Truthwitch is the first book in The Witchlands series by Susan Dennard which is a young adult fantasy novel that includes magic that was published on January 5, 2016 by Tor Teen.
I’ll be including a spoiler-free and spoiler-filled sections.
Young witches Safiya (truthwitch) and Iseult (threadwitch) are always finding trouble. They’re forced to flee from their home.
Safiya has to avoid capture at all because she’s a rare truthwitch, she’s able to tell the truth from the lies. She has to be kept hidden.
Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him an ally. His help is slowing down the bloodwitch who’s been after them since the beginning of the book. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom but it’s going to be hard to get there.
I enjoyed this book very much. The relationship between Merik and Safiya was my favorite thing throughout the whole book. I also loved the friendship between Iseult and Safiya because it kind of reminded me of the friendship between Will and Jem.
I loved the world Susan Dennard created and how they have different witches living among the people like truthwitches, airwitches, threadwitches, windwitches, etc.
If you’re looking for a new fantasy book to read, I definitely recommend this one.
This is where I start talking about the book thoroughly.
In the beginning, we’re introduced to Safiya and Iseult. Safi is the truthwitch and she keeps losing in gambling.
Iseult is the threadwitch who can see the invisible ties that binds everyone around her but she can’t see the ones who are connected with hers.
The guards are after them and I can already see that Safi gets them in trouble and Iz gets them out of it. They got away with it by acting as if Iz had the plague and they were getting to the doctor.
They bump into a bloodwitch Aeduan who can sense the witchery in their blood. The bloodwitch was also pretty impossible to kill.
They escape again and they have to swim in a really wavy beach and they take off their skirts and put it to the left of the ocean while they dive to the right. One of the most smartest things ever.
Safi is really valuable because she could tell from lies and truth so people found out about her she could be used in politics.
“And if you could keep the Venaza City guards away too, that would be nice.”
“This is easily the worst prayer I have ever heard,” Iseult declared.
“Weasels piss on you, Iz. I’m not done yet” Safi heaved a sigh through her nose and then resumed her prayer.
-Safiya – Iseult
Safi’s one of my favorite character and this scene made me laugh.
We found out that Safi was raised by her Uncle Eron and he raised her as a soldier and Emperor Henrick wants Safi to go to the Catorran capital for her education.
One of my favorite scenes was when Safiya got crapped on by a gull.
She started laughing, and Safi’s Threads blazed into red fury. “Why?” She gawked at Iseult. Then at the guards, “Why always me? There are a thousand shoulders for a gull to crap on, but they always pick me!”
The guards were doubled over now, and the second lifted a limp hand. “Go. Just… Go.”
Tears streamed from his eyes-which only served to make Safi snarl as she stomped past. “Why don’t you do something useful with your time? Instead of laughing at girls in distress, go fight crime or something!”
Then Safi was going through the checkpoint and racing for the nearest fat-huled trade ships- with Iseult right on her heels and giggling the entire way.
-Safiya – The guard
So freaking funny.
We’re introduced to Prince Merik who’s a windwitch and his friend Kullen is an airwitch which means he could control the air in a man’s lungs and could also control storms. Basically anything that has to do with air.
Prince Merik and Kullen bump into the girls and the Tidewitch ends up dying and Iseult still sees his threads which isn’t possible.
“Is this how all Nubrevnans dress?” Safi snatched the other side of his shirt. “These go inside these.”
To his credit, the Nubrevnan didn’t move. His face simply flushed a wild scarlet-as did his threads- and his lips pressed tight. “I know,” he gritted out, “how a button operates.” He knocked Safi’s wrists away. “And I don’t need advice from a woman with bird shit on her shoulder.”
-Safiya – Merik
Oh my gosh, I ship it already.
Iseult’s trainer Habim tells her that she has to leave Safi because her destiny since the beginning was to become a domna. Iz agrees to stay away from her and gives Habim her weapons before she goes undercover so she won’t be stopped.
Safi is completely at lost without Iz because she’s usually the one who messes up and Iz always knows how to fix it.
Safis also been requested to attend the ball by Emperor Henrick.
