Saturday, February 27, 2016
Book Review: Truthwitch
Why did I pick it up: I read it for my bookclub this month, but it was already on my TBR
Summary: Safi and Iseult are Threadsisters, two Threadwitches who are the closest of friends (think Parabati) and will protect each other at all costs. Safi is a Truthwitch, a rare Threadwitch who knows the truth when anyone speaks - a valuable girl who is suddenly and quite surprisingly betrothed to an old man. A complicated escape plan hatches, the girls are separated and don't know who they can trust. The future is looking rather grim when a Bloodwitch named Aeduan is close on their tails and Admiral Merrik either saves or captures the girls ... it is a fight for survival.
Favorite Character: Iseult
Suggested Age Range: 9th+ ... some swearing, but mostly wholesome ;)
Diversity Represented: None that I remember
Romance: Yes ... ish
I'm shipping: Iseult and Aeduan (this isn't a spoiler - the relationship doesn't exist)
The Good: First, I loved that this book is based around a friendship (Threadsisters) rather than a relationship. Good friendships seem to be rare in YA lit these days, especially in Fantasy novels (I don't read a lot of modern stuff, it might be more prevalent there). These are smart, well-trained, and willing to do anything for each other. I loved the story coming from that point of view.
Iseult is the winner of the girl-power award for this book, after reading The Queen of the Tearling and having such a weak girl protagonist, this book blesses the reader with two kick-ass heroines. Out of the two girls I can easily pick a favorite, Iseult is the better character, she has more depth and her life has been more interesting up until this point. She is shrouded with mystery and connected to this super evil force. Although I found all of the character POVs that we moved between in the book interesting - Iseult's parts were decidedly my favorites.
The plotting in this book was fantastic. It starts slow while we learn about the characters and have a smidge of world-building (not enough, but more on that in a second). But then the pace matches the excitement of the story and I found myself reading so fast I had to go back and re-read to make sure I wasn't missing something. The plot was complex, several storylines all intertwining and sub-stories making the slow bits interesting.
The Bad: World development in this book is lacking. It is weak at the beginning and then only peppered through as the book progresses. I would have appreciated a chart with all the Threadwitch types to help me keep them straight in addition to the map in the beginning. I also would have loved more history of their world, what has happened in the past, more information about the war, etc.
Additionally, I felt a little lost with the monarchy/government and the terms used (Safi is a Domna, for example, but I didn't understand what that meant in relation to a Prince). If you are going to use terminology that people aren't familiar with, I think that more time should be spent explaining it (or maybe another chart, I'm really hung up on charts right now and I typically don't use them).
Merrik/Safi relationship was my final "negative" in this book. I felt like it was a little too easy and predictable. Even when Merrik was all princely and jerk-like, it was all too expected. Maybe Dennard will throw a curve ball and change up this pairing in the next book.
The Bitter Truth: This is an excellent read for all YA Fantasy fans. As long as you can overlook the short-comings of the world-building, you'll be just fine. I think that the excellent plot and the well-developed characters more than make up for that.
How much did I like it? ***** (yep, that's five shiny stars my friends)
Book Bingo: A Hardcover