Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

“Initiate. Complete.”

Truthwitch Cover

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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.


TW: gambling, racism, violence, gore, death, alcoholism, graphic injury

If you’ve been hanging around my blog long enough, you probably know at this point that I LOVE this series with all my heart. It’s been a favorite ever since I picked up Truthwitch, and of course, I had to do a reread since Bloodwitch hit shelves last week.


Not that this is a surprise? But seriously, Truthwitch is the solid 4-star read it’s always been. And maybe it’s a little odd that I don’t mark one of my favorite series as a 5-star read, but it’s because the series is CONSISTENTLY GOOD even if it isn’t perfect. I have a couple problems with it here and there, but it holds my interest SO WELL across the board. Enough for a spot on the favorites list for me.

Anyways, one of the things I love most about Truthwitch is easily Safi and Iseult’s friendship. On their own, both of the girls are really interesting characters. Safi is SO PASSIONATE and feels SO MUCH, and sometimes, she makes really big mistakes because of it! She’s impulsive and emotional and intense, and she’s anything but perfect, which means I love her. But then there’s Iseult, who is Safi’s opposite, the voice of reason, the patient planner, and she means so much to me because underneath her apparent calm and control, she’s anxious and afraid. She has a stutter that she can’t shake when her emotions run high, and even though all of her Threadwitch training has taught her to set her emotions aside, she can’t do it. She may not feel as explosively as Safi, but she still feels A LOT in her quiet, restrained, nervous way.

Which, of course, makes these two a perfect pair. They’d go to the ends of the earth for each other, do absolutely anything to keep the other safe, and it makes their plans and approaches so interesting. It’s Safi and Iseult against the world, come hell or high water, and it’s one of the few female friendships I can think of in YA that I adore with my whole heart. There’s no nitpicking, no betrayal, just total trust and love.

Really, Safi and Iseult are the stars of the show, as they should be. I know the fandom has a soft spot for Aeduan, and that some folks really like Merik, but they’re secondary in this, so secondary to the Threadsisters bond that the girls share.

Also, I’m a grouch with unpopular bookish opinions and I don’t really like Merik or Aeduan lol. (And before you @ me with Aeduan/Iseult content, they try to kill each other. Repeatedly. More on this in my Windwitch review, but I’m not getting romance vibes. Not a bit. Mostly just some Kill Bill sirens.)

As for the plot, this is where we lose a star, because I almost feel like not enough happens. Don’t get me wrong, I do love what happens, how the characters are forced to interact with each other, how they’re all pulled into this interconnected web, but it feels like it’s a big of a long book for a journey that doesn’t actually take so long. Then again, it is split between multiple POVs, which afford a deeper, more varied look at the whole situation than just a single approach. Not all good, but certainly not all bad, not by a long shot! Really just a matter of personal preference.

And speaking of personal preference, GOD I PREFER THIS WORLDBUILDING. I’ve seen people complain about it being just names and years scattered around without any real depth, but they’re structured and well-thought out. The political tension at hand is well-crafted around the needs and desires of the world Sooz has created, and the magic system and the lore feels REAL because it isn’t 100% definite. There are legends and questions of reality, areas of gray that leave room for interpretation. It’s not clear cut, and it feels realistic because of it.

Not to mention there’s an attention to detail that becomes even more apparent after reading Windwitch and Sightwitch. Noden’s Gift suddenly looks familiar from Sightwitch, and the lens Merik takes toward his sister Vivia has a new cast to it after having read Windwitch. So much is set up so carefully in this book that you appreciate it the first time around, but after doing a reread, you appreciate the hell out of it even more. There’s a web at work here, something very clever and well-structured, and though it shows some of that on a first surface read, every reread makes things more apparent.

TL;DR, Truthwitch is PHENOMENAL and I can’t recommend it enough. The characters are complex and flawed, the world ripe with opportunities for exploration, and the plot unfurling so meticulously that I’m in theory HEAVEN right now. Tbh, my brain looks like one of those conspiracy boards with pins and string all over it, and it’s AMAZING. So if you haven’t picked it up today, and you want all of these things plus some really nifty and varied magic (who doesn’t want more magic?), you should absolutely pick it up today! Also, y’know, Bloodwitch just dropped, so you have FOUR WHOLE BOOKS already out and waiting for you if you start today!


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