Iseult ruined her cover in like 2 minutes and she’s being chased by the bloodwitch. It makes you realize how much they actually need each other.
We also find out that Safi’s Uncle Eron is a drunk and when he’s drunk she can’t tell lies from truth from him.
Iseult goes to this tribe that took her in once and her mother Gretchya is there.
There’s another threadwitch named Alma that grew up with Iz but she’s perfect at everything she does and she looks perfect and I feel why Iz hates her so much.
We also meet Corlant who’s a dick and the leader of the tribe. He’s also a cursewitch which doesn’t sound good to me. He can take someone’s magic away and he’s been threatening Iz’s mother with that whenever he wanted something from her.
Safi is so me when it came to food. Like she saw the food at the ball and she was just like yaaaas, I’m about to try every food before this ball ends.
“And I have spent too many hours between meals.” A glare. “Give it to me now, Polly, it I shall castrate you with a fork.”
Safi and Merik bumped into each other again!
“I see,” she drawled, “that you have learned how to work a button. Congratulations on this no doubt life-altering feat.”
He laughed – a suprised sound- and bowed his head. “And I see you have cleaned the bird crap off your shoulder.”
Her nostrils flared.
-Safiya – Merik
Safi finally figures out that the Nubrevna was the prince of Nubrevnan. They danced together and that dance was the most intense, beautiful dances I’ve ever read about.
Iseult was trying to escape and was caught by Corlant and now they’re chanting Other. Other. Hang the other. They do this because they think she’s the puppeteer and Alma and her mom’s plan worked and they all escape.
We find out that the bloodwitch’s name is Aeduan and he was shocked he couldn’t find Iz’s blood scent just like she couldn’t see his threads.
Aeduan is attending the ball that Merik and Safi.
Everyone was lying to Safi because Henrick just announced that she’s going to become the future empress of Cartorra.
The firewitch ws burning the entrance to the walls and the bloodwitch is terrified of fire/flames.
So Uncle Eron made Safi run after they declared her that and Matthew is outside he runs along with them. They want her to escape/hide while they fight the bloodwitch and we find out that Eron fooled everyone especially Safi that he isn’t a drunk. Safi escapes and Matthew promises her that he’ll bring Iz to her.
Safi steals a knife from a “peasant” and it turns out he’s a voicewitch and she tells him to tell her uncle that the bloodwitch is hunting her.
Iz is bleeding and her mother is helping her. Alma tells Iz that Safiya is in danger and Iz leaves again which makes her mother bitter.
Safiya and Iseult are finally reunited which got me so freaking happy.
Merik is assigned to bring the girls to the safe place which makes me excited. He finds them fighting against the monks. When the bloodwitch strts going after Safi, Merik bursts in action and takes Safi flying but leaves Iseult behind.
I know the bloodwitch is basically the bad guy but I ship him with Iseult.
Iseult is hurt and Safi’s trying to protect her and the airwitch take her air until she cooperates but she passes out.
Merik is trying to make sure she’s not wanting and he was threatening her and it wasn’t going well for him.
Can we just talk about the fact that Merik was looking at Safi’s legs and he was saying how it got him hot and bothered.
Therefore, Merik would have to avoid Safiya as much as possible- no matter how easily she startled laughs and smiles from him. And no matter how distracting her bare legs might be.
Monk Evrane was healing Iz and she recognized her because 6 years ago Evrane rescued her on the crossroads.
Emperor Henrick asked the bloodwitch to search for Safi but it’s like he’s already looking for her.
Iseult was dying and the only thing that could save was the firewitch.
Merik and Safiya fight because she wants him to go onshore to save Iz and he refuses. He decided to put her in chains and take her below.
“I hope you burn in hell! Your first mate and your crew- I hope you all burn!”
Merik turned away, pretending not to hear. Not to care. But the trust was, he did hear and he did care.
-Safiya – Merik
Evrane and Safi were bonding and it made me realize how much I’m loving Evrane.
“Iseult is very sick,” she murmured, “but I swear by the Origin Wells that she will not die. I will die before I let that happen.”
