Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Category: Young Adult
On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
I liked Truthwitch, but didn't love it as much as I wanted to. The story is told from four different points of view which I liked, but the character Safiya annoyed me throughout most of the book. Safiya is a Truthwitch, which is a rare type of power and she keeps that fact a secret from almost everyone because the power of a Truthwitch is also a very coveted thing. Basically she doesn't want to end up being someone's puppet. Only somehow just about everyone seems to find out and there is never any explanation as to how they find out. I honestly don't know why a Truthwitch's power is considered so great. So she can tell when someone is telling the truth or lying. I guess that is an advantage at times, but so much so that everyone is going to fight to control her?
Safi's best friend Iseult-or Threadsister as it's called in this book, is a Threadwitch who is from a tribe of people who are shunned and hated. There isn't much explanation as to why they are hated. From what I gathered it had something to do with their skin looking white as death and maybe the type of magic they have. It would have been nice to have more explanation here. I wasn't sure why they were able to live so close to town when they are so hated either. Iseult can see the threads of magic that are connected to everyone, or something like that. I'm still a little confused as to what exactly she can do. Threadwitches are supposed to be able to make thread stones that have magical attributes, but for some reason Iseult can't. Iseult was probably the best character in the book. There was one other that I really liked and I'll get to him in a minute.
Truthwitch centers mostly on Safi and Iseult and their friendship, or it tries to anyway. As far as their friendship went, the book would have benefited greatly from more showing and less telling. Because of the way the book is written, it was hard to feel the relationship between the characters. I also found Safi hard to like at times. For a good chunk of the book she does so many reckless and stupid things that I found her annoying. I felt sorry for Iseult for having to put up with her. However the book picks up considerably later on when Safi actually realizes what she's been doing, feels guilty and changes. Thank goodness for that. I actually started kind of liking her as a character at that point.
There are two other important characters in the book, Merik and Aeduan. We get chapters from their points of view as well. Merik is a Windwitch. He can control the wind and uses it to fly, among other things. Aeduan is a Bloodwitch that can basically control his own blood and the blood of others, with other cool added abilities. Aeduan would be that other character that I really liked. He's for the most part the coolest character in the book. The magic in this book reminded me a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but with other types of magic added in as well, and I liked that.
As for the world building, it could have been better. There was a lot left out about the past war and the treaty and how it all came to be. There could have been so much told about the world in general and each kingdom and its rulers. Not much is told about where the magical witch powers come from either, other than the wells and some gods that we know next to nothing about. We also get next to nothing on each of the characters backgrounds, just little tiny snippets here and there. It is a trilogy or a series though, so we may get more in subsequent books, at least I hope so.
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