***Warning: This review contains spoilers. If you wish to not know what goes on throughout this book, read the synopsis and don’t read any other part of this review.***
“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 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 Safi’s hotheaded 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.”
Safiya: she is a Truthwitch, the first one to be seen in over a century. She can detect truth from lie. She is pretty reckless. She can think on her feet, but she can’t strategize
Iseult: She is a Threadwitch, so she can see the bonds between people. She can straetgize, but cannot think on her feet at all.
Merik: He is a Windwitch. He is the prince of Nubrevna and he is the Admiral of his father’s ship. I wasn’t sure if I would like him at first, but ultimately I fell in love with his character. And I ship him and Safiya. (What would their ship name be, I wonder?)
Aeduan: he is a bloodwitch who is hunting Safiya because she is a Truthwitch. He does creep me out and I am confused on his age. I can’t decide if he’s Iseult’s age or older. I think he is bad, but he also has some good in him.
So the story starts off with Safiya (a Truthwitch; first one in a couple of centuries) and Iseult (a Threadwitch), Threadsisters, running from this guy because they cheated him and he had a Bloodwitch with him, so he was tracking them. They obviously elude the man, his soldiers, and the Bloodwitch. And now the entire city was looking for them. So they go back to their tutor’s shop, get in there, get what they need, and leave. They start traveling when they come upon this man who was cleaving, which I am pretty sure means dying, and his witchery was going everywhere, so they set off to help. (his blood was also acid) This Windwitch named Merik comes to help them, they get in a little argument and then Iseult is pulled aside by one of her tutors, told to leave without Safiya and he would reunite them soon.
So she goes and Safiya is forced by the other tutor (I am pretty sure it was Matthew; the other I think was Habim) to go and she is taken to her uncle’s estate (he’s an old drunk) and he forces her to go to this galla/meeting of sorts, since she is a domna and then she would be free. So she goes and it turns out she is engaged to Emperor Henrik who wants to use her Truthwitchery to his advantage. She dances with the airwitch from before (turns out he’s the prince of Nubrevna) and she is “kidnapped”. She is forced to go in a carriage to this location of sorts and it is all very confusing right here.
So long story short: she jumps out, the bloodwitch is tracking her, so she steals a horse and rides off. Now when Iseult left, she was meant to go to this hotel, but they saw that she was Dalmotti so she is forced to run from this mob of people and the bloodwitch follows her. So she loses him when she goes to her old home, a tribe of Dalmotti, and she sees her mom and this priest guy is running it, tries to get her killed, managing to get a poison arrows lodged in her before she escapes on a horse with the threadstones given to her by her mom and her apprentice.
So she takes off and is literally meeting with Safiya who is being chased by the Bloodwitch and a bunch of monks. So they head off to the lighthouse and fight there. They somehow get the monks to back off (I am a bit fuzzy on the details) and they fight the bloodwitch alone until this ship shows up with Merik as its captain and he helps them escape the bloodwitch.
Iseult has the opportunity to kill him, but doesn’t, so now he has to sometime save her life in return. Now Merik did not do this out of the goodness of his heart. He’s the Admiral, and traded with Safi’s uncle. Now the contract was made with a wordwitch and in order for it to be valid and for the signatures not to disappear from the paper, Safi can’t shed any blood and he needs to get her to Lejna.
Iseult is deathly ill from the poison and the monk Evrane (Merik’s aunt) is trying to heal her, but ultimately they need a firewitch healer. Vivia, Merik’s bitchy sister, steals this war naval ship and they get in this battle with the sea foxes and manage to get one of the firewitches to heal the dying Iseult. They end up winning against the sea foxes and they get to this hidden alcove and it’s all dead. The whole land is dead. They meet this guy who brings them with him and the land is alive in that part. That is also where the Origin Well is. And Iseult needs to be completely healed, so Evrane and Safiya bring her to the well and have both Safi and Iseult touch the center and heal Iseult. There is this earth quake and it turns out that they awakened the well.
So they leave and they go by horseback. Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch is traveling with Prince Leopold (who turns out to be on the good side) and a bunch of the navy. They come across the alcove and Prince Leopold goes “missing”, therefore distracting the bloodwitch for an entire day. Then the bloodwitch knocks him unconscious when he discovers this.
So they stop and later Safiya and Merik have a good make out session and then Kullen and Merik’s ship comes and Merik gets on there and the girls run on horseback. They get to the city and are attacked by Marstok’s. So they split up and Iseult wears Iseult’s clothes to confuse them. And then we go back to the ship and Kullen starts a storm to slow down the Marstok’s.
In order to slow him down, Evrane fights the bloodwitch (Aedwan), but he ultimately wins (though doesn’t come close to killing her) and runs to find the truthwitch. Merik is on his ship and needs to slow down the Marstoks, so Kullen (with Merik protesting because Kullen is DYING) makes a storm.
The bloodwitch pays his life debt to Iseult by protecting her when everyone starts cleaving because of the puppeteer (another thing I am very confused on). He hides her in a cupboard, but she leaves when she sees the threads of Monk Evrane. She is killed and Iseult runs. The Bloodwitch sees Evrane, his tutor, there and he rushes her to the Origin Well to be healed.
Merik decides to go after Kullen (I forgot to mention that they are Threadbrothers) and sees him in the eye of the storm. He is cleaving and he does die. Merik is thrust somewhere and knocked out by the storm.
Meanwhile, Safiya is fighting the Empress of the Marstoks and she is eventually captured. Safiya says she will only tell her whether someone is saying the truth or lying if she agrees to trade with Merik. She does and Safiya is taken away to be her prisoner and personal Truthwitch. She is taken care of when she is taken. Iseult finds Merik (underneath a building, crushing him) and takes him to his ship where he is taken care of. Iseult left and Merik has both trade with Safiya’s uncle (after she made him remove the “no blood shed” rule) and the Marstoks. The book ends with Safiya reveling in the future that awaited her in Marstok. And then it is over.
I think that in the next book we are going to be preparing and/or heading to war. Safiya is going to be right in the middle of it, and someone (maybe Iseult and/or Merik) are going to try to get her away from the Marstoks. There is a lot that could happen, but I guess we will see next year.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved how the main relationship is the friendship between Safiya and Iseult, which is something you don’t typically see in YA, and it was very refreshing. I love the world, though it did really confuse me at times just because there are so many different types of witches. I feel like I need a guide book or something to keep track of them all. I loved all of the characters (some I really love and some I’d really love to punch), and I just think everyone was developed really well.
Love You All to Luna and Back,