Monday, January 4, 2016

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Release Date - January 5, 2016
Publisher Website - Tor Teen
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 416 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received for honest review from the publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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. 
Truthwitch is a story filled with magic, mythical creatures, mysterious prophesies and wonder. It also happens to host two interesting female characters whose friendship is the heartbeat of this story and whose potential is only beginning to be untapped.

This novel feels like a piece of a larger puzzle. It's laying the foundation for what is to come. It reads and feels like a building block that will eventually be a larger part of a whole. It's methodically woven so that you're pulled into the story and the mysteries to be unravelled. This novel is meant to entice, and Susan Dennard certainly entices you to return to this world, and these characters.

Susan Dennard's talent is crafting a world for her characters to inhabit. This world comes to life under her bright, vivid descriptions. Fantasy demands a stunning backdrop and that's effortlessly created here. This novel also boasts an intriguing mythology to compliment it's setting. While the mythology is only beginning to be explored in this instalment the potential is there for a rich, deep mythology based fantasy series. The set up piques your interest and offers a enough of a tease to ensure you'll want to come back for more.

The main focus is the friendship and bond between Safi and Iseult. Threadsisters who would do anything to protect each other, and make any sacrifice for the other. Their friendship is allowed to shine brightly, and Susan smartly keeps the romance in the background while still allowing it to simmer just under the surface. This is sexual tension at it's most delicious and it's made all the more so because it's only given in pieces. It's a tantalizing tease of what could be and that makes it entirely addictive. This is a story of loyalty and the bond that exists between friends first and foremost and that is what allows this fantasy series to stand out from the rest.

While the setting is fantastically developed and the plot shows a lot of promise, it's the characters I hope benefit from development in the sequels. In particular the characters outside of Safi and Iseult could be fleshed out more. The stage is set, we've been introduced to the players, and are intrigued by them, it's time to let us know them. I didn't feel a strong connection to them while reading, but the other elements are so strong it's easy to look past it. This lack of connection was the only (slight) misstep in this novel for me, and it's one that is left with the most possibilities. The characters have a spark to them, one I hope is ignited in the the sequels.

A promising start to what has the potential to be a stunning fantasy series. Those who like the focus on friendships, and the loyalty they can hold will relish the connection between the main characters. Those looking for rich world building will find that here, and those looking for romance will be pleased as well. In other words, it's has a little something for everyone. I, personally, cannot wait to see where Susan Dennard takes these characters next.

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