If you don’t know what or have heard of Truthwitch you probably have been living under a rock, or at least been away from Twitter and the book blogging community for a while. Nevertheless, I can say that this book has gotten nothing but praise. There is even a highly competitive street team consisting of various people from the book blogging community that is responsible for promoting the book. So when I finally got my hands on it I gave a little prayer and thought “please god, let me like this book. Don’t let my extremely high tastes make me a pariah of the book blogging community right off the bat!” Usually I do not read books that are hyped because it puts high expectations of the books greatness off the bat and as you have probably read I already have high standards.
With that being said it took a while for me to get into this book. The first big hurdle that I had to jump over was the fact that I was so confused in the beginning. I spent the first 50 pages wondering what the magic system meant and the various witches and which was which and what they meant. I understand that to do this would probably require a good space and info dumping but maybe a chart of some sort of chart for reference could elevate some of the issues with this. After I started to understand the magic system I actually started to enjoy the plot of the story. It was an interesting concept of a magic system and without the confusion in the beginning could have been a fantastic and epic concept.
Now I hope that I do not get things thrown at me for this but unfortunately that was one of the few things about the story that I liked. My biggest disappointment was from one of the biggest praises of the story; the characters and their development. In my opinion this story read like a sequel to a story that was never written both with the magic system explanation and the characters, especially when it came to the main characters Safi and Iseult. I loved the idea of having two kick ass female main characters and it was one off the things that made me gravitate towards reading this book despite the hype. But I felt as I was reading that I would have loved to know more about how they became friends and or some of their backstory. Some of that was explained but in pieces throughout the book like it had already been explained to us once before and the author was just rehashing it to remind us. This leads me to one of the other main characters Marik. Let me preface this with I loved Marik’s character when he was introduced. I am a total sucker for princes setting out to save their people from total annulation from either famine or war. What I did not like was again his story seemed, well, like I was missing SOMETHING to give me that extra something that would make me REALLY love his character. That part was….his whole backstory. I will reiterate again that I feel like this book reads like a sequel and that there is a ton of “telling instead of showing” because of it. If we would have met him in his land and seen the struggle his people were going through instead of being “told” about it from a faraway I might have been less disconnected to it. As to Mariks actual character development I was almost swallowed by the inconsistencies stemming from his magic.
“Unlike Merik, Kullen’s elemental magic wasn’t exclusive air currents-he was a full Airwitch, able to control a man’s lungs, able to dominate the heat and storms, and one, he even stopped a full blown hurricane, Witches like Marik where common enough with varying degrees of mastery over wind. As far as Merik knew, Kullen was the only living person with complete control over wind.”
“…Yet Marik‘s tantrums hadn’t been a sign of power at all. Merik was barely deemed strong enough for a Witchmark….”
But when he is explaining how he and Kullen became friends or thread brothers.
“Kellen had his first big breathing attack when he was eight, and I used my winds to revive him. Rather straightforward.”
This inconstancy really bothered me when I first read it. Normally I can work past most inconsistencies and move on and still enjoy the characters. The inconsistencies that involve character development and their backstories are ones that I cannot move past. In a world and plot that hinges on the concept of a world of magic I feel that the amount/lack of magic a person, especially a main character, has is vital to the development of the character and the reader’s connection to said character. Regrettably, this inconsistency severed any real connection I had with him which is extremely sad because I loved his character up until this point. How can someone that barely has enough magic to get a Witchmark have the power to revive someone that might have been dying/about to die/or even remotely incapacitated? Another issue I had, particularly with the last scene I mentioned, was that again this story read like a sequel. One sentence was the only thing that was offered to explain one of the most important relationships that one of the main character had. I understand at this point in the book there was a lot of mistrust going on between the characters talking, but this isn’t the only time that we only get just bare minimum mention of relationships that are EXTREMELY important.
All in all, I liked this book but the inconsistencies and the amount of “telling instead of showing” when it came to the backstories and the magic system kept me from really enjoying this book. Like I said, a lot of my issues stem from the fact that none of the backstory was flushed out for any of the characters and there was no glossary and so the understanding of the magic system was built on just guessing and figuring things out on your own. Action was the main idea behind this book and I felt character development and the characters story was put on the back burner. Yes, some backstory was explained in the story, but I feel that if we had seen and felt the growth of the two main female’s friendship it would have made me so much more invested in and loving this story.