Truthwitch starts off with an explosive (literally) beginning as two girls' hijacking of a thief goes horribly wrong. While it can take some time to fully plunge into a world so drastically different from our own, soon enough you'll find yourself fascinated in the political aspects of the story as well as the action that seems to be occurring every few pages. There's not a lot of material in this story that can be classified as 'boring.'
The characters in the novel are well rounded and rather intriguing in their own way. There are three main characters and one supporting character that stand out. The three main characters are Safiya (I just see if as Sophia with an a), Iseult (no idea how to pronounce this one), and Merik (pretty straightforward). And the supporting character's name is Aeduan. Surprisingly enough, I found that I liked all of these characters. Usually when a novel follows a few characters, there's always one that I especially despise (example: Lucia, Falling Kingdoms).
Safiya is a truthwitch, which means that she is able to distinguish the truth from a lie. Honestly, I didn't find this power to be that impressive, sure it could be useful, but I'm more interested in the physical powers, I guess. (Such as power over fire or iron) While her power couldn't much protect her on a physical level, Safiya didn't much need it. She is a great protagonist because she doesn't really need anyone to protect her. Definitely not a damsel in distress. Sayifa can fight basically as well as anyone else in this story, she knows her way around a blade. Basically what I'm saying is if you avoided this book for a while because the idea of a truthwitch was unimpressive to you as well, I'd advise ignoring that and trying it anyway. Truthwitches are incredibly rare in this world, and when one is born, all the seven kingdoms want to be in possession of her/him. Why? Because a twuthwitch's skill is incredibly valuable in political circumstances. Aside from her fighting prowess and her powers, Safiya also has an engaging personality that I can relate with. She's incredibly passionate about what she believes in and will go to great lengths to get what she believes needs to be done done. I appreciated that about her. She also has no issue with annoying other characters, particularly Prince Merik. I really enjoyed how lighthearted Safiya could be in dark situations. She's a confident protagonist, not often feeling much self doubt, which can get her into (many) bad situations. All in all, I loved Safiya as a character.
Iseult is a Threadwitch. This means that she can 'see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her.' Like Safiya's power, I didn't find Iseult's power all that interesting in the synopsis. Like Safiya, it seems that Iseult can't very well use her power to protect herself in a physical fight. Also like Safiya, Iseult is a good fighter. She doesn't need a power to protect her. While her power isn't all that useful in a physical fight, I found Iseult's power of being able to read other people's emotions rather interesting. Especially when it came to reading the relationships between people. While I've read ideas and stories where people could see emotions, tell the difference between truths and lies and control elements, I don't think I've ever read a story with an idea similar to a threadwitch. Lately in my reviews you may have noticed I've been complaining a lot about the originality of the stories I've been reading. This story was refreshingly new. I really enjoyed the innovative ideas.
Iseult and Safiya are connected. They're threadsisters. One small issue I had with this book was that it didn't do well explaining some of the very unfamiliar terms. (cleaved, thread--insert family name here) You just kind of have to make a few assumptions about what is happening. I hope in the books to come that more world building will be a little more clear. Basically what I figured out about the threadfamily was that it's pretty much family, but they don't have to be related. They just become bonded together (and Iseult can see these bonds because she's a threadwitch.) You can have a threadbrother or if you're in a romantic relationship with someone, they can be included in your threadfamily. (I guess that'd be called a threadboyfriend?) Anyway, I loved the connection between these two girls. It was evident that they really did have a deep connection to each other and that they really loved each other. These two knew each other so well that they didn't even have to voice their thoughts, they just knew what the other needed or was thinking. That is friendship goals right there, one of the things that we all strive to achieve in our own relationships. I don't read a lot of books where people have a connection this deep and I really enjoyed reading about Safiya and Iseult's relationship. I'm looking forward to seeing more about it in future books.
Merik is the prince of a (basically) dying country. He's in desperate need of help from other counties, so he makes a deal to ferry a passenger across the sea. Little does he know how much trouble this passenger can cause, to his country and to his heart. The Prince is a windwitch. I think his powers are pretty self explaining. Like all the other characters in this book, he's very well rounded, having many different sides and realistic emotional reactions. Merik is not very good at controlling his emotions, especially his anger, but he is determined to be a good leader to his people. The next book is called Windwitch, so I'm fairly sure it's going to be more centered around Merik, I'm excited to see more about him.
Aeduan, I'm not going to tell you what he is, you'll find out soon enough. He's introduced as a slight antagonist, but I never really disliked him. I actually, from the beginning, found his character really fascinating, especially after the first piece of the book with his point of view. While he may seem like he has no morals at first, he clearly does. Aeduan doesn't harm those without weapons and he repays people who have helped him in the past as well as helps those who he may or may not have some degree of affection for. As the story went on, I couldn't help but find myself sympathizing with him, though, I did not want him to complete the mission he was on, I certainly didn't want him to die. I also really ship him with Iseult. Like they may have yet to have a romantic interaction, but I'm willing to bet that it will happen someday.
On the slight topic of shipping, I just want to say that the main romance that I hinted at earlier is a relationship to really fall in love with and root for. It's not instalove (Thank god), in fact the build up of sexual tension makes the moment that they actually get together all the more satisfying. I am really attached to this romance and I'm sure you will be too.
As I mentioned before, the ideas in this novel are new and inventive. There are some little cliches woven in, but they merge well with Dennard's ideas. I really enjoyed this book both for the exhilarating and thrilling plot and for the well written characters. 8/10 stars, I was really quite impressed. I'll be waiting impatiently for the next book, Windwitch, to be released in January 2017. (I KNOW. 2017? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I finished this thinking the next book was already out... I was wrong.)
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.
There are two reasons that I ended up buying this book. Reason 1. Because I've read some love ranting about it. 2. Sarah J. Maas (ONE OF MY FAVORITE AUTHORS) did the blurb.
Here's my reason for you to read it: It's a fantastical thrilling new story with kick ass protagonists and lovable relationships.
Now go on, read it! :)
SPOILERS BELOW FOR TRUTHWITCH
Was anyone else fangirling (or boying) over that dance between Merik and Safiya? It was amazing, I loved it. I already slightly shipped the two from that fantastic meeting moment when Safi was yelling at him about how to work buttons. Seriously, that moment was great and it still makes me smile just thinking about it. Like I said, I really did fall head over heels for this relationship. I mean really, they met and the first thing they did was yell at each other about buttons. WHAT IS NOT TO LOVE ABOUT THIS? If that's not romantic (haha) I don't know what is. The sexual tension between these two the entire book was fantastic, and that kiss scene was the perfect pay off. I was actually disappointed that Merik didn't seem to realize that it was Safiya's doing that the Empress' empire wanted to trade with him. I want to see his reaction when he realizes it, though, it was almost as good reading Safiya's note to her uncle on the contract. AH. This is my ship and I am willing to sink with it.
I'm assuming after Windwitch, since there are two more books, (as goodreads says) that the next two will be called Threadwitch and Bloodwitch. Just an assumption there.
Also, just as an ah ha note before I end this extensive review, I CALLED THAT S AND I WERE THE CAHR AREN (or however you spell it). I mean, it's not that surprising, there was a lot of foreshadowing, but I'm still proud of myself.
Thanks for reading, if you want anyone to fangirl about this with, contact me.