My Rating: 4/5
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 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. (X)
What made me pick this up was the fact that a female friendship was the center of this book. For some reason, female friendship is rather rare in YA. Often the main female character is always paired off with a male love interest.
The bond between Safi and Iseult is very strong and even their journeys mirror each other. They are separated from each other because of political conflict and separated from their homes and they fight to get back to each other. This show of friendship is very important, because friendship is often devalued in favor of romance. I loved their banter and their brand of humor that was often misunderstood by outsiders. I also loved the fact that Safi and Iseult spent time with an older female, Evrane, who became like a mentor to them. I love that the two of them are the “chosen ones.”
The world building and political intrigue was very interesting, but at times it did feel a like it could have used a little more expanding; I sometimes lost sight of what exactly was the main conflict. I hope that in the next book, the Puppeteer will be explained and what exactly was the random scent Aeduan kept encountering.
Overall, it was a very entertaining read and, for me personally, a refreshing fantasy. I look forward to Windwitch!
“This is easily the worst prayer I have ever heard,” Iseult declared.
“Weasels piss on you, Iz. I’m not done yet.” – pg. 25
“Why,” Safi asked Evrane, “have we never heard that before? We’ve studied Nubrevna, but…our history books always described this land as vibrant and alive.”
“Because,” Evrane said, “those who win wars are those who write history.” – pg. 256-7
“Why do it have to be ‘we’? Why not just me?”
“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.” – pg. 365