Book Review: Truthwitch

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4-star

Title: Truthwitch

Author: Susan Dennard

Series? Yes. 1 of 4 (?)

Rating: 4/5 stars

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Book Depository


I have to be frank, the twitter promotion of Truthwitch had me very nervous about this book. I thought, surely, nothing is that good – my cynicism stemmed from a 2015 burned out from hype.  Nonetheless, the day it was released, I sneaked onto Kindle and snagged myself a copy.  My fears were alleviated, Truthwitch was a memorable read – filled with characteres I could root for. While I had minor issues with some of the relationships and plot points, I could see myself becoming a loyal follower of the Witchland series.

TruthWitch

The Chosen Pair

“I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.”

The lack of central female friendship in fiction is frustratingly prevalent. We live in an age where movies are still getting a pat on the back for passing a rudimentary Bechdel’s test, for Chrissake!  Truthwitch features a steadfast and crucial friendship between two fierce ladies, for that it won a lot of points in my book.  When it’s hinted that the Classic Chosen One trope has been tweaked in favour of a Chosen pair of friends? My heart can’t take it, where has this storyline been all my life?!

While I wish we got to know more about the history between Safiya and Iseult – some thing to make sense of their undying fevotion to one another – I enjoyed their dynamics very much. The girls bounced off one another seamlessly. I love their complimentary nature and seeing how they instinctively understood one another. For once, I find myself invested in the friendship rather than romantic ships.

There are also great groundwork laid out in this novel for future conflicts between Safiya and Iseult. Although they’re already partners in all ways, I am excited to see how the weight of destiny will challenge their relationship.

Ships Ahoy!

Then the music swelled once more, her legs twined into his, and he forgot all about who she was or what she was or why he had begun the dance in the first place. Because those eyes of hers were the color of the sky after a storm.

In contrast to the compelling friendship between the leads, the romantic entanglements in Truthwitch falls a little flat. Safiya shares a budding romance with Prince Merik, a connection which forms rather haphazardly. Lust passes for a special and instant connection, complete with a magical wind hailing its presence. Although the text constantly reminds us they are intrigued by one another, their interactions are primarily filled with miscommunication and outright verbal (and physical) sparring. I do like that their conflicts are genuine, rather than the usual ‘witty banter’. I also appreciate that no one’s claiming people to be the love of their life by the end of the book – so maybe there’s hope yet for the pairing.

The other pairing featured is one I am more interested in, as I tend to favour Iseult’s POV anyway. There’s an irresistible and dangerous edge to the whole thing, and I don’t quite know which path it’ll take. Besides, don’t you just love the dramatic potential of life-debts. I look forward to seeing where Susan Dennard will take this relationship in future volumes.

Witchery of All Kinds

“Each Well was linked to one of the five elements: Aether, Earth, Water, Wind, or Fire.”

I am impressed with the sheer volume of worldbuilding in Truthwitch. Within this book alone, we encounter at least a dozen types of witches: from the rare Truthwitch to the more commonplace Threadwitch. There are multitude of elemental witches, a nice call back to the author’s love for Avatar: The Last Airbender.  Indeed, a couple of the moves in a Windwitch’s arsenal gives me serious airbender vibes! I love that it allows for such dynamic action scenes and account for infinite possibilities.

I also love the threads that bind all of the forces together in Witchland. While it’s not an entirely novel concept, it’s used deftly in this book to depict both human relationships and potential plot hijinks. The jargon in this book also begs to be widely used once the series develops its own fandom, with my favourite being Threadsisters!

However, once we delve a little below the surface, the world building quickly crumbles. Aside from numerous names and basic traits – both the countries and witchclans in the novel are devoided of any clear customs. I have little doubt the world will be expanded in future books.


Overall, Truthwitch is a promising start to a compelling young adult fantasy. Although it at times fall trap to the usual YA trope, there are enough unique elements to engage and intrigue most readers.

45 thoughts on “Book Review: Truthwitch

  1. That third image is so gorgeous, the publisher should’ve come to you for the cover! I’ve heard so many great things about Truthwitch and the premise is intriguing, I’ll definitely be picking it up some time soon.

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  2. OMG I didn’t realise female friendship played such a big part in this. I was actually plotting an epic fantasy with two female leads because it hardly EVER happens. Although I wouldn’t ruin it with a love interest 😉

    This does indeed look promising.

