- Page Count: 416
- Release Date: January 5, 2016
- My Rating: 3.5 stars
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.
There was SO much hype for this book that it really affected how I viewed everything. Like if I had just gone into it without expecting the greatest YA fantasy novel yet, it might have been way better. Because it’s NOT bad.
Basic plot: Safi is a rare Truthwitch so everyone wants to use her for their own means, but she doesn’t want to be some pawn. Iseult is a Threadwitch who can see colored strands of everyone’s feelings/emotions, which turned out to be one of the coolest parts. They spend most of the book being chased around a world that sounded rather pretty (sort of a medieval/mediterranean fantasy aesthetic with ships). The book mostly set the stage for the sequel…
It took serious effort to get through the start but I did really love the world that Susan Dennard created here! It just takes a lot of time to get everything straight because the worldbuilding was somehow an infodump, yet super unclear? The story starts out with this impending war with no history (or reason… like they’re all going to war because a treaty is up and therefore everyone else probably wants to go to war??? idk) and a bunch of interesting names and ideas that aren’t totally explained. So you kind of have to just roll with it for a bit. It made more sense by the end!
The strong friendship between Safi & Iseult totally made this book what it is — how often do you see a friendship that’s more important than the romance?! And I wasn’t terribly into the forced romance between Safi & Merrick, but maybe that will go somewhere cool in the next book?
Oh, and there were a ton of POVs, but I did like seeing the Bloodwitch’s perspective too. The creepy guy spent most of the story hunting the girls and honestly might have been my favorite character. All of the chasing/fleeing really helped the pacing at least!
So it took effort to get through everything and figure out the world, but there seriously is SO MUCH POTENTIAL there for the sequel. I really did like the magic, the characters, and the world, so I’m hoping that this series just needed to find its footing and that the sequel will be awesome.