Reading Level: Young Adult
Length: 416 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: January 5, 2016
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Witchlands series
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 4/5 stars
“In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch. “
This book started out kind of slow and it was hard to engage with the story at first. I think part of this might have been having all these characters and magic powers thrown at the reader so quickly.
The story is told from a number of POVs; you hear from Safi, Merik, and Iseult as well as a few others. I really enjoyed Safi’s parts and also Merik’s. I had some issue with Iseult; she is supposed to be cold and controlled but for some reason this just made her character kind of dull and hard to engage with.
I did enjoy the focus on the friendship Safi and Iseult had, it was nice that this was a main theme throughout the story.
There is some good world building and a lot of magic in here. I would have liked a better explanation of how the magic actually worked, but we don’t really get that. Hopefully that will be expanded upon in later books.
Overall this was a good start to a new YA fantasy series. It took a while to engage in the story but I ended up really enjoying the magic, the action, and some of the characters. This is a solid start to a new action-packed YA fantasy series and I would recommend.