fantasy · review · young adult

Truthwitch – Susan Dennard

 

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Blurb: “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 a 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 binds that touch her own heart. Her unlikely friendship with Safi has taken her from life as an outcast into one of reckless adventure, where she is a cool, wary balance to Safi’s hotheadd 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.”

** I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review**

I first started hearing about this book about two months ago when it became surfacing in the booktube world. A witchy novel edorsed by the wonderous Sarah J Maas on the cover? I was already sold. However, I had resigned myself to having to wait until the release date (5th January 2016) to get my hands on it. Thankfully, the lovely people at Tor Teen & Pan Macmillan sent me a copy to review.

The story follows Safi who is a Truthwitch meaning she can tell whether someone is telling the truth or not. A Truthwitch is very rare and as you would expect, there’s a lot of people out there who would like to get their hands on her so their empires can triumph. Safi has formed an unlikely friendship with Iseult who is a Threadwitch, meaning she can see the threads that make up a person and can see their emotions in the way of coloured threads. The duo just want to be free to live their own lives away from the things and people that confine them. But a war is coming to the witchlands.

It’s no secret that I adore anything with witches and magic in. This book took things a step further, giving witches specific powers. There’s a whole host of different kinds of witches from the protagonists I’ve stated above, to airwitches who can dominate heat, storms, even control the air in someone’s lungs, to wordwitches who excel in the trade of rumours and secrets.

Safi and Iseult disguse themselves as peasents and try to rob a Guildmaster’s carriage, hoping it will give them the money to escape. Their plan becomes foiled and they almost get caught… by a Bloodwitch.

A Bloodwitch can smell the very witchery running through the veins of a witch and can track them for continents by the smell of their blood. So, while Safi and Iseult manage to escape, a cat and mouse chase begins. It probably doesn’t help matters that the Bloodwitch is also a Carawen Monk: traied to kill since childhood.

This is a very complex novel (as you would expect from fantasy). The world building is perfect, the characters are fleshed out and believable, the unique aspect to the witch powers worked really really well.

And the ending. Holy moly, the ending.
This book isn’t even out until January 5th 2016 and I already need the next book.

If you love fantasy, witches, medieval settings, you do NOT want to miss out on this one!
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Dystopian · review · young adult

Created – Peiri Ann

Blurb: “After a devastating world war, our government has manufactured genetically altered humans. These “creations” are designed to manage and enforce law and order among the citizens. Creations don’t know fear or pain. Their sole function is to fight the enemy and live to battle again. Orphans Kylie and her twin brother, Lukahn were born for this purpose. Dedicating their lives to sharpening their deadly skills and forfeiting the chance of love and freedom. They ready themselves for Separation, the deadly rite of passage where the oldest teens are drafted into the final preparation for war. Humans and creations alike have become lethal foes when a plague of the living dead becomes the number one hazard. Strategies change as the twins discover they may not be the saviours of humankind after all. They may be the real enemy of the people.”

*I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I’m not really a big sci-fi fan. I’m just going to put that out there. But every so often a book catches my attention and draws me in. Created is one of them. Just look at the utterly breathtaking cover!

The story follows twin orphans Kylie and Luke (narrated by Kylie) who live in a world made up of “normals” (humans as we know them) and creations. Kylie and Luke are the latter. They train hard, knowing they need to be prepared for a war and eventually they are taken by force in the night to a training camp: “our government holds a training camp every year for us. It’s practically three months of death. They try to kill us and we fight to stay alive.” The duo find themselves among other creations and are placed into groups. Naturally, Kylie and Luke are made leaders of different groups. As the story develops, Luke and Kylie are told in secret what it is they’re going to be fighting.

It’s really hard to review this book without giving away all the twists and turns that make it interesting. Overall, I came out of this reading experience feeling very mixed.

I like reading books about siblings that have a strong bond and there’s an emphasis on that: “You were each born in twos. You each will die in twos. This is not every man for himself. You live for your twin and them for you.” It made a nice change from some sibling relationships I’ve read before. It was refreshing seeing them work together as a team. However, this relationship they had became quite unhealthy and kind of creepy the further you delved into their characters.

The training sequences felt very similar to the way Dauntless train in Divergent so nothing felt particularly exciting or new. I could deal with this though, because there isn’t any really way you can make hands-on fighting original.

What really lost all hope in this book for me was the love triangle. You read that right. Love.Triangle. I hate them with a passion. They just made the arc of the story really tedious and I’m surprised I actually finished reading this book after this development occurred. I understand that the prospect of having affections for another being was new to Kylie but I eye-rolled so many times. I don’t mind if they add something to the story but it felt like this plot device was used to fill up the pages to when the real action happened.

When I finished the book I found a chapter entitled “the beginning” which basically explains how everything came to be. This would have been more useful to have at the start of the book to provide some context into what actually makes the creations different to normals before going into the story.

I just feel a bit let down by this one.

Let me know your thoughts!
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