Book Review 45 - Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Pages: 412 Pages
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
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.

My Thoughts: 

4.25 stars 

This honestly is more of a 5 star book for me! I really enjoyed it, the story is great, I LOVE the friendships, especially of the female friendships and the complicated family relationships, and I just feel like this story was a breath of fresh air. 


I cannot give this book 5 stars because there are some S E R I O U S issues with this book.
There is ZERO world building in this novel. And I mean 0. You are thrust into a world and expected to know everything and it's really not enjoyable in that sense.
I wrote a list of questions that I had just in the first 50 pages (I wrote after if the question was answered):

What is/are the Cahr Awen and why are they important? Wasn't answered, except we do know who they are and what they can do but not why or their purpose or why they didnt exist etc etc.
Where do people get their magic? Not even close to an answer.
Does society accept the magic? Is it common knowledge that it exists? Nope. We know that they have tattoos now but nothing.
Who has magic, why do THEY have magic? Does everyone have magic? How do they get it? No answer.
What are the threads for that Iseult sees? What makes them happen? Do they do something? nah.
What is cleaving and why does it happen? Are threadwitches the only ones who can see? Nope. This made the end super confusing.
What kind of witches are there? We know of some but I would imagine not all.
What are the different kingdoms? What is Merik prince of exactly? Nope. We know WHERE he's prince of but telling me a city doesn't help when all I know is a city.
What is the 20 year truce stopping? What were the terms? What did it protect? What???? And no, once again, no idea.
What makes Iseult different? Why so much racism? What does she look like in comparison to the rest of the people? We got "her dark skin" as an explanation so there's that. But based on what kind of life she comes from, I get the sense she's a Gypsy(Roma/Sinti) type of race.

I had another book I read recently with a sever world building issue and he said "sometimes the world building isn't important to the story" and while sure, I can maybe get that idea, that's never true. I cannot support Merik's decisions in the book regarding the trade he made because I DONT KNOW WHAT THE TRUCE IS. I don't know the history of their world, I don't know the extent to their suffering, so I cannot sympathize. 
I really enjoyed this book at face value, but I cannot get immersed in this world, I cannot fully love and care for any character because I cannot connect to this story. So while it is a GREAT book, the lack of world building just ruins so much of the story.

But clearly Dennard was going for a character driven story, rather than a plot/world driven story and it shows. Her characters are really well rounded. I love Safi dearly, I love Iseult less but I care for her more. Merik annoyed me but was really well written and I loved his adorable bromance with Kullen. Really just well rounded characters with some fantastic side characters. And while race is not something mentioned in this book (I mean it is, but not really) I do get a huge sense this is a diverse group of characters.

So yeah. 4.25 because I truly enjoyed the book and I cannot wait to continue, but I can't give it more because of the really terrible world building done. 


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