The Bookshelf Corner

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Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Series: A Witchlands Novel, book 1
Rating: 2/5
Recommend to Others?: No

My Summary:
Safiya fon Hasstrel is a Truthwitch – able to discern lies and truths, a power many would want to use (and possibly abuse). Iseult det Midenzi is a Threadwitch – able to see the ties (threads) that break and bind from all but herself and other Treadwitches. As social and cultural outcasts, these two Threadsisters only freedom and safety – a place to belong and call home. But that may not be possible with the Twenty Year Truce ending soon and war likely to resume. And with a duty-bound Windwitch prince, a Bloodwitch with a dark past, and other royalty to contend with, Safiya and Iseult will do all they can to stay together and protect each other to achieve what they desire most.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
Thoughts I had while reading: 1) I need a glossary, 2) random occurrences without rhyme or reason, and 3) I’m confused.

I did not enjoy this book as much as I thought I would, which makes me incredibly sad since these are the types of stories I love to read. After the first few chapters I kind of grew bored and felt like stopping and several times after – I don’t like leaving a book unfinished because it’s possible the story could get better. Even though there were things happening it felt like nothing was happening (if that makes sense). I couldn’t find a purpose to this story and that made me feel detached.

The summary on the front flap doesn’t really do justice to what happens in this particular book. It more seems like a summary for the entire series. I tried reading the map included afterwards to connect what I’d read to it but I just felt confused. It’s a beautiful map but things didn’t line up in relation to the story (that could just be me).

My confusion derives from two parts:

The first, this series needs a glossary. Usually I can follow a fantasy world but I couldn’t immerse myself in this one. There’s so much to know – cultures, history, objects, terminology – which is cool how much detail Dennard created. But I felt lost and bogged down by it because there were just too many important things to understand – it felt kind of like culture shock. For example (not a spoiler), in the story no one likes the Midenzi people – they loathe them, actually – but it’s unclear why (unless I missed that, which is possible).

The second, some things occurred randomly without…evidence to back it up or make its appearance seem natural (whether it’s supposed to be shocking or not). I know some things aren’t supposed to be explained right away, that the reader does have to do some of the work figuring things out (the fun part of reading) and certain points should remain a mystery for now (especially if the story continues in other books). But these particular moments (which I can’t specify because I’d be spoiling the story) I couldn’t suspend my disbelief. At times, nothing I had read leading up to those points made me think these things could or would or should happen (randomness).

Truthwitch is a very action-packed novel and first book but my interest was only peaked (that is, when I felt some stirring of emotions) was in chapter 11 (which quickly dwindled) and towards the ends (I’ll admit, I did feel some feels).

The magical concept is definitely interesting, which is one reason why I added Truthwitch to my TBR list. The different types of witch powers people could have were cool to read about. But the best thing about this book is the idea of having a Threadsister or Threadbrother – basically, the best friend you know and love and would do anything to protect always. It’s like Anna and Elsa in Frozen – their sisterly love trumps all else, even cheesy romances (note: no cheesy romance in Truthwitch, though I’m still debating on that). So I liked that being Threadsisters was one of the things that defined Safi’s and Iseult’s friendship.

The book is told from four points of view: Safi’s, Iseult’s, Prince Merik (a Windwitch), and Aeduan (a Bloodwitch who is hunting the girls). All are important characters to the story and (I figure now in the case of Aeduan) the rest of the series. At first, I questioned why we were getting Aeduan’s POV – he’s the “bad guy,” right, so why are we getting to know him? It didn’t make sense until the very end in his last section in his POV. Also Safi comes to a realization that doesn’t really make sense to me based on everything she goes through in this book and what you learn during her POV chapters.

I wish I could like this book – I really do – but I don’t think I’ll be continuing this series – it would take a lot to convince me to keep reading.

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