Katsyxo, who is a good friend IRL, is always posting reviews for some of the latest YA releases on her website (which you should definitely check out~). One of the books she reviewed, was Truthwitch. After I read her review, I immediately tried to locate a copy at the library where I work. To my surprise, it hadn't been bought - or even ordered for that matter. So, I submitted a "Suggest a Title" form and within a few weeks, two copies of Truthwitch were added to the collection and I started my journey into the world of the Witchlands.
Truthwitch follows the story and friendship of Safiya von Hasstrel and Iseult det Midenzi who start out the book running away from guards and facing off against the Bloodwitch Aeduan, who would hunt them throughout the duration of the book. Wait, wait, hold up - Bloodwitch? Yep, you read it right, this book has a unique system of magic in which certain individuals are born with magical powers. The Bloodwitch Aeduan, is able to smell a person's blood and use it to track down anyone. Safiya is a Truthwitch, able to determine if a person is saying the truth or lying. And Iseult is a threadwitch, able to see see the invisible ties that bind individuals, although she is not able to see her own.
If this seems overwhelming already oh boy, are you in for a ride! I loved the world building present in Truthwitch and while I was left with many questions at the end of the first book, I feel like this was intentional. The plot started out fairly simply, but slowly, the pasts of the characters are revealed along with more information about the system of magic of the Witchlands and the mythical Cahr Awen. I liked that we weren't given all of the information straight away and that instead, the world building occurred in a manner that flowed naturally with the rest of the story.
Iseult and Safi are two kickass characters as well. They each have their own strengths but balance each other well and are definitely stronger together. While romance is included, it's secondary to everything else that is occurring (which is a lot!). There are tons of twists and turns in this book, amazing fight scenes, deception, politics, and overall, includes all of the aspects of a classic fantasy novel. I truly enjoyed this book and I am so so happy that I will be able to dive back into the world of Truthwitch once again with the release of its sequel (in early 2017. *sigh* A long wait but it will hopefully be worth it!)
p.s. I didn't mention the Windwitch Merik because that would be giving away too much but look out for him because he will steal your heart ;) And like, the second book is called Windwitch, and I am so HYPE because while Iseult is my favorite character so far, Merik is a close second (though like it's hard to choose, they're all so freaking cool~!)