Published: January 5th 2016 by Tor Teen
Series: Witchlands Series #1
Source: Local Library
Genre: Young Adult, High Fantasy, Magic, Elemental Control
Synopsis: 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.
Spoiler Free Review:
So Susan Dennard being Sarah J. Maas’s best friend, I was interested in seeing what her best friend had to offer. By the time I got to it, there were many negative and positive reviews floating around. After all the hype died down, I gave it a try and really liked it.
The writing style was very reminiscent of Sarah J Maas’s writing, but it was still unique. One of my favorite aspects were that there were multiple perspectives. There was even chapters on the villain, Aeduan who was an exceptionally interesting perspective to read from. Typically, in most books I read, there are only chapters on one or two characters, but we got multiple perspective and I loved being inside all of their heads.
The world building was also wonderfully fleshed out, but it was extremely confusing in the beginning. As many people mentioned, a glossary would have been so helpful. There was a crap ton of witches that controlled so many different elements, it was hard to keep up. I definitely found the world to be interesting to read about and how everything was run. I also liked how a part of the book took place on a ship. There were quite a few fighting scenes on the ship and it was freaking awesome.
Safiya fon Hasstrel was quite the stubborn,reckless character. She reminded me of Celaena, but like I said, this is different from Throne of Glass. I wasn’t the hugest fan of her towards the beginning, but in the end, she totally made up for it and I really loved her character. I liked how even though she was a great fighter, she was also very intelligent, especially her decision towards the end. But I’ll admit, I probably liked Iseult a little better. She was more insecure and not as determined, but I liked that about her. She reminded me of Ashyn from Age of Legends Trilogy By Kelley Armstrong. But unlike Ashyn, she wasn’t thrown to the side and we got to see a lot of her backstory and her thought process. The friendship between these two characters was probably the best part of the book. There were both so loyal to each other and it was like they were each other’s other half. The two weren’t complete without each other. Female friendships, any strong friendship in general, is an amazing element in any book.
Prince Merik was yet another interesting character. Knowing he was a Windwitch, I expected to be an adorable cinnamon roll character. Yeah, he’s far away from the cinnamon let’s not even bring the roll in. He’s more of a hot and spicy sauce. Merik definitely gave me the Prince Zuko vibes from Avatar: The Last Airbender. He’s the Sifu Hotman in case you’re wondering: (You know with the burnt left eye)
Yeah, that pretty much summed up Merik. He had quite a bit of pent up rage. It was intriguing to read from such an angry person and I surprisingly liked him? I didn’t at first, I’m over the brooding (ish), anger issues dude. But, because of Zuko, I couldn’t help but appreciate his character. Then there was the evil sister, Vivia who not surprisingly, wanted the throne. I mean, anyone else getting the Princess Azula vibes? ‘Cause I sure am.
We didn’t get to see much of Princess Vivia, but she’s another interesting character. Honestly would not be surprised if Susan Dennard got a bit of inspiration from ATLA.
Finally, we have our supposed villain, Aeduan. Honestly, I have not read about a good villain in quite a while, so reading about Ayudan really had me ecstatic. He was honorable, surprise, surprise (Yes, that was a Zuko reference, can you tell?). Aeduan is an extremely fascinating character and very well crafted. I’m really intrigued about his backstory. Highlight for spoiler: I am really, really hoping he has a redemption arc, please Susan Dennard.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. I can’t wait to see what the sequel brings, I’ve heard that it focuses more on Princey Poo Merik, so that has me excited.