There has been a lot of hype about this book, with street teams and clans representing the different types of witches, and the first 15 chapters available to read on Netgalley for the past couple of months. Apart from being aware it was out there, I managed to avoid most of the hype, so other than the fact is was YA fantasy featuring witches, I didn't actually know a lot about this going in.
The world is divided into empires, with at least one independent state struggling to survive. A treaty is in place, which has held for almost twenty years. When it comes to an end, either a new peace will be brokered, or the world will return to war. In this world some are born with a witchery, a power that gives them some advantage or control over the world. Waterwitches can control and gain power from water, Earthwitches have an affinity for plants or minerals, etc.
As the story starts, Safiya and Iseult are attempting to hold up a coach leaving the city. Safi has lost a great deal of money at cards, something she's not happy about, and is trying to reclaim it. The heist goes wrong and the girls end up with a Bloodwitch on their tale. Thought to exist only in myth, a Bloodwitch can control their own blood and that of others, and can also act a bit like a bloodhound, tracing the scent of someone's blood. Obviously this is bad news for the girls, doubly so because Safi is secretly a Truthwitch, able to tell truth from lie - a valuable skill in such a politically unstable world.
Iseult is a Threadwitch, able to read the threads of emotion that people around her give off. She can also see the threads that link people together.
There are four different POVs in this book, Safiya and Iseult as well as Aeduan, the Bloodwitch, and Merick, prince of a nation brought low by the way. These are handled really well, with each character having a distinct voice and adding complexity to the story.
Even the non-POV characters are well rounded. There are a few I want to know more about (Leopold and Eron in particular!) and others that don't do much in this book, but I think we'll hear more about as the series continues.
There is a hint of romance, and what is there is swoon-worth, but primarily this is a book about friendship, how the families we choose can mean more than those we're born into, and the sacrifices we're willing to make for them.
I thorougly enjoyed this book. A lot of YA fantasy feels like you've read it before. Truthwitch doesn't. It's original and exciting and I can't wait for more.
My only gripe is that I found it hard to keep track of the different witch clans and their powers. A Wheel of Time style glossary (with pronunciation guide) would be a worthwhile addition!
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan; Air Iri OME edition (14 January 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1509825029
- ISBN-13: 978-1509825028
- Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.6 x 19.7 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 358 g
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,590 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)