, though we don't learn a lot about how it works. I liked that using magic seeped the energy of a witch, and I really loved the different kinds of witches, which was something I actually thought I was going to dislike. The Origin Wells are interesting, and I hope we learn a little about how they affect the world in the next few instalments in the series.
The characters in this were actually very refreshing. Especially the women. They were all so complex and badass, and there wasn't a single love triangle in sight! I'm so pleased! The main female characters weren't telling us that they were kick-arse then being continuously saved by the men, they were being kick-arse. They all worked as a team, as equals, and I just revelled in it. I really enjoyed the different personalities and cultures that we were introduced to. The female friendships are top notch, even the male friendships, which I honestly haven't seen a lot of in YA either, were nice to read about. Also the names were great. Slightly off topic but Iseult is one of my favourite names ever.
Then there's the story itself, which was so freaking entertaining. Every time I sat down to read this I flew through it, devouring each page. This story is so fast-paced. Even with their journey across the sea and then across a continent it never seemed to slow right down, like novels of this sort usually do. It was also nice to see all of the witch types introduced without getting an info dump and while showcasing their powers in scenes that were actually relevant to the story's events. I'm curious to know more about the rarer types of witch (truthwitch, bloodwitch, voidwitch, etc.) and why they're considered so valuable. Since this is the first in a four (I think) book series there's a lot of questions left unanswered, but it just makes me all the more excited for the next book.
Truthwitch was honestly just such a lovely surprise. The only thing that swayed me to buy this was that some big fantasy authors were giving it five stars, so even though I was completely sceptical I caved and bought into the hype, and I'm so glad I did. One of the easiest five star ratings I've ever given
It's real strength though, was in the characters and their various relationships. Not just the romance (which did not over-dominate like it can in some YA books) but the unusually strong focus on friendships such as that between the main pair of characters, Safiya and Iseult, which was really the driving force for the whole story.
In summary: both Safiya and Iseult are unregistered (read: illegal) witches in a world where witchery is based around elemental affiliations and each witch has a particular talent such as wind, tide, glamour or poison. Safiya is a Truthwitch, a rare and powerful gift which would place her in both demand and danger were it known, while Iseult is a Threadwitch, with the ability to see people's emotions and connections to each other - but not her own. The girls get into trouble within the first few pages of the book, earning themselves an enemy in the form of a powerful Bloodwitch, and as if their own problems weren't enough they're soon entangled in the politics of empires and nations as war threatens. The supporting characters they meet along the way are as compelling and well-developed as the main pair, and add a lot to the book's appeal.
The plot races along to a thrilling conclusion, but as you'd expect from the first in the series it raises as many questions as it answers.
The characterisation in this novel is, as I've said, stellar. Safi, Iseult, Merik and Aeduan are compelling leads and each of them carry their own POV chapters with distinct voices, each with their own unique, often conflicting perspectives on the huge world they inhabit. And Dennard deftly uses these perspectives to explore a wealth of ideas, problems and themes that build into the Witchlands but also have their counterparts in our own world, from racial prejudice and the disparity between rich and the poor, to the reality of what it means to be young and have everyone telling you the world is at your feet.
The secondary characters are not forgotten either. With just a few scenes, Ryber's character is established, with layers of depth that promise plot twists to come. Leopold is another fascinating character who's not what he seems, and Evrane is saintly, kickass, and not your average wise woman - definitely more than just a convenient holder of useful information for the benefit of Safi and Iseult.
Overall, this book is a fantastic start in an exciting new fantasy series set in a huge and diverse world, the Witchlands - and it also features one of the most fun and inventive magic systems I've seen in a while. Highly recommend.