As you may have noticed, I am pretty much obsessed with The Witchlands Series by Susan Dennard. I have posted many thoughts and even flailed over these books over the past year and a half on Twitter, Instagram, the blog, and beyond. Admittedly, I am a member of the Waterwitch Babes, part of the street team for Susan Dennard’s The Witchlands series. This is a series that I am passionate about because it is simply a well-written, jaw-dropping, action-packed series that contains some very bodacious and awe-inspiring characters.
Title: Truthwitch (The Witchlands #1)
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Summary (From Goodreads): 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.
Fans of high fantasy will love all that Truthwitch, the first book in The Witchlands Series, holds. The main characters are wonderfully developed and so relatable, there are epic battle scenes, and a friendship that is so strong and admirable. Also, the whole concept is just incredible with its witcheries and world-building that just blow the reader away.
The first aspect that always draws me into a book or series are characters that I can relate to and ones that are respectable. Right from the first chapter of Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch, the reader is immersed in a humorous and exciting heist gone wrong. Immediately, the story sucks you in and keeps you engaged in what the main characters, Safi and Iseult, are up to. It is a book chock full of girl power and best friends that will do anything it takes to help one another.
One thing that sets this book apart from most other fantasy novels is the fact that the battles are often fought by women. Not only are we reading about fierce females who can stand up for themselves, we are also finding that they are skilled at self-defence. These are my favourite scenes in the book and it is very apparent that Susan Dennard is writing from personal experience, as she is quite an expert in martial arts herself.
If I haven’t convinced you yet to pick up this book and move it up on your TBR, perhaps you will love the whole idea of The Witchlands and all of the various witcheries that it contains. The world is very loosely based on the Venetian, Ottoman, and Habsburg empires of Europe and each empire has it own sets of witches and magics. While this first book in the series just touches on a few, the idea of a Truthwitch who can discern truth from a lie and a Threadwitch who can sense the ties that bind living things together are so unique.
Title: Windwitch (The Witchlands #2)
Author: Susan Dennard
Publisher: Tor Teen
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Summary (From Goodreads): Sometimes our enemies are also our only allies…
After an explosion destroys his ship, the world believes Prince Merik, Windwitch, is dead. Scarred yet alive, Merik is determined to prove his sister’s treachery.
When the Bloodwitch Aeduan discovers a bounty on Iseult, he makes sure to be the first to find her—yet in a surprise twist, Iseult offers him a deal.
After a surprise attack and shipwreck, Safi and the Empress of Marstok barely escape with their lives. Alone in a land of pirates, every moment balances on a knife’s edge—especially when the pirates’ next move could unleash war upon the Witchlands.
The second book in The Witchlands Series, Windwitch, will completely shock and surprise readers in the absolute best of ways. The book has a slightly different tone from the first and takes the reader deeper into the fantastical world that has been introduced in Truthwitch. This story begins to give the series the feel of an epic saga, as it contains various points of view, characters, and subplots. There are numerous diverse characters as well in Windwitch, making this book both interesting and distinctive, since I rarely see diversity in fantasies.
The entire mood of Windwitch is a sort of desperation of all the characters, which is also present in Truthwitch. However, the danger of the entire continent becomes very clear in this second instalment. Although the different characters have their own sets of problems to overcome in their subplots, the impending war between the empires seems to be at the heart of all that is endured. The battles and excitement continue in Windwitch and their descriptions are so vivd that they seem real.
The format of this book is so wonderful, as there are many stories told at the same time. There are multiple perspectives and a dramatic serial style to Windwitch that leaves one subplot to begin the next. It sounds as though this style might be confusing, but it actually makes the reader desperate to keep reading and get back into each of the storylines. The fast-paced style also propels the different stories and keeps everything moving along.
What is most incredible about Windwitch is the inclusion of so much diversity. Fantasy novels are really blank slates for any type of character, and Susan Dennard has created a cast of new characters that some readers will find relatable and inspiring. Without spoiling the story, I will just say that this is one aspect of this book that will really enlighten its readers.
The first two books in The Witchlands Series are epic, exciting, and bursting with an eclectic cast of characters. If you are a fan of high fantasy, battles, and adventure, I highly suggest this incredible series. I cannot wait to discover what happens in the next two books, since the first two have definitely got me hooked!