Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: January 5th 2016
2 OUT OF 5 STARS
“If you wanted to, Safiya, you could bend and shape the world.”
Safiya and Iseult always stick together, but when a heist goes all wrong they end up with a Bloodwitch on their trail. To make matters worse Safiya is a pawn in her Uncle’s plans while Iseult has to deal with being a failure at her witchery. Safiya being a Truthwitch means that everyone is out to get her. The girls struggle to stick together as the tides of war try to tear them apart.
Dennard has created an incredibly complex world for her story, but it’s perhaps a little too confusing. A listing off all the different witch specializations is never provided and readers are just tossed into a complicated political situation in a world with confusing rules. Over-explaining is a huge issue in fantasy, but under-explaining can be just as deadly to a novel. The world exists, but the world-building is lackluster. Dennard tosses around names like readers should already know them and it’s hard to get involved in a novel when you’re struggling to understand what anything means.
The core of the story is a strong friendship between Iseult and Safiya, and I wish we had seen more of it. The book keeps a constant moving pace (despite not much happening) and their development suffers for it. I know more about Iseult’s relationship with her mother and tribe than about her and Safiya.
The romance was entirely unnecessary and took up pages that could have been used to better explain the world or better develop the characters. A book with a plot so bland (here it is: protagonists run away for 500 pages) didn’t need romance taking up extra space and certainly not one as strange and forced as the one between Safi and Merik.
There’s a lot of action in this book, intense fight scenes and big battles but nothing really happens. A lot of the battles are essentially pointless and serve no purpose to the plot or characters. There are countless of these scenes and while they may be exciting to some it felt like a waste of page for me.
There is so much potential in Dennard’s world that it hurts. There are so many variations of witches (most of which we know nothing about) and a rich background and culture that is never explored. There should have been a heavier focus on world building instead of fights and flights of fancy. We didn’t need Merik’s doe-eyes. We didn’t need a battle with seafoxes.
Such a beautiful world, but we’re too busy in the boring bits to REALLY explore it.