Truthwitch was one of the most hyped books of 2016, for me. I mean, I think the build up for this book began near enough a year before it was released and gradually it became more and more talked about. You literally could not avoid this book even if you wanted to. Eventually, it got to the point where I wasn’t even going to read the book. I wasn’t certain I was going to like it anymore. It had been talked about so much and raved about so often that there was no possible hope of this book ever living up to my expectations. I didn’t want to do that to the book. End up being disappointed when it was no fault of the book and every fault of the marketing campaign for it.
I received a copy of this book in the second Illumicrate I received in February, even then I waited until April to read it. I just couldn’t be certain what to expect from it. I’d already witnessed other bloggers have differing opinions on it, possibly due to the hype. After, finally, reading it in April, though, I had to question why I waited so long. It was a really enjoyable read.
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
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.
So why should you overlook the hype around this book and get reading?
This book is all about the friendship
Seriously, there are friendship goals in this book. This entire book is about two girls, Safiya and Iseult, and the bond they forged in their years together. The friendship is solid, they make each other better and always work together, even if they don’t always agree on things. They make each other better. I mean, they are opposites in so many ways, they shouldn't be friends, but they are and it’s amazing.
Everything which happens in this book happens because they are both trying to protect each other and because they care for each other. It’s great reading a book where it’s not a romance being the driving force, but instead a friendship.
There are so many fantastic characters and shades of grey
It’s been a little while since I’ve read a book where my feelings towards characters flip-flopped so much. I liked them, I disliked them, I was rolling my eyes and wanting to hug them. I just couldn’t make my mind up of what to think. Take Iseult, I say I love her friendship with Safiya, but at times I found her so boring. Then sometimes I loved how in control and restrained she was, but that’s what bored me about her a chapter previously. Safiya I adored half the time and half the time thought she was an impulsive brat who doesn’t consider anything or anyone else before she acts.
Aeduan is the bloodwitch tracking the two witches and he’s the villain and I love him. I want so much more story in the next book for him. He acts for very selfish, self-serving reasons but he is just perfect. He isn’t written as this evil character but instead well written so he has the potential to be more in the story. I can’t wait for more from him, even though I frequently wanted to punch him in the face.
The magic system is unique (I think)
I haven’t read a magic system like the one in the book before. It’s sort of like a people with powers thing, but not. There are various witches who fall into different strands of witchery and then there are divisions over the abilities they possess within that strand. It’s actually quite interesting how different witches get defined and the different preconceptions people have. I mean, in general, the world building in this book is really good. It surprised me in a lot of ways.
One thing I will say to temper your expectations, though, is that I didn’t love this book. I enjoyed it, but I was continually filled with doubts throughout my reading. Dennard did a very effective job of banishing the things I disliked. When I disliked flaws in a character's personality she helped the character grow to overcome that flaw. When I was upset with the pacing she got the story moving so fast your head was spinning. The writing and world building in this book is good and I can see the potential for more. I don’t want people to write this book off too soon. Is the hype justified? Maybe. Ask me again after I’ve read the second book.
The politics in this book is insane and very realistic
The politics. I love books where the politics and scheming feel genuine. Does it suck that we don’t get more of it and it’s more in depth? Yes. But what we do get is still pretty aces. I mean, everyone’s got their own angle in this and it’s insane. You’ve got the crazy kind overtaxing everyone and then the rich fire nation and they join forces and this poor small nation is essentially destroyed without them actually fighting one another.
I really felt for Merrick’s struggle. His people lost their land and their food sources and no one is willing to trade with them, there is essentially an embargo on them as their rivals hope to starve them out and weaken them so they have no other option. Instead, this small nation struggles and fights. Some turn bitter and want to take sneaky underhand methods, and he wants to do it the peaceful way. It was amazing. I also loved the reiteration of the fact that history is written by the victors so no-one even knows of the struggles of his nation as it’s been glossed over in the history books.
You don’t know who to trust or what to believe
My favourite thing about this book (apart from the friendship bit, that’s my favourite) is the fact that you never know who should be trusted. I mean, you really don’t. Safiya’s uncle is he a cruel drunk and a genius mastermind? Is the bloodwitch good or bad? What about these firewitches? Who do we trust? What’s going on?
I just didn’t know what to think when reading and I loved being surprised. I think it’s the only way to truly enjoy this book is to go in blind and see how it goes. I was shocked at the twists and turns the story took. They aren’t the most shocking ones I’ve ever read but it was still an enjoyable read.
Look, don’t let the hype stop you from reading. For me, this was a book where the hype was there for good reason. It’s an enjoyable read and it deserves the attention.
Have you read Truthwitch, what were your thoughts? Can it feel like the hype is stopping from reading books?