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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard 2/5 stars

Before I started reading Truthwitch I asked my fellow bookstagrammers (Insta Link) what were their thoughts on this book. I got a LOT of mixed reviews, which left me rather curious about it. As it turns out, there are good reasons for the mixed reviews, and I will get to those. But first, here is the book blurb: 

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.

I spent the first 250 pages of this book extremely bored, confused, and annoyed. After that many pages you should understand the world it is set at least a little, you should connect with at least one character, and you most certainly should be looking forward to what happens next. Sorry guys, that was not be the case here.
There is a ridiculous amount of 'info dumping' on the first 150 or so pages and some more through out the story afterwards, and yet, I still don't know the world the book is set in at all. Not even the characters in the book do. Seriously!!! -- "though no one knew what made a person cleave, Iseult had read theories that linked the corruption to the five Origin Wells...though people spoke of a void element- and of voidwitches like that bloodwitch-there was no record of an actual void well"
I mean... if the people in the book, who live in that world do not understand it how are the readers supposed to? It just made it all very confusing. 
At times I felt like Susan Dennard was trying to create a world as complex as the world SJ Maas has created in the Throne of Glass series. The problem is, she tried to do in 200 pages what SJ Maas has done in 6 books. Throne of Glass did not have all aspects of the world in which the series is set thrown at the reader in the first book, we got some of it in each of the now 6 books and in many ways we still don't have all of it figured out. We learnt more and more about it as the series progressed. In Truthwich there is no background, not story building, no nothing. The reader is just expected to dive into that world even it makes no sense whatsoever. 
For a book full of action this was surprisingly slow to read. Too many big strange names and random information in between scenes. 

Then we have the plot... you should not be able to summarize a whole book in one paragraph. Contemporaries perhaps, in many ways they are meant to be easy and fast reads. But fantasy books are meant to be complex and captivating. Sadly the plot here can easily be explained in a few sentences... It is meant to be about two inseparable friends, but for the most part of the book they are not together. One is injured through most of it, nothing worth mentioning happens to her. The other one, Safi, spends most of the book running. She is also our special snow flake, everyone wants some Safi. As with most special snow flakes she is a tad stupid and extremely careless. Everyone loves the pathetic girl and I cannot think of one single reason. She runs and runs and runs. At some point her path crosses with Merik, the prince from another kingdom. Insta love! How could it be anything else? she is our special snow flake after all. They fight their insta love for a grand 10 seconds. The bad guy is obliviously not a bad guy. There is an attempt here to re-create the Darkling from grishaverse. No no and no. Epic fail. There was potential there, but he just ended up sounding like his daddy's little puppet. Book over. 
How exciting was that? *insert sarcastic laughter here* 

Okay... that was a lot of negativity! 
There were a few nice moments, hence the two stars of course. The book had potential.
Aeduan -the bloodwitch who is meant to be the evil character here- was not all bad. His powers are of epic proportions and although he is paid to hunt and kill and therefore comes a across as evil he clearly is not. His care for his old master/teacher was a clear sign of that. Sadly Dennard also made him into daddy's little boy and reduced his powers to nothing by making him incapable of capturing an injured and a reckless teen.
Merik also had potential. As did the romance between him and Safi. I think he would be great for Safi, he is everything she is not: responsible, thoughtful, focused. But their romance was so rushed and ridiculously written that all I could do is laugh and shake my head at it. I am sorry, but this writer really cannot write romance. AT ALL. 

I do own Windwitch, the next book in this series. And I did try to start it just now. But I am afraid it will be a dfn for me. It sounds even worse than the first. Our Merik gets disfigured on a boat explosion we read little about (back to not having a good plot real fast here) and gets a tad lost in his anger thinking our special snow flake is dead. He kissed her once and knew her for what? 3 days? ridiculous. 
Aeduan ends up with Iseult (you know... the one that was injured for the entire first book). They make a pact, he helps her find Safi and she gives him back some stuff she somehow found that he now wants. Potential romance that never happens. Maybe on the third book? I will never know because I will certainly not read it. 

So... I usually end my reviews with a 'Go Read'. I would feel dishonest doing that here.
By all means, read it if you have time. Just perhaps don't make it a priority.


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