colleen the convivial curmudgeon's Reviews > Truthwitch

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard
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did not like it
bookshelves: group-read, library-read, fantasy, young-adult


I was a little hesitant going into this book. Not because of the hype, which I actually didn't know about until after I'd started reading the book and, in despair, started reading reviews to see if it would get any better...

No. The reason I was hesitant, aside from just not being wowed by the blurb, is that I'd read the 'Something Strange and Deadly' trilogy, and it was one that I liked in the beginning - though I only gave it a 3, so I enjoyed it but it had issues - but then I felt the series progressively declined from there.

But then this was picked as a group read so I decided to give it a whirl.

Well... I really wish I hadn't.

It starts off interestingly enough, I suppose, by dropping you into the action from the get go. I guess it works for a story which is so thoroughly plot driven, moving from one action/sequence to the next. But I didn't find the sequences well written enough to be exciting, nor did I ever connect with any of the characters enough in order to care.

Much is said about the driving friendship between Safiya and Iseult, but they get separated for large sections of the book, either be physical distance or by lack of consciousness. I also didn't get the whole Thread sister thing other than Iseult saved Safiya's life once when they were younger, and this apparently bound them for life.

Similar with Merik and Kullen, who had a similar story of one saving the other's life and becoming Thread brothers, so it almost seems like a life debt sort of thing - but it's not, 'cause mister Bloodwitch talks about having various life debts to at least two people, but they don't end up Thread siblings.

But that's just part and parcel of this story where a lot of info - people and places and politics - is sort of dumped on you, but never thoroughly explained.

And, honestly, one thing I like about some YA stories is I'm not a detailed world-building kinda person, in general. I think the world needs to serve the story, and not the other way around. I can dig stories that give you pieces of the world to tell the story, but not have to belabor every detail. But you still need *some* explanation and not just lots of references to things that don't mean much of anything.

But, anyway, back to the characters.

Safiya was thoroughly annoying. She constantly made bad decisions and didn't listen to people which only got herself and everyone around her in trouble.

Iseult seemed a decent enough sort, but kept being shunted to the sidelines of the story, except for the parts where she gets to be chased - because that's what moves the plot forward in this story.

Merik seemed like he would be cool in the beginning, but his temper issues became annoying.

The 'romance' between Safiya and Merik was groaningly bad, and not in the fun, cheesy way.

The Bloodwitch guy could be developed into an interesting character, but I'm worried about shades of (view spoiler)

The worst thing about the characters is down to writing, I think. There's a lot of telling vs showing. We're told how people are feeling, because Iseult can see their threads, which seems mostly like an aura, except you can weave with them, or something.

We're told Safiya and Iseult are great friends, but aside from sticking together despite Safiya's terrible choices, it doesn't really come across on the page all that well.

Oh, and Safiya's power is stupid, and the fact that everyone is killing each other to get to her power - which she apparently kept secret for years and now literally everyone in the world knows about in a matter of days - when she admits she can be easily tricked, and we see several examples of her truth power leading her astray.

I mean, people can lie directly to her face as long as they believe what she's saying... but at some points she can just think something about someone, and her power can tell her it's true?

There's no consistency. No logic. The powers exist insofar as they serve the plot, and there's no rationality for their limits and uses past that.

But more than any of that, it's just the fact that I was bored. For a story which many people called fast paced and non-stop, I found myself bored and disinterested. I didn't care about any of these people, and didn't particularly care if they lived or died.

By the time the next book comes out, I doubt I'll remember enough to even begin to care to continue the series. Blarg.
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Reading Progress

September 6, 2015 – Shelved
February 26, 2016 – Started Reading
February 29, 2016 –
59.0% "Can't say I particularly care about anyone in this story..."
March 4, 2016 –
76.0% "The romance is groaningly bad. I mean, I usually like the trope... but it's just so awful in this.\n \n Have I mentioned that I probably would've DNFd this by now if I didn't feel a bit more obligated to push through since it's a group book? \n \n Though there's the voice in my head saying, "Why bother? You know you're not going to continue the series..."\n \n Never say never, I guess... Things could change. I guess..."
March 5, 2016 – Finished Reading

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