I recently read a great review for Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. It sounded like it had everything my little heart desires in a book: strong female characters, great female friendships, terrific world building, and romance. I immediately put the book on hold and read it at the first opportunity.
I should love this book. I really should! I didn’t actively dislike it, I just wasn’t captured by it. Perhaps it’s because it took me a while to figure out the new world. I felt like I had been presented with a bunch of new terms and had no idea what they meant. I kept wondering if I’d accidentally gotten the second book in the series instead of the first because terms and situations were just whirling by without any explanation: a Threadwitch, a Bloodwitch, a Windwitch? And each witch in a grouping seems able to do different things depending on what Dennard needs to make something happen rather than following rules intrinsic to the group. There are tons of politics going on behind the scenes, but not enough information given to help us make sense of them. Obviously there’s a prophecy at play as well, but even that is obscure.
And I confess that I was disappointed in the friendship. We’re beaten over the head about the fact that the girls would take the world apart for each other, but they hardly speak to each other, since they’re rarely together in the story, or if they are, one of them is unconscious or they’re fleeing for their lives and can’t talk. We really aren’t given a clue as to WHY the girls are such die hard friends. And how is a Threadsister/brother different than any other kind of friendship? Is it just a best friend, or is there some magic involved? Even after reading the whole book, I don’t know. And how about some clever dialog? There’s tons of angst and guilt, but very little humor, and humor is what makes me love characters.
I DID like the villain, Aeduan. He’s more nuanced than other characters, and conflicted about his role. He’s playing games on several levels, and we get enough of his internal dialog to understand some of it. I did find his Bloodwitch powers to be ridiculously far reaching, enough to stretch my own powers of belief.
I really think this book could have been something great. I think that given more background and less action (there’s LOTS of action), I could have become more invested in the world. Let me put it this way. I read two other books in between starting and finishing this one. That hardly ever happens. And, if I had needed to put the book down in the middle and never pick it up again, I wouldn’t have been bothered, because I just wasn’t invested enough to care.