Truthwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard

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Truthwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ani Johnson
Reviewed by Ani Johnson
Summary: A romp of a fantasy set in a world where each witch (male and female) has a specific category of gifting. It's fun, it's exciting, it's the first of a series. No downside at all!
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: January 2016
Publisher: Tor
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1447282044

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Highway robbery is one of their talents so Safiya and Iseult don't envisage any problems. That is until they realise one of the soldiers defending the booty is a bloodwitch. It's an even bigger problem because truthwitches like Safiya are in demand…dangerously so! Meanwhile, as the kingdom of Nubrevna reaches the end of a 20-year truce, Prince Merik desperately tries for permanent peace. But there are those who would rather fight, including his own sister.

American fantasy writer Susan Dennard disproves that awful generalisation about scientists not having imaginations. Before becoming a full-time author and writing teacher, Susan was a marine biologist. Not that her scientific background gets in the way of a great story. Susan has created a world here that includes the sea but science is sidelined for adventure as events hurtle towards us, taking us with them, in a very good way!

The Witchlands is a region peppered with people who have specific individual witch gifts. Threadwitches see the coloured threads that people's emotions emit, therefore being able to gauge their intentions. Bloodwitches, on the other hand, can track others by their blood as well as defining the bleeders' speciality from a mere sniff of a distant cut. Then there are the truthwitches, those able to determine whether someone is lying. The latter is the most dangerous skill to exhibit as there are those who want to imprison (for personal use) those bearing the ability. Yes, Safiya is in big trouble.

The bloodwitch who hunts her is the wonderful Aeduan. Am I wrong to love a baddie? You'll need to decide for yourself but beware: his is an easy thrall under which to fall. He's witty, clever and makes the chase as interesting as it is nail-biting. Iseult has her work cut out trying to defend her thread sister but Iseult also has her own problems.

Iseult's not a local. As someone who comes from immigrant stock, she engenders xenophobia wherever she goes. (Another proof that fantasy is as much about the time in which it's written as anything else.) Add to that her unwanted and rather persistent fiancé, Prince Leopold and it makes a complicated sum we wouldn't want in our lives!

Talking about love, we have a sneaking suspicion about one of the purposes of Windwitch (stop sniggering at the back – he gets to control all manner of cool stuff but not what that sort of wind!) Prince Merik Nihar, admiral of the Nubrevnan navy. He's also a lot of fun despite being kept busy by emerging enemies and a manipulative sister of whom we expect great evil.

In this case, there are no mumblings from me about how the set-up book of a series can sometimes be a let-down, shouldn't be a benchmark for the series etc etc. If the rest of the series is going to be as good as this I may even need time out to get my breath back at some stage. This is a great example of a rollicking, swashbuckling adventure at the Michael J Sullivan end of the fantasy spectrum and just the thing if you'd like to be swept away from real life for a while.

(Thank you Tor for providing us with a copy for review!)

Further Reading: If this appeals then Theft of Swords by Michael J Sullivan also comes highly recommended. If you prefer your fantasy to be a little more heavyweight, just as highly we suggest Black Wolves by Kate Elliott. You might also enjoy Windwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard.

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Buy Truthwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Truthwitch (The Witchlands Series) by Susan Dennard at


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