Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
I’ve had Truthwitch on my shelf for some time now. I’ve followed Susan on social media awhile too, so I was well antiquated with the love for this series. I knew I wanted to get into it sometime, but I never knew when that sometime would be. I knew it would have witches and magic and kingdoms, but the depth of my knowledge wasn’t too deep. I was lucky enough to avoid spoilers! I finally decided to it was time to take the plunge and see what I would think.
I am very glad I decided to read this book. I understand where the hype comes from now. This book is just jammed packed. Jammed packed with politics, with characters, with worldbuilding. It was a fantastic start to this series and made me intrigued for more.
First off, this book is very, very heavy in politics. So heavy, it made me a bit nervous in the beginning. But, after reading it, I finally understand why people love and crave political intrigue books. When they’re done right, wow, they are something else. I felt like it was just on the verge of being too jammed packed, but it hovered right at that edge nicely. I was a bit worried about keeping all the kingdoms and relationships and names straight, though they had a way of falling into place. As I read, it became easier to know who was who, what who meant to who, and what was what.
These heavy politics also influenced the world and how I thought of it. When people want something like Game Of Thrones, this is the book I’m going to shove at them. All these twisting plots and relationships created something that resembled an incredibly realistic kingdom. There’s so much going on. This world is so full; I feel like I just got a taste even with all the traveling that happened. And I’m already eager for more. How one small thing could topple a million dominios, how there were so many hidden agendas, was amazing. It stressed me out to think about because it was so much bigger than me. But that stress was invigorating. I wanted to see how things would play out.
With these politics and this world, I was fully ready to think that this book should have been Adult or New Adult, but I was pleasantly surprised that it felt firmly YA. I didn’t think the ages should’ve been bumped or that anything felt more Adult than YA. It’s a wonderfully complex, intriguing, YA book and I loved how it fit there so firmly.
I was not expecting to fall in love with these characters as much as I did. But wow did I fall in love with them. I loved how Safi and Iseult completed each other, how they reflected each other, and how they were so different but still such good friends. Safi is ready to jump into action at a moment’s notice, she’s high flames. Iseult likes to observe and plan, she’s more a low burn, something that simmers with power.
Merik surprised me. I wasn’t expecting to like him at all, but he grew on me. He’s passionate and he’s willing to fight for what he wants. Adeduan was intense. He’s intense in everything that he does, fighting, hunting, negotiating. He’s an interesting character and I feel like there’s a lot more to him than what was shown in this book.
I even have a soft spot for the more minor characters. Kullen, Ryber, and Evrane all captured my heart. Leopold was cool too, I really liked where his story went.
Along with the world, the plot felt incredibly realistic too. It felt like it could change at the drop of a hat because somebody talked somebody else or another secret plot was being put into play. It was always changing and always evolving and I really, really enjoyed. All the characters had their own personal fight and their own personal stakes, but they joined and diverged and aligned. So much is going on in this world and it’s so incredible to see.
Susan Dennard also knows how to write a plot twist. Well, more like she knows how to write. Well, it’s more like she knows how to do both very, very well. There was this one moment at the end where my draw literally dropped. It was so clever and so well put together. It was something I was wondering throughout the book, but wow when the knowledge dropped it was an amazing moment. Susan knows how to command this world and how to write these characters. It’s really amazing to see.
My introduction to the Witchlands was amazing. I loved Truthwitch and I loved what it set up. I’m very eager to see what I think of the rest of the series. Windwitch and Sightwitch are on my shelves already! If you’re thinking about giving this series a try, I definietly recommend it! It has politics and amazing characters and vast kingdoms and magic and so much more.