Truthwitch by Susan Dennard


  • Title: Truthwitch
  • Author: Susan Dennard
  • Genre: Young adult, fantasy
  • Pages: 416
  • Format: Paperback
  • Other: Amazon, GoodReads
  • Grade: F ( 1/5)

Blurb (GoodReads):

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.”

book review

I so desperately wanted to enjoy this book. After all, it’s been on my TBR for over a year now. It just sounded so interesting, adventurous, different. 

But this was a chore to read. Sure , there were moments when it WAS interesting, but those moments were far and few between. It’s quite unfortunate because if it had been better executed, then it probably would have been a good book.

My biggest issue with this book was the world building. In fantasy, world building is essential. It needs to be really well-thought out: how the government works, how countries interact, the politics of it all, a logical magical system.  I get it. Lower fantasy novels typically don’t have all of this, but they’re usually at least fun to read. Truthwitch felt like it was trying to be a more high class fantasy novel, but the author was too lazy to actually think things through.

Because of this, I was so incredibly confused about everything. I didn’t understand why things were the way they were. There seemed to be no real logic behind anything. I can’t really pinpoint what it was, but reading this book seriously stressed me out. Trying to figure out why the politics were the way they were frustrated me, trying to understand the country/social system/etc was impossible, and the magic system? Ummm….what? It’s cheesy at best. I think the problem was that everything was entirely too vague for me. The author tried to make it seem well-thought out and like it all had this solid foundation, but there was no substance behind it. She said a lot, but she was really saying nothing at all.

The characters weren’t even all that interesting. I mean, Iseult was, I guess. She would have been a better protagonist on her own. But the others? Thanks but no thanks. They felt more like caricatures than people. Everything felt so exaggerated. Safi’s sass and poor decisions. Merick’s anger. Okay, maybe it was just those two, but they were such central characters that it was a major problem.

Then there’s the relationships. Sure, the friendship between Iseult and Safi was refreshing, but at times it felt over the top. And the romance? Dear god, it was terrible…insta-love at its worst. The author tried to spin the enemies- to-lovers thing, but it was just cheesy and gross. For example,  there’s this especially awful dance scene where lover-boy is JUST SO NATURALLY ATTRACTED to lover-girl that his magic goes nuts. It did not work for me.

And the whole plot line centers around Safi and her extra special and very wanted abilities. I mean I get why she would be valuable. I do. But it was a little too much for me. I was never sold on her value. Sure, there were moments when I enjoyed it. But overall, I found the story to be incredibly dull and unbelievable. It was just SO frustrating to read.

Basically, I hated this book. I thought it was terrible. It wasn’t even a fun poorly written novel. It was just frustrating. I definitely will not be picking up another book in this series, and I seriously doubt I’ll pick up another book by this author.

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