Description from Goodreads:
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.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the paperback from the UK publishers for the purpose of review. This has in no way effected the opinions stated in this review.
I really enjoyed this book, it jumps right in to the action as two of our main characters are poised to pull a heist and takes off from there. This book is told across four main points of view, each of which felt distinct and brought something different and important to the narrative.
I must admit that I found Truthwitch a little difficult to get into in the beginning. There was a lot going on and the world and magic systems feel complex at first. However, I found that once I powered through, I soon began to understand the different terms and systems. Understanding comes from reading on and seeing how things work. The benefit of this is that the world feels fully formed and there are no clunky explanations allowing us to stay with the story.
One of my favourite aspects of this book is the strong friendship between the two female main characters. This is something I want to see more of, especially in YA fantasy, where the female main character is all to often at competitive odds with other female characters. Safi and Iseult are thread sisters, they share a powerful bond and they each care for each other above anything else. It was incredibly refreshing, in fact there were other cases within this book where a rivalry between two female characters would be inevitable in any other book, but they instead treated each other with kindness and respect.
Also the romance is for the most part kept to the sidelines, which I appreciated. Obviously there are the ships beginning to take shape, and those interactions are interesting to see, but it doesn’t overshadow the main story line. I’m really looking forward to seeing what will happen in the future books.
All in all I loved this book, the story was fun, with lots of twists and turns keeping things interesting. There are some excellent, and well-loved fantasy elements including a sea voyage and a unique magic system. I particularly liked the idea of threads and the strong relationships in thread families (I loved getting a closer look at these in Iseult’s chapters). There was also some great character development, particularly for Safi, who grows a lot over the course of the book.
Considering all that is it really a surprise that I gave this book 5 stars? I am hugely greatful to Tor for sending me this book, which set the stage for what promises to be and amazing series. I’m intreagued to see where the story will go next. The only things stopping me from immediately picking up Windwitch are my book buying ban, and the fact that it will be at least a year until Bloodwitch is released and waiting that long in-between books seems difficult. Plus why deny myself the joy of a reread later in the year.