Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Series: The Witchlands #1
Publication Date: January 5, 2015
Publisher: Tor Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 415 (ARC)
Source: BEA 2015
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

Oh my gosh...I love nothing more than when a hyped book is so worth the hype. I have been a fan of Susan Dennard--and I am very proud to call her an author friend--since her very first book. And while her SSaD series was amazing, she was born to write high fantasy. This book was phe-freakin-nomenal! I am so ready to see what comes next from her.

These characters...holy cow! I LOVE THEM. They are so complex, so interesting, so complicated and layered and three dimensional. You finally think you have one of them figured out and BOOM! they shock you to your very core. These characters blur the lines of good vs evil, selfishness and selflessness, right and wrong, and keeps your mind whirring at impossibly fast speeds while you try to catch up to their antics and adventures. It is just so good! I screamed, teared up a time or two, and gasped in shock along with the best of them.

Two relationships stand out to me in this book the most though. The obvious one being Safi and Iseult (I can't believe one of the names I and many other suggested made it into the story!). Threadsisters (or threadbrothers) are inseparable people willing to risk their lives for each other. It is a bond that is unbreakable and untouchable--love in the purest form that is not romantic but intimate and strong all the same. To see such an amazingly powerful display of girl-power, companionship, and strength is sheer perfection. Something such as this, I feel, is truly rare in YA. And Dennard does it with class and wonder, making this a must read series for girls (and boys!) alike.

And, of course, there is a kickass romance. Wow, is this a slow burn if I have ever seen one. Every kiss, as rare as they were, may have been reread once or twice or ten times before I continued on with the story. Dennard's got a knack for romance and I am putting in a request for many more kisses in the rest of the series, and maybe even a little more. I love me some heart threads and they need to be explored!

The world-building in this book is also spot-on. I can't give this novel a perfect five stars because I had trouble getting into it in the beginning. Dennard jumps right into the thick of things and sets up her world through first-hand experience with the characters and not with any premeditation. While I am okay with this, it was a bit confusing at first, and only when she finally explained more about these competing countries that are slowly dying or somehow ridiculously thriving did I begin to understand just how complicated and tangled of a web Dennard weaved. With a firm understanding of this world now under my belt, I can honestly say this world is fascinating and terrifying all at once. I truly can't wait to delve deeper into it come book two.

The very ending of this book seems slightly rushed compared to how intricately detailed the rest of the book is. It leaves a lot to be desired in the sense that not everyone we have grown to love is where we want them to be--but that is a sign that there is so much more to come with many promises of redemption. So many threads still need to be tied up, and I have a feeling the rest of this series is going to be full of crazy adventures.

Susan Dennard--fantastical master--you know I will read anything you write, and this has solidified you as a must buy author for me. I can never get enough of your stories.

4.5 stars


FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I am so incredibly glad to see that this book deserves the hype! I hate it when a book is so hyped up and then I don't enjoy it. It makes me feel bad and like I'm missing something. However, your review has made me even more excited for this one! I'll have to get myself a copy ASAP. I'm definitely pumped for the relationships now. :b
    Krystianna @ Downright Dystopian

  2. I loved TRUTHWITCH! Susan did a phenomenal job telling her story, and I just loved it SO much. Can't wait for the next one!!

  3. Lovely review, Lili! I think I'm going to hold off reading this book until more sequels are released, but it does sound amazing! You know I love a good romance. :D

  4. SOO many people have recommended this book. Every time I come across a new review I become even more excited. O_O Thanks for sharing!

  5. I just discovered this series. I'v read a couple other reviews that felt like the ending was a bit rushed too. Although not my usual genre, it does sound interesting. Glad you liked it and hope you enjoy the rest of the series.

  6. I have this waiting on my TBR pile, and I am SO excited to read it! I am so glad to hear this is as good as it sounds. I really want to read more high fantasy this year, so I'm really, really happy this book is brilliant. Great review, Lili!