Book review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

8 Jan

9781234567890In 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.

There’s so much to say about this book that I’m not sure where to begin! So I think I’ll start with just … wow! I haven’t been this caught up in a fantasy novel for a long time and I loved the action, adventure and becoming immersed in the rich world of the Witchlands. I’ve been trying to pin down what made such an impact on me about Truthwitch and I think it’s the fact that there is so much shown and revealed to the reader through the course of the story rather than ‘told’ to us. Many fantasy novels come with a lot of descriptive lore and legend and whilst this book has it in buckets it didn’t feel scripted or put in to explain the background for something, it was skilfully woven into the story ready for the reader (and sometimes even the characters) to discover.

Some of my favourite parts of the book were where entities legends or mythical creatures that key characters dismissed, appeared or were proven to be true. This gave such a feeling of discovery and immediacy to the story that I couldn’t help being swept along and wondering what on earth would happen next! Truthwitch is a full throttle, high octane adventure story and Safi and Iseult are right at the centre giving as good (or better in many cases) as they get. In Safi and Iseult, Susan Dennard has created two strong women to admire and love. These girls will shock you with their audacity, surprise you with their plans and wow you with their skills – gender equality rules in Truthwitch as does the strong bond of friendship.

Safi and Iseult are threadsisters and have an unbreakable bond, but they aren’t the only ones and I also loved the ‘threadbrother’ relationship between Merik and Kullen.  Each character has a specific witchery that plays alongside their own personal characteristics. Merik is a Windwitch, Iseult a Threadwitch (she can see the threads that bind people but also show their feelings) and Safi is a Truthwitch – she has the ability to tell when people are being true or deceptive. I loved discovering the different witcheries and they just kept coming with bloodwitches, firewitches, earthwitches, poisonwitches and glamourwitches and I’m sure many more still to be discovered in future books. The idea of the witcheries really caught my imagination and gives so much potential to the story as characters with different strengths pit themselves against each other.

But it is Safi’s Truthwitchery that drives the plot as many would pay handsomely for the use of her skills and in a world where a fragile truce exists, many parties are seeking the upper hand. As the mystery and intrigue and politics of the story deepened and enemies become allies and vice versa, I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to see what would happen next. But despite all the action and trickery, there are also plenty of poignant moments in the book too and even a hint of romance (oh that Ball scene!!).

Truthwitch really did have everything that I was looking for in a fantasy novel and has got my reading new year off to a fantastic start. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!

Truthwitch is published by TOR and is out now in hardback and ebook fromats in the US. It will be released in the UK in Hardback and ebook formats on 14th January.

Find out more about Susan Dennard and her writing at:

With thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this book.

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