3.5 stars

Susan Dennard – Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands. 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’m not really into stories about witches but this book has a high fantasy setting, a beautiful cover and an intriguing blurb. I also saw a lot of pretty fan-art about is what kind of clouded my judgment and I decided to read it.

The story itself is told from 4 different points of view. It I interesting, fast paced and enjoyable but there are a lot of places where it’s lacking. I really liked the general idea behind the book and there is quite a few exciting plot twists in it. However the world building is practically nonexistence. There is a map and some brief mentions of history or the different kind of witches, Origin wells but nothing is explained or presented fully. It is impossible to create a complete picture of the world this story play in just out of the small amount of information the book provides. So it was hard to relate to it without understanding the things they do or the reasons behind events. Don’t get me wrong the story is still really enjoyable, light read but from a book in this genre I expected a little more fineness, detailed descriptions.

Maybe it’s clear from the 4 point of view that we have 4 main characters although we see more of the 3 female leads. Somehow before reading the book I thought I will like Safi more. However in reality I couldn’t stand her from the very first chapter. She is spoiled to the core whether she thinks so or NOT. She acts so stupidly and constantly gets herself and others into trouble expecting her title or her friends to get out of danger. She is reckless, acts before considering the consequences. Her only redeeming quality or strong point would be her talent, power but since she can’t really control it, use it to its full potential it’s a mute point.
Then there is Iseult, she is so much more interesting. She is smart, hard working, perceptive and a real badass. Also patient and loyal, what she really needs to be beside Safi. I admired her dedication to their friendship. And more her character has a lot of room to evolve. She is in the shadows now others not concentrating on her so I think she is gonna cause a lot of surprises in the future.

The other two characters are Merik, a prince and Aeduan, a blood monk (A what? You can ask. Well, I’m not exactly sure since there is not an adept description about his ‘type’ in the book. Someone feared and strong).I liked both of them well enough.
Merik is the only character in the whole story who is really trying to work out a solution to save his people without more bloodshed, who trying to preserve the peace. Unfortunately for him he is fighting a losing battle. I liked his dedication to his people and I think he would make a fantastic king, but his attention is so easily distractible. He is strong, smart and a strategic mind but after encountering Safi his focus shifted.
Aeduan on the other hand is a more complex personality. I don’ know where to put him, but I think he doesn’t know himself where his loyalties, interests lie. He is kind of a mystery for me.

Overall the book is an adventure with twist and surprises, irritating obstacles. There is also a slight romantic part to it however I felt it was a forced connection, not quite genuine. I will read the next story in the series and keep hoping for a bit more understanding toward the presented world.


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