Truthwitch is the story of two best friends, both gifted with a witchery – one of who is hunted for two very different reasons.
Safiya fon Hasstrel is the heiress to the Hasstrel lands. The lands are not prosperous by any means, yet they are located near one of the Origin Wells, magical springs by which various citizens gain their witchery. Safiya is also a Truthwitch, the one of her kind whose witchery allows her to distinguish between truth and lies. This makes Safiya a target for all of the ruling heads who would use her to their advantage – or see her killed to prevent rivals from gaining her abilities.
At Safiya’s side is her Threadsister, Iseult det Midenzi. Iseult is a Nomatsi, a member of a nomadic tribe who most others distain. She is also a Threadwitch, one with the ability to see the threads that bind people to each other. The only people whose threads Iseult cannot see are her own and those of other Threadwitches.
The two witches want nothing more than to live together in peace, away from responsibilities and the stereotypes of their kind. When a heist doesn’t go as planned, they end up with a Bloodwitch on their trial, intent on hunting down and capturing Safiya. As if that were not difficult enough, Safiya finds herself suddenly betrothed to the Emperor of Cartorra. She only gets away by the careful planning of her uncle and tutors, but soon finds the Bloodwitch on her trial again. The only escape is a “kidnapping” by a Nubrevnan ship captained by the crown prince Merik Nihar, who is also a Windwitch.
Author Susan Dennard creates a rich world and well rounded characters in her fantasy tale. The story has elements that would appeal to nearly all readers: strong female and male characters, magic, sword fighting, possible romance, unbreakable friendships, and enough intriguing questions to keep you wanting to read the sequel. From the very beginning, the story keeps you turning page after page.
The story itself takes place over approximately one week, but it’s so action packed that you forget the time. Each character undergoes their own revelations about themselves that leads them to make certain personality changes. What I liked about this character development is that we only see the beginnings of the change in this novel, which will surely continue in the sequel. There’s also the question of the Cahr Awen, a mythical pair of Aetherwitches said to have the ability to revive the Origin Wells. Are Safiya and Iseult this mythical pair despite neither being Aetherwitches?
I can’t wait to see what happens in the sequel, Windwitch. I am hoping the next volume has more focus on Iseult and Merik; as much as I like Safiya, I like her Threadsister and the Nubrevnan prince more.
My rating: 4/5