Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

21414439Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)

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.

~Review~

I have been hearing how great this book is for quite awhile now.  Normally, I’m a bit wary when it comes to a book surrounded by so much hype, but I’m happy to say Truthwitch deserves all the accolades!

The thought that kept going through my head while reading was, this book is SO clever!

It is clear that Susan Dennard spent a lot of time in creating the world of the Witchlands, and even more time in creating the magical system of the world.  And let me tell you, the magic is COMPLEX!

At first I was a bit put off by the fact that everybody, main character and secondary, had magical powers.

I’m definitely used to the school of magic where you had to “special” to have magic, therefore there weren’t many.

But the more I read Truthwitch, the more I could see just how absolutely brilliant Susan is!  The world in Truthwitch couldn’t function without so many people possessing a Witchery.  Sure there were some rarer forms of Witcheries, but for the most part, a Witchery was a utilitarian part of life.  Witches truly made the world go round in Truthwitch, from Tidewitches to Threadwitches to Wordwitches, and all the in between.

Susan’s creative genius doesn’t just stop at the world.  Her characters are fascinatingly flawed and multi-faceted.  Take Safi for example.  She was often unapologetically abrasive, creating mess after mess that her Threadfamily would then be forced to clean up for her.  But I loved her for that.  I loved that she was fiercely protective and would take on anyone for Iseult.  Her sharp tongue often made me chuckle, and though there were a few times when I thought, Really Safi?,  I continually found myself rooting for her.  My favorite thing about Susan’s characters is that they all fought to be better versions of themselves.

Now can we talk about the romance?  Susan Dennard has mastered the craft of the slow burn! The romance didn’t overpower the story, it wasn’t an us against them kind of thing.  It was organic and just as unpredictable as the people involved, and so beautifully written that it left me breathless!

If I had any complaint, it would be that, for me, there were no real surprises.  Well, one, but from that time on I pretty much knew what was coming.  But that’s ok for this story!  I wanted the characters to get to the place where I knew they’d end up, and I was happy to go along for the ride.

Truthwitch for me was a solid five stars.  Not just for the story, but for the time and attention Susan put into the story.  I look forward to see where she takes Safi and Iseult in the next book!

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ARC Review: DNF A Study in Charlotte

 

23272028A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1)

The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

~REVIEW~

I had high hopes for this book, I mean, just look at that cover!  I loved the idea of a YA Sherlock and Watson. Unfortunately I DNF’d this book at chapter three.

I hear you asking, chapter three? Isn’t that a bit soon to decide whether you’ll like a book or not? Perhaps, but there were just some things I couldn’t get past.

The first being the setting.  Jamie and Charlotte’s story is set in Connecticut, not London.  Now both Jamie and Charlotte are English, but find themselves at a Prep School in Connecticut.  I would have much preferred to read a story set in England.

The second issue was that by the third chapter, there were so many drug/alcohol/sexual references– not to mention the F-bombs.  Oh look, the mayor’s daughter is buying drugs from the skeevy townie drug dealer, or, I bet all of Charlotte’s money is going up her nose.  I’m sure this is how the author believes that kids in an elite private school act, but for me it was very Cruel Intentions.

Get with the times Old Lady, Sherlock was a heroine addict! I hear ya,  I do.  But for me, these were just things I couldn’t get past.  They bother me and I don’t think they’re necessary for a good story.  BUT, that is just my opinion.   I know a lot of you are excited to read this book and probably won’t be bothered by the aforementioned things.  That’s great!  Even though A Study in Charlotte wasn’t my cup of tea, I hope that if you take the time to read it, you enjoy the story.