Monday, February 1, 2016

Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Pages: 416
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: January 5, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen 
Source: Library Book
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."
Safi is a Truthwitch, which means she has special powers. She can figure out if someone is lying and her best friend, Iseult, is a Threadwitch, which is someone who can literally visualize the emotions of other people.  They are both fugitives of the law, but more importantly, best friends.  But things get dangerous for both girls when they realize that Safi's special skills make her a target.  Many people want Safi for her powers and to make matters worse, a dangerous Bloodwitch is tracking her.  Susan Dennard's much-talked about young adult fantasy, Truthwitch, is an action-packed novel that fans of high fantasy will enjoy.

For starters, I want to applaud Dennard for creating such kick-butt heroines in Truthwitch. I loved Safi and Iseult's strong friendship and bond. It's so refreshing to see females supporting other females as I feel like young adult literature is often riddled with mean girls.  I wanted to see more of this in young adult literature and I'm I got it! Safi balances Iseult out well, vice versa, and their relationship is my absolute favorite aspect of Truthwitch.  

My issue with Truthwitch stems mainly from the world-building. Guys, I found it to be confusing. There are so many kinds of witches, there's three empires, political intrigue and readers are thrown right into it without much background. I was hoping for more of an explanation regarding the politics as well as exactly what a Truthwitch is..... Instead readers are plunged knee deep right into the action with little to no explanation.  I felt like I was playing catch-up the first quarter of the novel; it was tough just trying to keep it all straight.  When a book is hyped as much as Truthwitch is, I expected a bit more in this department.

Dennard jumps from various points of view in Truthwitch: Safi, Iseult and Prince Merik as well as bad-guy Aeduan's perspectives are all shared.  I thought Dennard did a good job keeping the story flowing and the various points of view were easy to discern.  

Truthwitch isn't strong in the romance department; in fact, the romance felt rather blah to me.  But like I said, I wasn't reading it for the romance. I was reading it for the strong female friendship, the courageous heroines, as well as the adventure.  And there's a lot of adventure here!

Ultimately, I had some issues with Truthwitch, but nothing too serious.  If you love high fantasy and you love to see strong heroines and an even stronger female friendship, then check out this book this winter. I can see why it has already accumulated many fans.


  1. I'm glad this one has a good friendship at its center but that is too bad about the world building. Some books are filled with too much information at the beginning and others not enough. I think it can be a difficult balance but it sounds like even with the flaws this is a fun story. Great review!

    1. Yes, it is definitely tricky to balance. It was still a fun story though. I can't wait to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  2. It sounds like I'll have a difficult time following the different threads of stories from different sources in this book. I'm a horrible fantasy reader to begin with, so I think I'll pass.

    1. There were about three different threads, so if that is too much for you, definitely skip-it. I can see why many people liked the book though, so you should definitely give it a try. Thanks for visiting, Joy!


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