Good, the cover of the German edition is not at all to compare with the one of the original edition. But I can live with it, as long as I had the story itself to read. And I have to say, the fantasy is quite intriguing. And if you like a very detailed writing style and a bit of a strange language, then this book is something you should definitely read. When I started reading it, I was actually pretty surprised. The story wasn´t at all what I had expected and the style of the author was completely new to me. This is my first Susan Dennard book and after reading it, I can say, yes, I didn´t give it a high rating but nonetheless I am looking forward to the next book.

by Susan Dennard
The Witchlands #1
Publisher Tor Teen on January 5, 2016
Genre Fantasy
Pages 415
Format Hardcover
Source Publisher

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 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 bonds 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 Safiya´s hotheaded impulsiveness. Safiya 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 privateer) 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.
Iseult and Safi have no easy life. One is born into nobility the other comes from a clan that is mostly to himself and not very much liked by the others. But when they have to fight for each other, to stand for each other, then there is nothing they wouldn´t do to help each other out of whatever problem they might be in. So when Prince Merik steps into their lives and needs to fulfill a contract to save his people, Iseult and Safi learn that there is way more going on than they ever expected.

In a very decent and quiet tone brought the author this novel with a lot of political talking and ranking down to paper. An invisible narrator tells the story of Iseult and Safiya during their adventure to live a free life without any strings attached. From the very first page, the plot is very political, war plans, and different people try to prevent the unstoppable. Susan Dennard uses a language that sounds very strange and some words she lets Safiya use are not from this world. She uses words that sound as weird as they are written. 

Yes, I admit that I am not a huge fan of a too detailed writing style which Susan Dennard uses, and I had over some pages my moments to keep reading. But despite that, I kind of enjoyed reading it and could see some of the fantasy right before my inner eye. During the first half, the story is as chewy and complicated as the second is action-filled and confusing. But the logic behind all is thrilling, you see how things start and unfold before the characters see it and this advantage brings you as a reader into a position that is above all. Nonetheless, I believe that this plot has some potential left and hope that I will see it in the second book. At some point, I thought this could be a story right out of what we face today in the world. Strangers are not really welcomed in our society although some say they would be. But when it comes to certain things, then it turns out that not everybody thinks the same way.

Iseult and Safi come from two totally different clans. Iseult knows only too well what it means to be a stranger within her own clan. She can´t do the things a Threadwitch is supposed to do. She can´t create what she needs to create and her own folk hates and fears her for being different from what she is expected to be. 

Safi is the heir to a rich family and supposed to marry the emperor. A plan her uncle has come up with to bring his niece and her ability to the highest bidder. And to prevent a new war, since he and many others believe that a new war would not only destroy what they have reached so far but also bring new things that better stay hidden, to light.

Good, I liked reading it and I had my moments during some scenes, but in my eyes, this plot has way more potential to unfold then it did in this first book. Yes, the fantasy the author shows is great and she has a unique way to write, but during some pages, I thought less would have been more. I can recommend it, but not as much as I would have liked, sorry folks.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition by Penhaligon on August 22, 2016

Susan Dennard
Susan Dennard ©Kim Zahnow

Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. As a marine biologist, she got to travel the world – six out of seven continents, to be exact (she´ll get to you yet, Asia!) – before she settled down as a full-time novelist and writing instructor. She is the author of the Something Strange and Deadly series as well as the New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, and when not writing, she´s usually slaying darkspawn (on her Xbox) or earning bruises at the dojo. She lives in the Midwestern US with her French husband, two spoiled dogs, and two grouchy cats.


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