Summary (from Goodreads):
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.
Why I read it: I really love Susan Dennard's work, and I love everything I see of her personality online. She's a wonderful friend to writers everywhere. In fact, she's one of the reasons I started writing historical fiction. That being said, I've followed her on Twitter for years and subscribed to her newsletter. She teased bits and pieces of this book, and I knew I had to read it.
ZOMG Yes! My favorite element of this story, by far, is the strong female friendship. Our main characters are so strong together (while standing on their own as well), but their relationship is the sort of women-supporting-women friendship that's lacking in a lot of literature. (Also I couldn't help imaging Safi as Sarah Maas and Iz as Susan Dennard for the whole story).
Secondly, the magic system in this story really drew me in. While it definitely uses elemental magic, it's a new take on the concept. And it's described really well, so you feel immersed in the story without having to put the pieces together. The world building is the same. A lot of fantasy can feel pretty strong on the info-dump in the first few chapters. Not Truthwitch. Susan really pulls you in so you just get it without having to put forth any effort.
Also--there's a romance and it's awesome.
kthxbai I really felt satisfied with the ending of this story, but found myself wanting the second book right away (obviously). If you love fantasy, pick this series up now!
All the Chiweenies to Susan Dennard!