Genres: Young Adult, High Fantasy
Series: The Witchlands #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Source: My shelves
On a continent ruled by three empires, everyone is born with a "witchery," a magical skill that sets them apart from others. Now, as the Twenty Year Truce in a centuries-long war is about to end, the balance of power-and the failing health of all magic-will fall on the shoulders of a mythical pair called the Cahr Awen.
The biggest thing on Safi and Noelle's minds is saving money for their planned future in the Hundred Isles. Noelle, a Threadwitch, can see the emotional Threads binding the world. Safi, on the other hand, is a Truthwitch-she always knows when a person is telling a lie. A powerful magic like that is something people would kill to have on their side-or to keep off their enemy's side-and so Safi cannot even admit what she truly is.
With the help of the cunning Prince Merik (a Windwitch and privateer) and the hindrance of a Bloodwitch bent on revenge, the friends must rise above their doubts and fight to learn who they are and what they are made of, if they are going to stay alive and preserve the balance of their world.
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 it 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 reignites 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!