Truthwitch by Susan Dennard (The Witchlands #1)
Fulfilled 2016 Popsugar Challenge #30: A book with a blue cover
Rating: 2.75 out of 5
You've probably heard of Truthwitch by now since it's been all over the internet in the past couple months. If, however, you're living under a rock, I'll break it down for you: Two girls, each with magical powers. It's a chase plot. That's really all you need to know.
This book nearly pushed me into a reading slump. It took me ages to finish. I spent the entire first half contemplating whether I should label it a DNF and move on. The second half was better, or perhaps I just accepted its flaws and went with it.
What I didn't like...
The author has created a complex world and magical system. However, she clearly has absolutely no clue how to share it with the reader in a clear but interesting way. So she leaves you to attempt to figure it out on your own with just a minimum of context...with varying degrees of success. Without any proper world building to explain why things are the way they are, the story requires too much suspension of disbelief. When I tried to analyze certain things, I just ended up frustrated because I had more questions than answers.
I feel like the writing is just off somehow. The pages didn't turn quickly. Character motivation becomes hazy when the author decides it's time for an action scene. And certain parts are SO cheesy and/or ridiculous! Yet they are presented in all earnestness!
For example, some of the fight scenes (including the one at the very beginning) are just absurd. They are written as though these girls are characters from The Matrix, twisting and flipping through the air. What works on a movie screen, however, just falls flat on the written page.
And don't even get me started on the romance that occurs later in the book...which could have been a really cool flirtation to watch develop since I think the characters are well suited to each other. Instead it was silly, cliched, and rushed. Falling on top of each other? Grow up.
What I did like...
Believe it or not, there are actually some things I liked about this book. I liked the characters and found them to be significantly better developed than the world is, particularly Iseult and particularly in the second half of the book.
I liked that the book features a strong female friendship. I think it's cool how the author handles the concept of family. None of the four main characters has anything close to a "normal" family. Safi and Iseult have kind of made their own.
I did not find the book predictable aside from the budding romance.
Overall, I can't say that this book lived up to the hype. I am curious to know what will happen to these characters, but ultimately I just can't stomach any more of the writing and unanswered questions, so I will not continue to read further books in this series.