Truthwitch (#1 of 4) by Susan Dennard
Published Year: 2016
Genre: YA Fantasy
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
To be honest, I didn't really see how discerning between truth and lies would be such an enviable talent. Safi quickly changed my mind. She and Iseult are fierce and their world is on the brink of war. Even though they both just want their freedom, they know that they'll never be free if the world is at war.
Once SD started weaving this world, I was so drawn in. It's fierce and beautiful and unique. I just want more, more, more. I cannot wait for the next three books. I will say she didn't do enough world building. There are a lot of holes in the history and even understanding of how the state of the world had gotten to where it is.
The characters are so rich and complex, and the witcheries are so fascinating. Safi is a truthwitch, with the ability to discern between truth and lie. It does go a bit further than that, in that she can discern whether a person is good or bad, which I like. But I really like Iseult's witchery as a threadwitch. She can see the "threads" of the world, which I interpreted as emotions and links between people. SO COOL. There are of course limitations to everyone's witchery to make them human, but I would take a whole book on just the witcheries and no plot needed haha. In all honesty though, Safi is kind of annoying and I prefer Iseult. I'd much rather have Iseult be the "special" one if I had to choose.
I will definitely be picking up the next book once it comes up and recommend this one for readers looking for a new fantasy series with a strong heroine (Iseult, duh).
4 out of 5 stars.