An epic fantasy filled with swashbuckling adventure, intrigue, and beautiful friendships! I fell in love with this book!
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.
The best thing about this book are the friendships. There’s a lot more that is great about this book, but honestly, my favorite part was the close friendship that exists between Safi and Iseult (threadsisters), and Merik and Kullen (threadbrothers). If you are looking for a book with great friendships, read this one!
Another character that I really liked was Aeduen, a Bloodwitch who hunts them throughout the story. You never quite know whether he is good or bad (but I secretly think he is good). He is bent on revenge, bent on tracking the Truthwitch and the Threadwitch. But along the way, he develops a life-debt to Iseult and learns that these two girls might be the Cahr Awyn.
I also loved that romance was a minor aspect of the story. Yes, there was strong attraction between Safi and Merik, and I totally ship them together, but the friendships are what stood out to me in this book. Also, I am totally shipping Aeduen and Iseult together and nobody will change my mind on that one.
And I can’t even talk about Kullen right now. I just can’t I love him so much and I’m heartbroken.
I do wish this world had been a little more fleshed out, which is why I gave this four stars instead of five. I didn’t quite understand what was going on, why these other countries–Cartorra, Nubrevna, Portolla–intensely dislike the Marstok. What does help a little in understanding the background of this story is Susan Dennard explaining the world of the Witchlands basically being loosely based on Imperial Europe (video below). I just wish I understood more about the magic of this world, and why everyone wants Safi for her Truthwitchery.
I definitely recommend checking out The Witchlands web page. It helps explain this world, Susan’s favorite scene, the Witchland boys, and more important extras.
My Rating: 4/5 stars