Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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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.


 First of all this book is ridiculously over-hyped, I was scared to read it and be disappointed. So let me tell you it was a nice surprise that I enjoyed it, I don’t think it’s as FANTASTIC as everyone’s been saying but it is good. I do, however, have more than a few complaints about it.


So first off the book starts out by immediately pulling you into the story, the writing had a very addictive quality to it and kept me turning pages. There’s plenty of action and a couple plot twists you won’t see coming as well. It was what made reading “Truthwitch” so fun.

So why then did I have such a hard time finishing it?

The pacing is kind of all over the place, there were parts where I absolutely NEEDED to know what would happen next and then there were parts where I didn’t even want to keep reading it at all. Which really confused me, because I don’t like being thrown all over the place on some sort of pacing rollercoaster. At times I honestly wanted to DNF the book because it would get so slow.

Then we have the world building. The concept of the witcheries was the most interesting since there seemed to be so many variations. You have windwitches, waterwitches, threadwitches, and the list goes on and on. There was also some pretty fascinating mythology added as well, it was very original. BUT. There was a serious lack of information on all of it. Sure there was cool mythology and witcheries, but none of it is ever really explained. They just throw the names around and you never actually KNOW what any of it is or what it means. For me this was the most frustrating thing, we get dumped into the world without knowing anything about it and it stays that way until you finish the book.

Plus nothing is ever explained about the world itself, who are these other countries? Where are these places you speak of? Tell me something! I’d like more information than a map!

Not to mention we have a ton of other characters that are mentioned a few times and we meet them once and never hear anything about them after that. Come on! Would it kill someone to actually explain what is going on? What’s happening with those other characters? I know they’re semi-important, so they didn’t just vanish never to be seen again.

Yep, my biggest problem with this book is the HUGE lack of explanations! For everything!

“Truthwitch” also has multiple POVs, which isn’t usually a problem, you get more information and insight with multiple characters. My problem with POVs in this book was that there was NO indication when they were switching over at all, there was a space and you had to read a while before you figured out who’s point of view you were reading. Sometimes it was obvious right a way but really? You couldn’t just have SAFI as a header so we would at least know right away?


So the best part about this book (other than the cool witcheries) were the characters. I mean at least with them I know what’s going on, unlike the world-building.

Safi and Iseult are the two main characters, they’re also best friends. I really loved their friendship in this book, it was one of my favorite parts while reading. I really liked how they put their friendship first, they didn’t need any men to swoop in and save them.

Safi is not a great character, I honestly found nothing to like about her at all. It seemed that all she was good for was making stupid decisions. I mean people tell her to do something FOR HER OWN GOOD and what does she do? She runs away and does the opposite. Seriously? They’re trying to help you and you’re fucking it all up with your stupid decision making! She’s just way too rash with her decisions, there’s zero planning or any actual thinking behind them either. She just acts and most of the time not for the best.

Honestly, Safi was a pretty boring character overall. Her witchery isn’t very flashy or interesting, but she does know how to kick some ass. Unfortunately the ass-kicking is overshadowed by the decisions that led her to need to kick any ass, a lot of the times. Also Safi is a bit of a “special snowflake”, even though her witchery is mostly a secret so not everyone was fawning over how special she was all the time, but she still had that specialness about her.

Iseult on the other hand is awesome. I liked reading about her way more than I did about Safi. Iseult is just more interesting, she isn’t a special snowflake like Safi and she doesn’t rush into things and make dumb decisions. Iseult is a Threadwitch so she can read people’s threads (kind of like a walking, talking mood ring honestly) and therefore she really pays attention to what’s happening around her. If only Safi were so observant maybe she would actually not fuck things up.

There are a few other characters as well such as Prince Merik, he really isn’t that great. Not swoon-worthy or really even notable at all, yes he plays a bigger role in the plot but he’s boring. He was a flat character in my opinion, he didn’t really have any personality. The people that work on his crew, like his aunt, were ten times more interesting than Merik was.

The character I liked the most, besides Iseult, was Aeduan. He’s a Blood Witch, which just screams cool if you ask me. He can track people by their blood scent and control your body through your blood. That’s creepy and really badass, which if Aeduan is anything it most definitely is badass. He also developed in a way I really liked, the “villain” who might not be so bad after all. Aeduan definitely has more going on than meets the eye, making him a very interesting character.


The romance in “Truthwitch” is border-line insta-love and downright annoying as hell. I think really what the worst part is, is how much time Safi and Merik spend thinking about each other and how much they dislike each other when it’s so obvious that they are head over heels in insta-love. I rolled my eyes so much I felt like they were going to get stuck in the upward position.

If Safi and Merik spent half as much time worrying about actual problems than they do thinking about each other they might actually have gotten some shit done.

in conclusion

I know it seems like a lot of complaints and way more negative than positive, but believe me I really did like this book. I had a lot of issues with it, but it was entertaining. I loved the concepts and I liked “most” of the characters. It was very much a fun read, but if you’re looking for a fantasy with more solid world building then I’d look elsewhere.


Sure, it’s not something I’m a HUGE fan of and will go around shoving it into people’s faces in the hopes that they will read it, but it is something I recommend taking a look at. Like I said it’s fun and it’s entertaining, but it lacks any real fantasy elements and not lot of things are explained. If you’re looking for fun then look no further but if you’re a fan of fantasy world-building done right, skip “Truthwitch”.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy

18 thoughts on “Book Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

  1. Kelly @ Stellar Scrutiny February 2, 2016 / 6:11 pm

    Great review, Heather! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

      • Kelly @ Stellar Scrutiny February 3, 2016 / 12:50 am

        You’re very welcome. ^.^


  2. Sarah's Book Addiction February 3, 2016 / 3:42 am

    Sounds like Truthwitch is all over the place at times, but I’m really looking forward to reading this soon! Great review

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek February 8, 2016 / 7:25 pm

      Thanks, I hope you enjoy it! It does have some flaws but overall is pretty enjoyable! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. ravenandbeez February 3, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    This sounds exactly like how I felt about Throne of glass but I guess I will still be trying it out because like you said, the hype!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek February 8, 2016 / 7:24 pm

      It’s definitely worth checking out, it was a really fun read. I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Becky (Blogs of a Bookaholic) February 7, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    Great, entertaining review!

    The hype around this book has been so off putting for me. Like the commenter above me, your review reminds me of how I felt about Throne of Glass (which I still need to review), it just missed on so many levels for me. I think because I love fantasy so much, I have higher expectations when YA takes on proper fantasy (as opposed to having fantasy elements), and so far I haven’t really come across a book that has made me go ‘wow’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek February 8, 2016 / 7:23 pm

      Thank you! I agree 100%, I have very high expectations for YA fantasy and a lot of books don’t really deserve the label since there always seem to be such a lack of world building etc. Hopefully we can find some of the ‘wow’ YA fantasy books! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. TheQuirkyBookNerd February 10, 2016 / 9:34 pm

    Fantastic review, Heather! 😀 And, as always, I love all your gifs ❤ (that Loki one always makes me so sad!) I'd heard some good things about this book, but the hype has really been turning me off from it. I find that with these types of books, a small-ish group of people get really excited about it and the hype quickly gets out of control, but the actual book itself ends up falling pretty flat. I'm definitely still debating whether or not to give this one a go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek February 10, 2016 / 10:16 pm

      Thanks Ariana! I love using gifs…..especially when I have some things I feel strongly about 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. jessreadsbooks November 11, 2016 / 3:50 pm

    I had a lot of these feelings! I didn’t really like the book that much because of it. I was confused almost the whole time!

    Liked by 1 person

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