Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (Discussion)

Truthwitch is the first installment in The Witchlands series. Please note that this discussion contains spoilers! If you haven’t already, check out my review on this book, which is spoiler-free.

I gave this book a 3/5 stars in my review. Usually, I give books 3 stars if they’re okay overall. In this case however, I enjoyed the book overall but gave it 3 stars because there were important parts of the book that I disliked, and I almost put the book down during the first quarter of it.

The beginning is incredibly slow and lackluster! It’s an info dump, and it gets really hard following what the characters are doing and the purpose for their actions since a lot of terms went over my head. The book only became interesting when Aeduan’s point of view was introduced (after over 120 pages in).

 

Let me just say, Safi is so dumb, and it’s aggravating. I’m not saying this just off of my opinion – she’s purposefully painted this way. For instance, on the second page of the book, this happens:

Safi snapped down her spyglass. ‘There are four guards in each row. Eight times four makes…’ Her face scrunched up. Fifteen, sixteen, seventeen

‘It’s thirty-two,’ Iseult said blandly.

Okay, maybe Safi is just not very strong at math. However, she makes so many other poor decisions throughout the book, which made her character intolerable. For instance, why would you try to kill a prince on his ship when he’s trying to save you? Sure, he might not be actively helping Iseult find a Firewitch healer, but cutting his head off won’t make it easier to convince the rest of the crew to land and get the healer.

Yeah, Safi grew as a character and became much more self-aware and mature toward the end of the book. But Safi in the first half of the book made me dislike her throughout the whole book. Also, I don’t know why the Truthwitch is so highly sought after. Safi’s powers seem fairly useless. She can’t detect a lie 100% of the time if her own judgment is clouded, or if the person saying it believes it.

On the other hand, I truly enjoyed Iseult’s character and reading her point of views. There’s a lot I liked about Iseult – her personality is endearing with her occasional stuttering and being unable to maintain a stoic appearance from time to time. She also adores books, which us readers can obviously empathize with.

Iseult has been through a lot in her life, and that leads to her current maturity and personality. It was informative seeing her experience back at her tribe with her mom. I liked reading those chapters, although I think her experience back home could’ve taken up a few more chapters (possibly with more backstory), especially since it must’ve been an important turning point for Iseult.

Iseult being a Puppeteer is a cool twist to the story. The scenes where the other Puppeteer visits Iseult is super creepy, but also extremely interesting to read. I feel so sad for the other Puppeteer – I hope she joins forces with Safi and Iseult eventually, instead of going against them.

 

As for the romance in the book, I love Ryber & Kullen, and Iseult & Aeduan. I’m not the biggest fan of Safi & Merik though.

Ryber and Kullen have such a cute relationship. It was so sad when Iseult said that their red Heart-Threads had grief in them, probably due to Kullen being so sick. That scene where Ryber was accepting that Kullen would probably die when he started up that storm to save the trade agreement for Merik… That destroyed me. I refuse to believe that Kullen is actually dead for the rest of the series. Maybe Iseult will be able to do her fancy thread magic at the beginning of the next book and bring him back to life?

I absolutely love the growing relationship between Iseult and Aeduan. It’s such a fascinating romance. I wonder if the reason Iseult can’t see Aeduan’s threads is because they share a Heart-Thread? We didn’t see Iseult’s point of view when she had the chance to kill Aeduan, but decided against it – I wonder what she was going through when she ultimately decided not to kill him. I can’t wait to read more about them.

I don’t like Safi and Merik however. They have a relationship that is too insta-lovey and fated for my tastes. That ballroom scene had me rolling my eyes and I knew that their relationship would be one of those irritating tug of wars where they try to be mean to each other, but then give up eventually because there’s an overwhelming attraction.

 

Last random thoughts:

I was surprised when Leo (aka Polly) ended up being pro-Safi-escaping. I was really sad at the ball because I thought Leo had betrayed Safi and wanted her to marry the emperor. Looking back at it now though, it was so obvious that he was trying to distract Aeduan – I can’t believe I didn’t predict it before.

My guess is that the scent that Aeduan keeps picking up around Leo is Safi’s uncle…?

It was predictable that Safi and Iseult were Cahr Awen. The moment the concept of the Cahr Awen was introduced, and it was described as a legendary pair who was anticipated to come back soon, it was obvious that it was Safi and Iseult.

I have a prediction for who Aeduan’s father is! I think he’s that Voidwitch from Iseult’s tribe who tried to kill Iseult with the poison arrow and has been hitting on Iseult’s mom.

The next book is titled Windwitch. Does that mean it’ll be focused around Merik and his character growth, since this book was focused around Safi’s character growth? I hope it won’t be too emphasized on Merik and Safi at the very least.

 

So those were my more in-depth thoughts on Truthwitch! I hope you enjoyed this discussion!

What did you think of this book? What are your predictions?

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