January 5, 2016

The Elements of Friendship • Truthwitch

Truthwitch book cover
I read Truthwitch for the first time in summer of last year, and declared that I was in love with it. I reread it at the end of the year (and it was my very last 2015 read!), and I can say with more confidence than ever that Truthwitch is definitely worthy of its spot on my favorites shelf. It's one heck of a reading experience! Readers will basically find themselves taken along for the ride as Susan tells this story. You'll feel like you're in the thick of the action during the fight scenes; you'll feel intensely emotional during the moments of honesty and growth. It's definitely one of those reads that refuses to let you go until it's over, and I'm really excited for everyone in the entire universe to get their hands on this story.

I don't even know where to begin when I try to convince you to read Truthwitch, because there are so many wonderful things I could mention. In the vein of many classic fantasies, for instance, Susan tells a story with multiple plot threads. In unskilled hands, this method of storytelling could fall flat or become too convoluted. Susan, however, is quite capable of properly fitting all the pieces of her tale together. Truthwitch is a woven tapestry of character arcs and bigger picture plot points. It's a true masterpiece in storytelling, one that combines action, emotion and revelation beautifully.

It does all this, mind you, against the backdrop of a world caught up in the turmoil of politics and warfare, magic and legends, prejudice and fear. Setting is always an important aspect of a fantasy novel, and Susan kills it. She incorporates unique details that make the various countries and cultures stand apart from one another. She also established a magical system that can be understood easily, but also has the potential to become ever more complex in the books to come. I'm seriously in awe of how completely immersive it is, and look forward to further future forays into it.

Susan also possesses a knack for bringing her characters to life. These beautiful, complex, wonderful characters who are growing and changing, even as the world around them does. The nuance and care that Susan has poured into developing the perspectives of her four main narrators is undeniable. Safi, protective, undeniably impulsive, a girl who is learning that she can shape the world. Iseult, strategist, the most loyal of friends, a girl still searching for her place in the world. Merik, the prince who bleeds for his kingdom, who will do anything to help his people. Aeduan, the lost one, the tracker, the hunter. Each one comes alive, flawed and fierce, and it's not at all difficult to form a solid reader-character connection with them. Heck, readers will even love a lot of the secondary characters that crop up at various points. (I know I did.)

It's not even just the individual characters that make Truthwitch as phenomenal as it is. It's also their relationships, the ties that bind them together, as Iseult might say. Whether it's friendship or enmity, romance or family, these relationships add even more dimension to an already detailed story. Of them all, it is Safi & Iseult's friendship that is most central to this plot. All their choices and the consequences that follow are influenced by their deep love and devotion to one another. It's an enviable connection, having a Threadsister, as it's a trust that supersedes definition, a loyalty that cannot be broken, a heart that will always love. Susan's portrayal of female friendship is stunning, masterful and, most of all, it's an ideal many will relate to or aspire to have in their own life.

Truthwitch is such a vibrant, rich tale, and you'd do well to get your hands on a copy today! Susan has, once again, displayed an impressive command of the written word. Though I love her debut series to pieces, Truthwitch feels like the book she was meant to write; Safiya would sense the certainty that echoes behind Susan's every word in telling this story. Susan has certainly mastered the art of telling a story you won't want to stop reading, and I cannot wait for more of this series. (Why must Windwitch be another year away?)

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands #1
Publisher: Tor Teen | Publication Date: January 5, 2016 (Go and snag a copy today!)
Source: ARC from the author (Thank you, Susan!)

In the Witchlands, there are all sorts of magic. Safiya, a Truthwitch, can discern between truth and lie. Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the ties that bind, build and break the lives around her. Their friendship is unlikely, but it's true, and they simply share one goal in common: to be free to live their lives as they choose. But war is coming to the Witchlands, and there are those people - emperors, mercenaries, and princes, to name a few - who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

All week long, Rachel of Hello Chelly & I will be celebrating the release of Truthwitch, the first novel in a new fantasy series from Susan Dennard. While we'll always have a soft spot for the books that introduced us to her, we are completely head-over-heels in love with Truthwitch and so we're celebrating with A Truthwitch Affair! (Don't forget - you can enter to win a copy of Truthwitch!)

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