Buy or Borrow: BUY IT NOW, BUY IT!
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher, Tor!
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.
THIS BOOK GUYS! THIS FREAKING BOOK! I cannot even. I've genuinely had to finish the book....write my notes, and then sleep before typing up the review because I thought I might calm down and do a nice non fangirly review. That's totally not going to happen! This is my first favourite release of the year. It's only January, I know, but still. FAVOURITE OF THE YEAR.
I had no idea what to expect, the synopsis on the back of the proof didn't say much more than Safi being able to tell truth from lie, her being a rare witch and people most likely hunting her to use her, and Iseault not knowing what she really is or what her power really is and all about an impending war and them having to flee home. The GoodReads synopsis says more so I probably should have read that but then, at the same time, I kind of didn't want to be spoiled. This book has been all over my twitter and I've heard bits and pieces so Im' surprised that I managed to hold off reading this until closer to the pub date, I actually read it before Christmas, then scheduled the review for today! ANYWAY, I was going in to this pretty blind, not knowing all that much more than the book said and what I'd heard on Twitter and I ended up being completely surprised! Like I was expecting good things, but this blew past every single expectation that I had. How the frickety frack have I not read a Susan Dennard book before?!
I opened the book and the first thing I see, is a stunning map. You know a book's gonna be good when it has a beautiful map in the front of it. Hopes high for a fantastic read...I turned to the first page. I freaking LOVED the opening scene, it was SO perfect! It grabbed me and hauled me in to the story and I straight away was transported to the world, vividly picturing the scene. I immediately, right from that first page, knew I was going to love the book and the characters and the world. From that very first page I was completely addicted and knew it was going to get worse because this is the first book in a series, and it's already lodged itself as my new favourite series.
Safi is my favourite kind of character and I loved her from the start. She's badass, she's snarky and a bit rough round the edges sometimes, despite being of the nobility. Which I didn't realise until a certain scene! She's reckless and will do anything for Iseault, she doesn't really think before she acts she runs headlong in to things, and it was fantastic watching her develop over the course of the book. As things happen and she see's the consequences of her actions and towards the end of the book you really see how much she's changed as she does things to help others. I'm curious to see where she goes in the next books and what she'll do!
I should say at this point I'm trying to be spoiler free so some things are probably going to be vague and not make much sense until after you've read the book, like the above!
Moving swiftly on....Iseault! She's the perfect balance to Safi and the banter between the two of them brought a smile to a face and made me chuckle. They work so well together, they really are a team. The thing I loved about the book was that the friendship between the two of them was so strong and such a huge part of the story, one of the main themes even! It was so nice to see it in the book! Iseault also turned out to be so much more than I was expecting and OMG the hints of what she could become!? I could envision that thread rolling out in multiple different ways and it got me so excited for the next books! Watching Iseault struggle with what she could become and what she is is going to be so interesting to watch and I'm thinking Safi's going to be a huge part of what'll happen with her, either good or bad or both. I'm kinda hoping Iseault will be able to do the opposite of her shadowy counterpart.
On Twitter, I've heard people going on and on about Merik, so I was excited to finally meet him in the book and dammit if I didn't completely love him! He made me laugh, I found it interesting that he's a Prince but he cared about the issues the other nobles didn't. He genuinely cares about his people and wants to help them and look out for them. I'm so excited to see what he's going to do, the succession in his Kingdom is a bit different but his sister is a douche, so I'm hoping Merik's going to do/become what Kullen wants him to be, because he's the ruler his kingdom needs and it's going to be so exciting watching him become that person and come back from the end of the book! I can't wait to see him kick his sisters ass as well because it had better damn well happen! He was just SUCH a perfect character and UGH. I can't even. He had BETTER be heading off with Iseault!
Speaking of Merik....romance. The romance in this book was so freaking perfect. Merik and Safi are perfect for each other completely. There where some hints dropped about what they are to each other that's got me even more excited for the next books, especially as it could go the other way. Their first meeting though guys! It was SO PERFECT for them! It had me cracking up and it was just so perfect. I'm not gonna lie, I ship the two of them together SO BADLY. Especially after the dance scene! You watch their relationship develop over the course of the book and it's so adorable and I love how it wasn't easy, there where different things to overcome and so on. Genuinely, romance lovers, there where so many epic scenes between the two of them where you have to kind of stop and digest all the cute and have a squeal! Like the dance scene....a few ship scenes....the FINAL FREAKING SCENE BETWEEN THEM OF THE BOOK! Seriously he'd better get his ass off after her! But while the romance was completely perfect and full of warm and fuzzies and squeal inducing moments and the chemistry between the two leapt off the page....it was also secondary to the rest of the complex plot. It was there and it was perfect but it didn't take over the whole book, it was one of many things going on!
Back to the characters though......every single one of them, main or secondary, was brilliantly created. They where full of life, they where complex and they leapt off the page and became real the more you read. Kullen, Ryber, Leopold, Vaness, Evrane, Eron, Henrick etc etc whether good or bad they're brought to life off the page, Henrick is perfectly repellant, Eron is more complex than he lets on and there's some mystery to him and his past. Evrane, Vaness, Leopold and Ryber where all intriguing and I need to know more about all of them! Kullen....well...lets not go there. I can hope right?!
Leopold made things interesting because I thought he was one thing and then I started to suspect something about him and then I was proven right and now I'm even more curious about him and how/why he's involved with what he is. As well as who else is involved! Genuinely nearly cheered when the Leopold thing was revealed. I'm also incredibly intrigued by Vaness and excited to see more of her because despite everything she's kind of badass and I understand her reasoning, not excusing her but still. I think I'm correct in thinking she's the only female ruler, I believe the others are all male for now, Meriks sister clearly is angling to change that but Vaness doesn't seem like as much of a biatch! ANYWAY she intrigues me because of her whole power thing and what she did with it when she was 7 and everything!