See what I mean?
Merik went to see Safi and gave her food and was being really nice to her. The food he gave her was a ration of his food.
“Don’t watch me eat,” she huffed. “I won’t actually kill anyone with the spoon.”
“Thanks Noden.” His lips twitched up. “I was worried for the entire crew.”
-Safiya – Merik
I love their bickering moments.
Merik tells Safi that Kullen has lung problems which was ironic because he’s an airwitch.
Iseult kept on hearing a shadow who’s looking for Safiya and he realized that Iz was traveling with her.
“I’ll find a firewitch healer, Iz, all right? I swear to you I will, and I swear that you wil get better.”
“Oath accepted,” Iseult breathed. Her eyes were too heavy to keep open, so she let them flutter shut. “If you don’t find healer, Saf, and I die, I promise to haunt you for the rest…of your miserable…life.”
Safi’s laugh burst out, over loud, and Iseult’s eyelids briefly popped wide.
-Safiya – Iseult
Their friendship reminds me of parabatais which I really like.
They found a firewitch and Evrane and Safi made a plan to bring Iz to him.
Merik found out that Safi is Henrick’s bethrothed (he’s hurt by it) and that’s why he thinks she’s fleeing so he’s going to hand her over but she’s not running becuse of that.
Iseult is finally healed and she sees this bloodthirsty creature with fangs which is called a seafox. The seafox was going to eat Safiya and Merik shows up and saves her again. Safiya and Iz started to slay the sea foxes together which gave me so much life.
Kullen became weak after the battle and they’re taking care of him. Safi was feeling scared and fearful and Merik announces to her that he knows that she’s a truthwitch.
Merik was tying Safi up for disobeying him and Iseult saw a love bond or an unforgiving hate bond between them but I’m going with the first one.
Merik was feeling guilty about having Safiya tied up and he can’t even think about Saf marrying Henrick. He especially felt guilty when Saf started opening her mouth with her head back to catch raindrops into her mouth because she was thirsty. He’s feeling concerned because of his feelings for her but he just doesn’t know it yet.
Kullen tells Merik that he should get laid because he’s so tense and Merik’s like “Uh no, who I would I sleep with anyway?” And Kullen was like “Safiya duh.” and I’m just like “Yaaaas.” Kullen and I are on the same page.
“Have you already forgotten that it was me they called the great Eviscerator back in Venaza City?” Safi flung a dramatic hand high as she twirled toward Ryber.
Now Iseult didn’t have to fake a grin. “Is that what you thought they said? she called. “It was actually the great vociferator, Safi, because that mouth of yours is so big.”
Safi paused at the companionway- just long enough to bite her thumb in Iseult’s direction.
Iseult bit her thumb right back.
-Safiya – Iseult
Still loving their friendship.
Safi fell on top of Merik accidentally and she was so embarrassed but doesn’t get off him until he tells her to.
Merik was relieved to find he could easily ignore the domna so long as she remained just out of earshot, just out of sight. And so long as she wasn’t on top of him.
Oooo he was thinking about it.
He glanced at Safiya. She met his gaze and grinned wider.
And Merik forgot how to breathe entirely.
-Merik – Safiya
Omg, the sexual tension that’s going on between these two is so unreal.
Merik was looking at Safi’s lips and neck and when Evrane walked in they jumped away from each other even though they weren’t doing anything.
She turned to Merik, who stared at her. “I would like to join,” she said. “But I won’t go if you think it’s a risk to the contract.”
He straightened slightly. As if startled she’d considered the contract. Considered him. “The contract should be fine. Although…” He stepped in close, and with aching slowness, he reached out to slide his fingers around Safi’s left wrist. When she didn’t resist, he lifted her hand, Palm up.
“If you run, Domna,” his voice was a low thrum that shivered into Safi’s chest, “I will hunt you down.”
“Oh?” She arched an eyebrow, pretending Merik wasn’t touching her. That his voice wasn’t making her abdomen gutter and spark. “Is that a promise, Prince?”
