Release Date: January 5th, 2016 (out now!)
Length: 416 pages
Source: Borrowed from library
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.
Where to start with this review? I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Truthwitch. I saw a lot of other bloggers and readers talking about how much they enjoyed this so I decided to check it out. I loved the cover and the description really did sound intriguing. But the execution of the story left something to be desired. Because I found myself disinterested for a lot of the book, I was in a little bit of a slump and it took me forever to finish reading it.
First of all, the first 150 pages or so were hard for me to get into. It seemed like little was happening to help start the plot and it was more along the lines of introducing the characters and the world. While this is definitely to be expected with the first book in a series, it seemed to drag on forever and I had to power through it to reach anything of interest.
Things did start to pick up and I was excited because I was finally interested and enjoying the story. This unfortunately did not last long. After another 150 hundred pages or so I was bored again and started to question whether or not I should even continue reading it. If I was someone who felt okay abandoning books, I probably would have put this down. But my stubbornness forced me to stick with it.
I think the major reason why I felt it was boring and wasn’t interested was because the plot seemed to be all over the place. There were quite a few rather lengthy sections where I just felt as though the plot was taking a backseat to other events. The description led me to believe that the plot would focus on Safi and Iseult trying to escape from the Bloodwitch, but there were times where the book would go 50-100 pages without even mentioning him. When the major plot was the focus or at least was a focus, I found it much more enjoyable and interesting. I think that if the plot was more consistent then I would have liked this far more than I did.
There were things that I liked though. The world that this takes place in was quite interesting. There are different types of magic that witches have and that they are named after which I found interesting. I liked seeing the different kinds of magic like Voicewitches, Bloodwitches, etc. And although I did find them hard to keep straight for awhile, I eventually was able to remember what abilities different witches had. I also liked the complexity of the relations/tensions between the different countries. It wasn’t too complex – I was still able to follow it and understand what was going on – but I liked that they were each kind of on edge about the 20 year truce ending and I enjoyed seeing how the uncertainty about the potential for war impacted everything.
One thing I was kind of confused about was that Safi – who is a Truthwitch and can tell if someone is lying or not – doesn’t seem to actually always be able to tell if someone is telling the truth. There are times where her powers were portrayed as 100% certain and then times where she didn’t seem to trust them. It was mentioned at one point that she was still learning about her powers and she was learning that they aren’t as powerful as she thought, so maybe that was the reason for it, but it was confusing nonetheless.
The characters were pretty complex which I definitely appreciated. All the main characters seemed to have strengths/weaknesses, things they liked and disliked about themselves, etc. I particularly enjoyed this in Merik who definitely seemed to struggle with confidence regarding whether or not what he was doing the right thing. I also liked the relationship between Iseult and Safi. They drew so much strength from each other and really cared about each other. However, they weren’t completely dependent on each other and were still able to kick ass on their own (despite not wanting to be alone). With this said, I didn’t feel very connected to any of the characters and the only one I really cared about was Merik.
All in all, this was a relatively disappointing read for me. There were definitely some things I liked, but more than anything I was bored, frustrated, and disinterested in how disconnected and chaotic the plot was at times and I just couldn’t get past that. Since there were so many people saying they loved this, you might want to still check this out if you like fantasy as it could just be that this was not really for me. I’m not sure whether or not I’ll be reading the sequel when it comes out. Part of me hopes the plot is more coherent in the next book, but another part of me has little hope that it will be.