My rating in stars: 3,5 stars
My rating in words: I liked it
What it’s about:
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.
I think this will definitely become an epic, all-time favorite series. It has everything set up for that perfectly: a big and well thought-out world, intriguing politics, interesting main characters, really inspiring friendships, a scary villain and even some romance. Everything that was set up in this first book in the series has me excited to continue on with the series because I am that convinced I will love it.
But if I look at this book alone and don’t think about the huge possibilities of the next books still to come, I was just a little disappointed. Because as a first book, it just did not grab me and draw me into the book like I wanted it to. And this was the case for at least the first half of the book. Which is a long time. And this is weird, because you are thrust into the action from the very first page and no time is spent on info dumping, which I would normally applaud. But in this case I think the world of the Witchlands is so big and complex that without any information I was just confused for a long time. And unfortunately that affected my ability to enjoy this.
That said, I did really enjoy the last part of the book, once I got into the world and was beginning to understand the different types of witches and the different empires and their power players. I liked that it’s not just as simple as two witches and one evil villain but that there are different empires and different politics in play. I really liked the focus of the book on the friendships, both between Safiya and Iseult as between Merik and Cullen. I liked the legends and am interested to see how Safiya and Iseult will factor into that. There is also some romance, but as with most of the book I liked it more near the end than in the beginning.
Another thing I really appreciated was that we had the POV of our 4 main characters, as it really added an extra dimension to the book, though I did not like Aeduan’s POV in the beginning. Near the end he did grow on me – I think he’s a very intriguing, morally grey character who will have a very interesting character arc still to come and I am eager to read more of him. I loved Merik’s POV a lot and especially his interactions with Cullen. But my favorite POV was Iseult, she just seems to be the most interesting and I am looking forward to seeing how her connection with Aeduan will play out in the next books.
Overall I would definitely still recommend this book to anyone who likes a nice fantasy book, but I would wait until at least the second book comes out so it can be binge read together. I think this book is ok as an introduction, but I feel the experience will be a lot better when the whole series can be read as whole.
“I hate this. Both the storm and the plan. Why does it have to be ‘we’? Why not just me?”
“Because ‘just me’ isn’t who we are,” Iseult hollered back. “I’ll always follow you, Safi, and you’ll always follow me. Threadsisters to the end.”
“If you wanted to, Safiya, you could bend and shape the world.”
“It wasn’t freedom she wanted. It was belief in something—a prize big enough to run for and to fight for and to keep on reaching toward no matter what.”