‘Truthwitch’ – Susan Dennard


‘Truthwitch’ seems to be a book that is dividing people. I’ve heard lots about it – mostly gushing praise it has to be said – but those who don’t like it seem to really dislike it. I’m not entirely sure why there is such antipathy to it; nor do I really fall into the category of regarding this as an ‘instant classic’.

There is no doubt that there is much about this novel to appeal to readers of all ages. It’s a richly imagined world, with lots of action scenes and there is the obligatory romance, though this at least is bubbling under the surface for most of the novel.

Initially I was a little put off by the relationship between the central characters of Iseult and Safiya, who seemed to be looking for trouble for no obvious reason. One seems to lead the other into trouble and yet nothing is said. However, they are strong characters and I grew to admire them as the novel progresses.

The world in which these two girls live is a little hazy. We’re told that there are three empires in power, and that the end of a truce period is drawing near. Some are doing well under this regime; others are not.

What we’re told from the outset is that there are many types of magic in this world. Each witch has power of a different type. Safiya is a Truthwitch, meaning she could be a valuable commodity in the wrong hands. Iseult is a Threadwitch, meaning she can see the ties that bind people together. From the outset we are given clues that, together, these two girls might be very important. Certainly, their skills put them at risk.

The plot is fairly straightforward. The two girls are being pursued by a number of people, and it’s a desperate battle to get the right people to the right place at the right time. Along the way, we get hints of past intrigues, political events and some interest to come. While it might have been helpful to have this fleshed out little more, it doesn’t detract from the enjoyment of the story.

For me the most interesting characters were Iseult and Aneudin, the Bloodwitch. The scenes where Iseult returns to her family were captivating, and I loved the fact that the bad guy wasn’t quite as bad as we’d been led to believe. I found that the parts of the story featuring these two characters were far more entertaining to read than those involving Safiya and Prince Merik.

At times during reading I have to confess to being both confused and even a little bored. However, on the whole I felt I couldn’t wait to find out more about how these events would be resolved and think this is definitely a series to stick with.