He laughed softly, and his fingers slipped behind her wrist. His thumb trailed fire over her palm… Then he dropped her hand, leaving no indication of why he’d picked it up in the first place.
“It’s a promise, Domna Safiya.”
“Safi,” she said, pleased to note her voice was steady -and that Merik was actually smiling now. “You can call me Safi.”
-Safiya – Merik
Ommmmmg just date already.
Iseult had to get undressed in order to get cured from the Well and Safi’s like:
“I’ll strip with you,” Safi offered, grabbing for her shirttails. “If anyone shows up” – the shirt slid over her face, muffled her words – “I’ll dance around and distract them.”
She’s a true friend.
Prince Leopold (Safi’s childhood friend) decides to look for Safi with the bloodwitch and he ends up getting “kidnapped.”
Merik and Safi are riding the same horse and it’s too much for him especially because his arms were around her. They were just asking each other questions.
Leopold tricked the bloodwitch and just went to the Well instead of getting kidnapped. Leopold told him that he wanted to kill him then decided not to and we realized at that moment that Leopold’s apart of the plan of saving Safiya.
“You were snoring.”
“You were drooling,” he retorted- a bit too quickly. He had been known to snore.
Merik slid his free hand behind her head and lowered his own until he blocked all the moonlight from her face. Until all he saw were her glittering eyes.
“Tell me,” he said slowly, “the truth, Domna. What were you doing with your hand in my shirt? Take advantage of me in my sleep?”
“No,” she growled, jutting out her chin. “I was only trying to wake you. To make you stop snoring.”
-Safiya – Merik
Gaaaaah. They’re literally killing me.
Her lips sank into a scowl. “Stop staring like that, Prince.”
“Like you’re going to attack me.”
Merik laughed, a warm, genuine sound. Yet still, his gaze was trapped by Safi. By her throat in particular. It’s curve was silhoutted against the limestone, and he couldn’t recall ever seeing a neck so elegantly shaped. “My apologies,” he said at last. “Attacking you is the farthest thing from my mind.”
She flushed a moonlight pink, but then, as if annoyed with herself, she popped her chin high. “If you are imagining a more… intimate sort of attack, Prince, then I should inform you I’m not that sort of girl.” She looked- and sounded- every inch a Domna.
“I never thought you were.”
-Safiya – Merik
Then he preceded to saying softly everything he would if she was that kind of girl. I was literally drowning in feels.
Merik and Safi started kissing after that and it obviously gave me so much life. It was the most heated first kiss I’ve ever read.
They realized that the bloodwitch is coming and Merik came up with this plan would seperate them which makes her nervous that she’ll never see him again and he kissed her again.
“I lied to you, you know. You aren’t the last person I’d choose.”
“No.” She grinned, a mischievous flash of teeth. “You’re the second to last. Maybe third.”
Laughter swelled in Merik’s stomach.
-Safiya – Merik
Love their relationship.
Evrane decided to stay behind to fight the bloodwitch instead of going with the girls just like Merik planned. She thanked them for giving her hope and I was just hoping that it didn’t end awful for her.
The bloodwitch was getting closer and closer to the girls which stressed me out the whole time.
“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.”
We figured out that Evrane trained Aeduan.
Aeduan tells Iseult to go behind him so he can fight the bad guys off which is strange ebcause everytime we’re in his world, he’s such a dick and he just kills everyone & he was really trying to spare her because she spared him.
Kullen died by creating a storm that he wasn’t strong enough to create just to protect Merik and the contract. This death actually really upsetted me because I really enjoyed Kullen’s character.
Also, I think Evrane was also killed but I’m really not sure by the way it was worded. Hopefully she survived though.
Safi met Empress of Marstok and she gives herself to her to tell from the truth and lies in the politics world of Marstock as long as the Empress traded with Nubrevna so she was thinking about Merik.
Aeduan saved Evrane bringing her back to life which made me thankful because I really liked her.
Safiya wrote on the contract before leaving to her uncle about allowing trade with Nubrevna which made Merik happy but sad at the same time when he was reading it. I’m hoping in the next book they reunite somehow.
I’m really excited to move along in this series.