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  3. I’ve heard such good things about this book – I really want to read it! I also appreciate the fact that the author has incorporated a strong female friendship into the book! 🙂 Great review!

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  4. I was lucky enough to get an arc of Truthwitch and when it finally came out, I went out and bought a finished copy because it’s just such a great book. I will admit, I had to do a bit of re-reading when I first read it because the world is so complex but I just love the world and the idea of witches having one specific power rather than the ability to do multiple things as it makes them more valuable.

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  5. I want to read this SO BADLY!!! I held back on buying it this month because I’ve heard mixed things about it but I’ve just regretted that discussion non stop! It sounds like my type of book with an amazing friendship as the central point and fantastic world building!! I’m definitely going to be picking up a copy in the further!!

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    • I hope you will get a chance to read it, maybe you can wait until the hype dies down a little 🙂 It will also mean you have less long to wait until Book 2!

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  6. Great review Aentee! I’ve been seeing a lot of hype for this one as well, so it’s good to hear that it does live up to that for the most part. Though I don’t normally read a lot of YA fantasy, the friendship element in this one sounds appealing. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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  7. Ah, I’m SO GLAD that this one lived up to the hype! I’ve been interested in this book since I heard about it initially way back when, but I must admit that the amount of promotion it received made me somewhat hesitant about it, but so far everyone seems to be loving it and that makes me so happy! 🙂 Isn’t it weird? A book gets too little promotion and we’re wary, but we’re just the same if there’s too much promotion? Thanks for a great review, Aentee! 😀

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    • I hope the book will live up to the hype for you too. I am glad that Truthwitch is finally out because I can stop hearing about it on twitter 😄

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  8. I received and extended extract ARC so have read the first fifteen chapters but have somehow never gotten round to reading the rest despite having a physical copy of the book. I found all of the world building at the start a little much but it sounds from your review like it improves. Must read it soon.

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    • The world building is quite infodumpy at first, but I think by the end of the book you’ll get the hang of it. Hope you’ll give it another go!

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  9. Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed this one, despite the novel’s flaws (which I was initially blinded to in my book-lust, haha.) I too am interested in the future dynamics set up in the friendship between Safi and Iseult with their chosen-destiny thing. There’s definitely the potential for conflict there.

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    • I hope that we will get more development for Safi and Iseult’s story, instead of romantic entanglements (though I would not complain about Iseult/Aeduan development haha)

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  10. All the praising reviews for this one is making me want to pick up a copy ASAP. I was going to wait until all 4 books were out, but I might just give it a shot. Anyways, I love the sound of the female friendships so much. You know how much I crave those in books. I also love the sound of the possible romance. Who doesn’t love a dangerous edge?
    I’ll keep what you said about the world building in mind!
    Wonderful review, Aentee.

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    • I have a feeling you’ll be suitably impressed by both the characters and the romance, I really hope you’ll love this one – Nick!

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  11. I’m so glad this lived up to the hype! I have it but I’m still waiting to read it. I’ve been really excited about the prominent female friendship since I heard of it! It is definitely something there needs to be more of in YA! It’s too bad that there wasn’t very strong cultural world building though :(. Amazing review

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    • Yesss all fans of female friendships need to get in on this series. I think for a first book in a series, it still has room to grow world building wise, but there’s plenty of books for it!

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  12. There’s been some mixed reviews on this (more good than bad though) but the world building sounds very interesting and unique. And yes to female leads. I think I’ve yet to read a story that has more than one female MC. However I’m dismayed to hear that there’s the instant connection part. Some readers have mentioned it being kind of like instalove. :/

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    • I think Truthwitch is a very solid read as long as you temper your expectations. A lot of it isn’t original, but it has a fresh and fun twist on things. Plus females kicking ass and taking names side by side?! and not secretly plotting or comparing themselves to one another? THE BEST.

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  13. Yes! I also gave this one 4 stars. Oh man, I ship Iseult and Aeduan so hard! Though, I did get some Twilight vibes with the whole “omg I can’t smell your blood” and “omg I can’t see your threads” thing… But I agree that their potential romance was a lot more exciting than Merik and Safi (that dance though).

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    • Yesss I need more of Iseult and Aeduan’s scene, the slow burn is TOO slow. Though some of their stuff is really corny like the time he started speaking in Nomatsi to her and all of the life debts lmao – but I dig it tbh. Merik and Safi peaked with the dance and then they both bore me a little.

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