Truthwitch is one of those books where I like it and I don’t at the same time. I enjoyed greatly what was done. I liked how things built up. However, I didn’t ever find myself in love. I was looking in the cracks. I was irritated by little things. Yet, magically the story eventually managed to suck me in without me ever noticing. Truthwitch was that book that at first glance brought a lot of both good and bad and still has me really excited for the next book.
The real heart of this novel is the friendship. It’s a friendship between Iseult and Safi. Each from very different paths in life, but they come together in a way that is really great. I’m not going to say that there aren’t some really great female friendships in books. There are, but this is definitely one that’s encouraging. Together you get the sense of how much these girls are each other’s family. They love each other and would do anything to help the other. Watching it play out through small moments and large moments is encouraging. More importantly theere is never anything that comes between that friendship. They believe in each other and while there are guys involved, it never separates them.
Safi and Iseult are witches. Safi a Truthwitch and Iseult a Threadwitch and together they are Threadsisters. As a Truthwitch, Safi is able to see truth. This gift has it’s flaws because it isn’t universal truth, or what she believes is true, but what the person she’s reading believes and hopes to be true. Iseult’s status as a Threadwitch allows her to see people’s threads. She can see their threads flare with color corresponding with the emotions they feel. She can also see how people are tied to one another. When someone’s threads connect to another person with binding threads they become threadfamily. It is this notion that binds Safi and Iseult together even stronger, but also confused me. One of the things that was made clear in the text is that a Threadwitch can not see the threads of themselves or another Threadwitch. We saw a couple of examples of Iseult’s inability to see the threads of the Threadwitches she knew. So if Iseult can not see her threads and presumably no other Threadwitch can see her threads either, how would Iseult and Safi know they are Threadsisters. I just don’t get it. Spoiler. The only possible explanation is that because Iseult may not actually be a proper Threadwitch, but an off shoot of a Threadwitch. Still she can’t see other Threadwitches threads. End spoiler.
Which leads me to the biggest problem with the book. The magic system. The more that the novel went on the more kinds of witches we encountered. There were so many of them that they stopped feeling special. What makes some one a witch. it was vague, but the predominance of these witches connected with the awe they seemed to elicit felt odd. More importantly, I still feel like I don’t understand the extent of these witches abilities. As the book went on more little tidbits of each ability were revealed. The fact that we are not seeing threshold makes me question the limits of their magic. The positive was the witches are not created equal and some witches of the same type are weaker than others.
The actual world of the novel was hard for me to pin down and imagine. Sometimes it felt much older other times it felt somewhat modern. As a result I was never really sure how to imagine the cities we were in.
What the book lacked in setting was made up for in politics. Usually, I’m not interested in standard politics. For me to care, they need to be tied to characters and places I’m invested in. I like to see the different sides. Truthwitch excelled with this. In fact, that was the main focus of the novel when you take away the friendship. Everything is about the shifting of power in a world that is at the brink of war. It was interesting to see especially as we sunk deeper and deeper into this political world. I’m really looking forward to how this plays out in the future.
Aside from Iseult and Safi, we focused on two main male characters as well, Aedeun and Merik. Both were interesting in their own ways. Each were driven and hot tempered. How each behaved made things more and more complicated as you realized they may not have been the people we initially thought.
While I wasn’t immediately drawn in to the story, I did find myself enjoying myself in the end. Considering that I want to read the next book and see what happens next, I deem this one a win.