Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Fantasy
Date Published: January 5, 2016 by Tor Tenn
Series: Book #1 in the Witchlands series
Summary: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
Meh. Not the worst fantasy I’ve ever read but it definitely needs some help. Honestly, I didn’t go into this book with high expectations (or any for that matter) so I can’t say that I’m disappointed.
To start off, the beginning of this book is a hot damn mess. No lie, I thought this was book 2 or 3 in the series with the way we’re just thrown smack dabbed in the middle of things happening. So not only do we not get a clear introduction to the characters or world, but we’re supposed to keep up and follow along with this? Huh? It moved entirely too fast and made it really hard for me to get invested into anything that was happening. It’s like that for the first 75-100 pages and it was grating. Once the story finally settles down, I started to enjoy it a little bit but then it felt like the story lost it’s way afterwards. Once the insta-love happens (why did no one warn me of this?! ughhhhhh!) it felt like everything else got put on the back burner unfortunately.
I also wasn’t a fan of the world building, or lack there of. I hope that it’s established and built upon in the next book because it was handled poorly here. This was also void of any emotional depth. I literally felt nothing for these characters and their situations to the point to where I was questioning if that was intentional or not. I mean, I seriously doubt that was intentional but damn where was the heart?
I also wasn’t a big fan of our main character Safi or her insta-love interest Merik which was so upsetting. I’ve heard such great things about Merik and how swoon-worthy and dreamy he is. He was an annoying asshole to me, sorry. I didn’t get the hype. Though I will say that I did enjoy the scenes with him and his Threadbrother, Kullen. I thought their relationship was really great.
As for the positives, the ending was solid and I can definitely say that I enjoyed the friendship between Iseult and Safi. I thought that was well done and you could tell that they genuinely care for one another. Iseult was another high point for me. I really liked her character and wish she would’ve been more in the forefront. Hopefully in the sequel? Fingers crossed.
Evrane, Merik’s aunt was also a really good character that I wanted to see more from.
I also really, really liked Aeduan. He was complex and interesting and made the story bearable. I really look forward to seeing more of him as the series goes on because I thought he was the best part of the whole damn book. Fight me.
Overall, will I read the sequel? Yes, because like I said this wasn’t terrible and it has a lot of room for improvement. I also really want to see what Susan Dennard does with Aeduan’s character.
If you’ve read this book, what did you think of it?