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Genre: YA | High Fantasy | Magic | Found Family
Series: The Witchlands #1
Pages: 415 pages, Hardcover Edition
My Rating: 5 stars!
Description: On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a “witchery,” a magical skill that sets them apart from others.
In the Witchlands, there are almost as many types of magic as there are ways to get in trouble—as two desperate young women know all too well.
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lie. It’s a powerful magic that many would kill to have on their side, especially amongst the nobility to which Safi was born. So Safi must keep her gift hidden, lest she be used as a pawn in the struggle between empires.
Iseult, a Threadwitch, can see the invisible ties that bind and entangle the lives around her—but she cannot see the bonds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheaded impulsiveness.
Safi and Iseult just want to be free to live their own lives, but war is coming to the Witchlands. With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and ship’s captain) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must fight emperors, princes, and mercenaries alike, who will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
I owned this book pretty much ever since it made it’s debut back in 2016. But I also heard a lot of hype around the fact that it was “a friendship book,” which a lot of people found refreshing. However, I wanted romance! So I basically wrote it off as something I couldn’t like, but couldn’t bring myself to unhaul it.
However, this past June in 2019, the author Susan Dennard started #TheLuminaries, which made me fall in love with Twitter (a love that has continued, despite the fact that #TheLuminaries has since – sadly – ended). It was a Twitter thread story, where Ms. Dennard posted a tweet or two worth of content, and then we had to make a decision and vote at the end, and that’s where the story would go. It was a choose-your-own adventure Twitter-style, and it was SO MUCH FUN. I miss my #LumiNerds! It happened every single day for a little over seven months, and even if the voting aspect was enormously fun, it was the live reactions of the community that made this such a win. We sighed over #UghJay and split into teams of #TeamPractical (making the logical decisions) and #TeamThirsty (wanting a romance and shirtless Jay) on choice decisions – and we died twice, wherein my timeline basically erupted. It was stressful and anxiety-inducing and by far the best time I’ve had on Twitter. (See the Tweet that started it all here).
So of course I had to check out this author. I loved Ms. Dennard so much on Twitter, I figured I owed it to her to read her book! I finally picked up as one of the first books I read in January 2020, when my TBR jar proclaimed it to be so.
And turns out… I actually loved the friendship aspect.
“I hate this. Both the storm and the plan. Why does it have to be ‘we’? Why not just me?”
“Because ‘just me’ isn’t who we are,” Iseult hollered back. “I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.”
This story was actually really fucking awesome. This is YA Fantasy at its absolute Prime. But… we’ll get to that later. First, Safi and Iseult were AMAZING. I love the banter the two girls had and the love and friendship they carried. They’re Threadsisters, which is kind of like the Shadowhunter’s parabatai, from what I could tell. I could feel Iseult and Safi’s mad respect and love for each other. They’re the good side of best friends, and found family aspects like that DO IT for me in a major way.
They put each other above everything else in their lives: boys, family, themselves. The two badass women had an unbreakable bond of friendship that was so strong, and believable, that I just wanted to scoop them up, put them in my pocket and hope they accept me into their circle. They are hilarious, badass and passionate and I absolutely adore them.
Truthwitch was WILDLY entertaining for me. It was hilarious, it was adventurous, it had magic, it had a good sisterhood friendship, found family aspects and the smoldering beginning of what seems like a glorious hate-to-love romance. With a little bit of enemies-to-lovers thrown in… but I have a feeling that comes more into play later.
This is a book that reignite your love and respect for YA Fantasy. The pacing was frantic and relentless the whole way, starting with a highway robbery gone wrong. There’s no wasted moment of info-dumping or filler that I could diagnose. Instead, each page was soaked with emotion, action and all that godforsaken energy. It may have been YA, but it read like an urban fantasy with swearing, sex-positively and badass females with self-confidence; a decadent recipe that had me fist-bumping in the air. These women don’t need men or adults to save them and dictate their lives, and all of those things together are rare to find in a YA novel.
This book had representation, diverse characters, body positively, feminist themes and overall managed to throw the normal fantasy world on its head. This book is epic in a major way, and had me bubbling up with giggles more than a few times. Honestly, Ms. Dennard, cheers to you. Dear god, I didn’t know this was what I needed until I had it ✨
Have you read a book that just swept you away recently? What are some of your favorite high fantasy reads? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!