Welcome to the Witchlands

Truthwitch (#1) by Susan Dennard
three-star-rating-black-hi (3.5)

I was definitely pretty excited to pick this up – this has been a highly anticipated book for me, Itruthwitch just hadn’t gotten around to it yet. Then I was able to pick it up for $3.99 on BookOutlet.com, so
I had to jump on it. I’ve also been reading a slew of contemporary novels, so I thought it was time for a much-needed fantasy.

When I read the description, I knew that I needed to read this book. The aspect of people’s “witcheries” in this book totally brought me back to my earlier days of reading fantasy. People have “witcheries” which are different powers that manifest in them. Safi, one of our main characters, is a Truthwitch which means she can tell when people are telling the truth or telling lies. Iseult, our other main character, is a Threadwitch which means she can see the threads that connect people. After a pretty rough altercation, the two have to flee their home and then they find themselves on the run from a Bloodwitch. Sounds really cool, right? 🙂

All in all, a solid fantasy read. I will definitely be continuing with the series, which by the way…I just realized that this was going to be a 4-book series. You know I’m all about those longer fantasy series’, so hopefully this is one of those series that just keeps getting better and better. Keep reading for some more spoiler-y details 🙂

The premise of this book definitely drew me to the book, automatically, but I found that it was a solid middle of the road fantasy book. It was light, in that there was hardly any world-building in the book. This left me confused in parts, as the story kept progressing without any of the story context to back it up, which definitely left me feeling a bit disappointed. I know some people aren’t huge fans of world-building, but I love it so much. That’s why I love fantasy and why I’m drawn to it. I love the intricacies of world-building and how much thought it requires to do it well. I love having to draw out charts and tables to keep all of my details straight when learning a new world and this definitely didn’t deliver in that department. Now…knowing that this is going to be a 4-book series…I’m hoping that that means that there will be more world-building as the story progresses.

Now I know that that wasn’t the start to a rave review, but let me share with you what I did love about this book. I loved the two protagonists and that their friendship was the focal point of this book. You don’t see many books, particularly YA books, to focus on friendships rather than romance, and I loved that Susan Dennard took a chance on friendship. Female friendship, at that. Women who stick together and who build each other up, rather than tearing each other down. I loved it!!

Time to break our characters down a bit. Safi, our Truthwitch, was definitely my least favorite of our two protagonists. I wasn’t particularly fond of her fairly erratic behavior and her flare for the dramatic. She seemed to make decisions without a lot of thought and when confronted with it, she basically pawned it off onto Iseult. Despite all that, I definitely saw growth in her character throughout the book, leading up to the end where she selflessly gave herself over to Vivia. Since that is where the book left us, I am excited to see if her character continues to grow in the second book and if she is able to hone in on her ability moving forward. Now Iseult is a BADASS!! She is our Threadwitch, which in my opinion, is the far cooler ability. Iseult is able to not only see the threads that connect people together, she is also able to see the individual threads that surround each individual person. She is able to glean people’s emotions and thoughts based on the threads that surround them. She is also prejudiced against in the book due to her ethnicity (?), and I found that this gave her character a lot more resiliency than Safi, who seemed to have grown up in privilege (plus she’s royalty…so, duh…). I loved how the two balanced each other out and may potentially make up the legendary Cahr Awren, which speaks of two witches restoring balance to magic in the Witchlands.

Now – I obviously have to balance out praise with some criticism. I wasn’t a huge fan of how Iseult, clearly being our “minority character” in the book, represented the darker half of the Cahr Awen, whereas Safi, our character of privilege, represented the light half of the Cahr Awen. Isuelt is portrayed to be the character that doesn’t have as much control over her ability and even the character that potentially has some dark underlays in her powers. Whereas, Safi is constantly portrayed as the “purer” of the two with powers that she can’t even begin to fully understand. I am a little disappointed in the overlays of privilege and oppression in our characters…and I’m hoping to see some continual changes as the series progresses.

In terms of other noteworthy characters: Evrane, who is a Carawen monk, is an incredible side character and definitely doesn’t get enough book show time. She carries a lot of power and is incredibly wise. I am excited to see how she continues to grow and the impact that she will continue to have. Aeduan, the Bloodwitch that is chasing after Safi and Iseult. Aeduan’s witchery is frightening, to say the least, as he can control the blood of others, as well as his own. He is able to manipulate the blood of people to his bidding, which is beyond frightening. Merik, the supposed heart throb for Safi and Windwitch – though, the book leads us to believe that his witchery isn’t strong enough to be considered a full Windwitch. He’s definitely a little rough around the edges and is also a bit erratic, which I guess makes him a pretty good supposed match for Safi.

Overall the book was very good – I definitely don’t want this review to sound like I didn’t enjoy the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was a good light fantasy read to use as a transition from contemporaries back to fantasies. As it is the first book in the series, I am excited to see the story progress and grow. This first book was definitely more character driven, than world driven and I am hoping for some more world-building as we progress forward.

So, if you’re looking for a good fantasy read with some badass female protagonists…then I definitely recommend picking this one up! 🙂

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One thought on “Welcome to the Witchlands

  1. […] favorite character // I think this has to be Iseult from Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. I have a full review of this up on the blog, so check it out! Iseult is smart, kind and has a dark past, which we […]


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