Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Series: The Witchlands, Book One
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult and Romance
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 416 (Kindle Edition)
Rating: ★★★★☆

I found that I had a really interesting and unexpected experience whilst listening to Truthwitch via Audiobook. At first, I was a little less than impressed. A lot of the criticisms that I’d heard about this book following its release rang true. However upon finishing this book, I was in disbelief I contemplated DNF’ing it earlier on, because by the end I was absolutely enthralled with the story and the characters. 

There is so much to grasp in this book, such as a plethora of new characters, terminology, empires and their respective political systems and the magic system. Trying to absorb all this new information can really take you out of the story. Therefore I can understand how this would affect someones reading experience or perhaps why some people even DNF’d this book. The reader is really expected to just go with the information given without a ton of explanation. Which can either be a good or bad thing depending on how much exposition you enjoy.

Eventually a lot of the information pieces itself together along the way, you just have to hang in there to see the potential this book has! Ultimately, I think Susan Dennard did her absolute best to disseminate information to the reader and I really appreciate how she’s created such a vast world for readers to enjoy.

The two central characters Safiya and Iseult where fantastic leads. It’s so refreshing to read a young adult novel where the two main female characters don’t secretly hate one another. They have very different personalities that work extremely well together. The theme of friendship was a prevalent underlying theme 21414439throughout this book and I loved the emphasis on it.

Aeduan, a blond monk, is also a fascinating character. I personally wasn’t as attached to him, but I can’t wait to spend more time with this character in Windwitch. I also really adored Merik, he makes me reminiscent of characters such Chaol from Throne of Glass Sarah J. Maas and Finn from The Star Thief by Jamie Grey. As with Aeduan, I’d like to spend more time with him.

Another aspect I loved was the romance. It was a focal point of the story, yet didn’t overshadow the plot or friendships, which was fantastic. I was absolutely living for Merik and Safi’s relationship. It simultaneously felt like a good slow-burn romance, but there was also some parts that implied it was a little insta-lovey. For example, when they’re dancing together and their connection is described as ‘something as powerful as the wind.’ I think this could’ve been handled better so that it wouldn’t negate the slow-burn aspect of their relationship.

Lastly, I’d like to talk about my listening experience with this book via audiobook. I thought Cassandra Campbell was an excellent narrator and was well suited for this speaking role. Her speaking voice reminded me a little of Sarah Koenig (from Serial), like I experience the same experience whilst listening to Campbell and Koenig and that is I was engaged throughout the entirety of the story. I enjoyed how she used her American accent for the narration, and then employed an accent during the characters dialogue. She was, for the most part, fantastic at them. My only criticism is that I thought Safi and Iseult’s voices were very similar… initially I struggled to distinguish the two and they were probably a little too high pitched for my personal liking.

Alongside this (not a criticism of the audiobook), I think it’d be beneficial to have read this book.  I think I would’ve better absorbed the world if I had visually seen how the characters names were spelt, how places were spelt etc. for some reason. Alongside this, I predominantly listen to audiobooks whilst I drive (like 99% of the time) and so natural I’m not always mentally processing want I’m listening to if I’m concentrating on driving. In the future I’m probably less inclined to listen to fantasy books via audio.

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As always, thank you for reading, Carly,

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MID YEAR BOOK FREAK OUT TAG

Hello everyone! Sorry for being very M.I.A lately, this exam season was rough. I thought I’d revive this blog with a good tag! I’ve scoured my ‘read-in-2017’ shelf on goodreads (side note: thank you GR for existing, you make tags so much easier) and of the 40 something books I’ve read so far, this is what I was able to conjure up…

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Best book you’ve read so far in 2017

It’s a three way tie between Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson and The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2017

I haven’t read many sequels and the few I have read haven’t been that enjoyable… so I’ve decided to go with Becky Albertalli’s companion novel to Simon vs. The Homosapiens agenda; The Upside of Unrequited

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I have been number one of the waitlist for Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare for months and I can’t handle the wait much longer

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

!!!Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo!!! Have I made my excitement clear?!!!

Biggest disappointment

Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica, there are a few reasons I disliked this and the majority can be attributed to the fact I listened to it via audiobook

Biggest surprise

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – I had heard many criticisms about this and my expectations were a little low, however I was so charmed by the characters and impressed with the intricacy of this world. I can’t wait to see how it’s improved upon in the forthcoming books.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner – I honestly didn’t want to read about a girl who “isn’t like the other girls” but this book surprisingly didn’t go down that road and this retelling of Beauty and the Beast was really enjoyable.

Favourite new author (debut or new to you)

Susan Dennard, author of the Witchland series and Something Strange and Deadly series.

Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give.

Newest fictional crush

Merik from Truthwitch gives me Chaol Westfall vibes circa Crown of Midnight and I was LIVING for it.

Newest favourite character

Madeline McKenzie from Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty is my soul sister

Book that made you cry

The Upside of Unrequited was so relatable and The Hate U Give was too real and I love them both so much even though they made me cry.

Book that made you happy

Wonder Woman Volume Two: Year One – the characters from this book were so charming and I loved seeing their relationships with one another develop. (Also it’s the first WW graphic novel I’ve truly enjoyed.)

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)

I honestly buy very little books per year, so I will have to go with a library book I technically ‘received’… which would be the UK edition of Laini Taylor’s Strange the Dreamer. So. Damn. Beautiful.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare – I just need this in my life already

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – apparently this series improves? (well, that statement is only true if you weren’t 100% satisfied with ACOTAR)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – I’ve been meaning to read this one since it’s release but the hype still hasn’t DIED

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This tag was co-created by readlikewildfire and earlgreybooks!

Thanks for reading as always!