I am STILL not sure what to make of Aeduan. I mean he basically did everything for money and then instead of following his vows, he completely ignored them and went off to do something else shady. But then he did save Iseault and I just can't decide on him. I'm waiting to see what he does in the next book before I decide I hate him, but I don't really like him right after this book! I want to because of the Iseault thing but I just can't quite manage it! SO like I said....characters are all very complex and there's more going on with most of them than meets the eye!
I immediately loved the world of the book and wanted to know more about the guild and the different type of Witch in the world. The history of the world was rich and intriguing and despite coming to know a lot, I still wanted to know more and more! The world building was so fantastically done that I was completely pulled in to the world of the book so I was right there with the characters, I could picture everything so vividly, it was like I was watching a movie play out in my head. The world of the book is clearly expansive, and I enjoyed seeing bits and pieces of each part of it or at least the different people and getting tidbits about what each Kingdom does and has and so on. The world really does spring up around you and the politics are as rich as the history of the world. In fact the politics are pretty intense to be honest!
The book gets straight in to the action and straight in to the plot and it helps to pull you in to the book immediately. Genuinely, I couldn't put the book down, I was hooked from page one and I completely devoured this book, because it was so easy to sit and just read and read and read. I completely lost myself in this book. It was complex, but easy to read at the same time. Fast paced, the story flowed across the pages perfectly. It's one of those books where you know you have to stop, and it takes you ages to finally put the book down and you end up quickly skipping ahead a few pages to make sure it's all fine, and the characters are all good, before you actually put it down. Or maybe that's just a me thing!
The book was told from multiple POV's and the switches where perfect, seamless. You got a sense of each character and a deeper look at them and what's motivating them and driving them, and on the romance front it made things even more interesting. It also helped to expand the world of the book as Merik was from another part as was Iseault and Safi and Aeduan. So you got little glimpses in to what those parts where like.
The book hit a point early on where shit got real and I was like woah, and it didn't slow down from there. There twists and turns to the plot that you don't see coming, a couple you can guess at but they unfold in a surprising way, or if you're me and always wrong when guessing things, you're just surprised it actually happened like you thought! Each twist had me reacting in some way. The book is also funny. It genuinely made me laugh out loud, especially Safi!
The book sped towards the climax, with the tension and suspense ratcheting up and having me trying to turn the pages faster and faster and get myself to read faster. The action was so vivid I was right there with them, it has you on the edge of your seat completely gripped. It's genuinely heart stopping, and the tension oozes off the page and infects you as you read. Genuinely, during one or two fight scenes, I realised after the fight had concluded that I'd been holding my breath the whole time.
Plot wise the plot is fantastically woven. There are so many threads to the plot, all woven together and creating an intriguing and entertaining story that has you glued to the page. You become completely engrossed as more threads are woven in and others become clear. There's intrigue all over the place, little threads and big threads and IT'S JUST A REALLY AWESOME PLOT OKAY! And it's full of originality and we all know I love that!
So folks, Truthwitch is a book that you need to get your hands on ASAP. I loved it 100% it's a book/series that I'm going to be re-reading and loving for the rest of my life. It sucked me in from the start and it was like quicksand, before I knew it I had to be ripped from the book, you could practically here the tearing sound, to do things like ya know.....eat....sleep.....pee. The next book has been perfectly set up without the set up dominating the plot of this book, some of the little threads I already mentioned where added that will carry us over. Not to mention the questions. So many questions.
What kind of questions? Well, let's see, I kinda suspected about Safi and Iseault (and I'm excited to see what that will make them) but will it change them? I need to know more about what it is they are, and more about it, hints where dropped and little tidbits but still! I also need to know who Iseault is meeting?! Where's Leopold scampered off to? What is his deal?! What's the deal with Merik's dad?! What's he going to do now!? And many, many more. Especially as war kicked off. ALSO ALSO, the Chiseled Cheater...WHO ARE YOU!?! I was half expecting him to be Merik to be honest, I'm waiting for him to pop back up!
I cannot believe the ending guys. My ship. My feels. I'm genuinely too scared to search the release date of the second book, I already know it's too far away no matter the date, especially after that ending! I mean, I'm excited to see a new part of the world but still. It was kind of a heartbreaking ending to be honest, with some of the things that went down, it was also shocking and just downright OMG. Like the pages where getting fewer and fewer and I was like HELL NO this isn't happening!? THEN it ended. Perfectly, mind you, but still! I want more of the world, more of the characters, more of the romance, the history...I just plain want more!
I was completely and utterly blown away by this book, it's filled a fantasy shaped hole in my life since I got done with Six of Crows and Queen of Shadows and like I said....one of my best books of the year and it's only January and I knew that from page ONE. I haven't been able to stop thinking about this book since I finished it.
The whole book is on an epic scale, it's an adventure, a quest of sorts! So much happens in the book you end up with a book hangover and feeling like you've been on a huge journey yourself. The plot is complex, the characters are complex, the politics are complex but never do you get bored or confused as history and politics are being explained, mostly done by dialogue which makes it more concise and slots it in easier. The politics are basically so well done and complex, but not so complex that you can't understand what's going on and what's been going on. You understand...but you still want to know more!
So, the rumours are true, there's strong female characters, magic, adventure, romance, highway robbery, humour, pirates, sea foxes and epic battles both on land and sea. You are all going to love this book and it's a completely fantastic start to a new series. One that's going to grace a lot of peoples best books/favourite books lists!