by Susan Dennard
Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to tell truth from lies. Her best friend Iseult is a Threadwitch, able to see the threads that tie people to the world around them and reveal their emotions. As a truce between nations is coming to an end, Safiya’s power is no longer a secret, and many nations will do anything to use her to their benefit.
I had a hard time connecting with this book. Safiya and Iseult are threadsisters, which I think just means they’re best friends. Safiya has a knack for making terrible, impulsive decisions and Iseult can’t keep her emotions in check, but at least she’s trying. While their relationship is fundamental to the story, it mostly felt like an excuse for them to derail and abandon whatever plan was going well in favor of agreeing to blindly follow one another in a poorly calculated hunch.
The whole time it felt like there was this huge world and all this history and complicated politics between each of the nations mentioned, but the nations are hardly more than mentioned. None of it is fleshed out and revealed enough to make it matter outside of everyone being racist against Iseult’s people and no one wants to trade with Merik’s ruined lands. Which seemed odd considering the whole plot rides on the fact that the truce between all these nations is about to end and they are all itching to get back to war.
I still haven’t made total sense of what cleaving is, and the insta-love is something I just can’t get on board with, even if it is thinly disguised as hate-becomes-love.
Overall, I think this book had too much going for it. There were a lot of politics that were never really explored, a lot of plans that were never really thought out, and a lot of characters that were all running their own arcs with backstories and relationships and no time for explanation and development. Usually the problem with pacing is that the story is moving too slow, but I really think this one would have benefited from slowing down and delving a little deeper into all the things that were introduced and hinted at but never explained.
This is a highly rated fantasy novel, the first of a highly rated series, but it just didn’t live up to the hype for me.