Author: Susan Dennard
Summary: 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 to one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safiya’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safiya 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.
Belle Rating: B-
Bookworm Rating: B-
Overall Rating: B-
Target Audience: Young Adults
*Minor Spoilers Below* – May include plot details such as: important names or events
D – The book starts out with Safiya and Iseult just about to hold up a carriage that they thought was full of money. Unfortunately, their plan is already going to crap. Wow what a way to start a story!
L – Turns out that this “carriage” is actually a caravan with guards and something called a Bloodwitch. (Witches in this world are born with a unique type of magic.) They’ve already laid a trap for the carriage and it’s too late to stop their plan. Bloodwitches can smell other people’s abilities.
D – After fighting off the skilled Bloodwitch, named Aeduan, (who is basically a trained assassin) and the guards, the girls manage to escape by the skin of their teeth. Now Safi fears for her life because she knows that Aeduan knows that she is a Truthwitch. Which means he will track her down no matter what. Distance means nothing for a Bloodwitch who has the scent of their target. So Safi and Iseult drag themselves back to their home to gather supplies to flee.
L – Of course, we’ve already discovered that our main characters have copious amounts of luck and absolutely nothing happens. Except their home gets damaged and they have to run away again. They manage to lie about their identities and sneak through a checkpoint. This is where we meet our next important character Merik, the prince of Nubrevna. He bumps into Safi and Iseult when they all rush to help/stop a man who is cleaving. (Cleaving is kinda the magical equivalent of rabies.)
D – I like to think that they become mindless, exploding, magical zombies. Their blood and organs turn black…it’s nasty 😛 Anyway…Safi, Iseult, Merik, and his 1st mate Kullen, are trying to keep this cleaving Tidewitch from wiping everything out with massive waves. Kullen (a very powerful Airwitch) was tasked to keep the waves at bay while the other three take out the crazed witch.
L – Iseult and Safi end up splitting up to avoid the Bloodwitch. Iseult tries crossing a river and eventually decides the only safe place is the Midenzi settlement (where she’s from). Safi ends up at the Guildmaster’s house and is informed that she will be attending the royal ball with her uncle.
D – And then, through a series of events that is too complicated to try to sum up in a way that would make a lick of sense to those who haven’t read the story, the girls get back together, find out who is behind the cleaving witches (more come up later), and end up splitting up again. BOOM end of story, hand me the next book.
L – The writing style is good but she doesn’t go into enough detail. The world seems to be detailed and interesting but I’m not sure because I don’t know.
D – It’s great and wonderful, but you feel like you needed some kind of information before you even started reading the book. Like a prequel. I felt lost most of the time while reading the book. The plot and character interactions is what pulled me through in the end. (You’ll be screaming “KISS DANG IT KISS!!!”)
L – As we’ve mentioned, the world isn’t really fleshed out well. The only other thing that bugs be somewhat is the fact that I don’t like Safi very much. She is a good character but I feel like the author keeps putting her in stupid situations. She has the ability to be interesting and make good decisions but she keeps getting pushed into that typical beautiful girl that everyone falls for and has to be rescued a lot trope. It annoys me.
D – And because of that, it makes Iseult seem less significant to the story since it’s always the pretty Truthwitch getting into trouble. You find out that she plays just as important a role as her Threadsister. I think she is actually cooler than Safi!
L – Iseult and Aeduan (the bloodwitch villain) are both pretty awesome characters. They have depth and are really interesting to follow.
D – Yessss!! I would want to be a Bloodwitch!! Fear me peasants!! I also had no idea what was going to happen…probably because I didn’t fully understand what was going on half the time…in the end, the characters and the unique magic is why I rated the book that way.
L – I thought the characters in this book were pretty good and I’m hoping that the next book has more worldbuilding. I think that this series has a lot of potential.
D – I agree. Read it with the thought in mind that you will be confused. Otherwise, it’s a good book.