by Dennard, Susan

On a continent ruled by three empires, some, like Safi and Iseult, are born with a distinct magical skill, and now, with the help of Prince Merik, they will need to learn how to wield their magic to preserve the balance of their world.

Susan Dennard has come a long way from small-town Georgia. Working in marine biology, she got to travel the world - six out of seven continents (she'll get to Asia one of these days!) - 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 Witchlands series, which includes the New York Times bestselling Truthwitch and Windwitch. When not writing, she can be found hiking with her dogs, slaying darkspawn on her Xbox, or earning bruises at the dojo.

Visit her on the Web at

Nineteen years into a twenty-year truce, trouble is brewing between the three empires that make up the Witchlands, where threadsisters (best friends) Safi and Iseult are on the run from Safi's duties as a domna (princess) and her value as a truthwitch-an individual who is able to see truth and lies in human speech. Pursued by many, for a variety of purposes, the two girls try to keep each other safe. Dennard's wide-ranging novel is the first in a new fantasy series, The Witchlands, and she skillfully creates the world, the characters, and central conflicts that will power books to follow. There is a sureness to her writing, a seamless understanding of what makes a solid fantasy, and two feisty heroines who are able and willing to save themselves, rather than be saved. Fantasy readers will sink comfortably into this world, and await with pleasure the next installment. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.

Two devoted friends dreaming of independence contend with unfathomable magic and the schemes of empires in this action-packed series opener. Safiya and Iseult are an unlikely pair. Safi, the hotheaded daughter of an impoverished but noble family, is a Truthwitch, born with the rare ability to tell if someone is telling the truth or lying. Quiet Iseult is a Nomatsi Threadwitch, despised for her ethnic identity but gifted with the ability to perceive the emotions of others as colored threads. When the two friends become fugitives from the law, they decide to flee together, not realizing that Safi's witchery has already made them targets in a larger political struggle. Dennard (Strange and Ever After, 2014, etc.) jumps from alternate history with zombies to epic fantasy with this new series. Her worldbuilding is impressively detailed, though neither the vaguely European setting nor the magic system breaks much new ground. The cinematic action scenes keep the storytelling brisk, and the rotating third-person narration introduces not only Safi and Iseult, but also Merik, the prince of an impoverished small nation, and Aeduan, a mercenary. The overall characterization is uneven, but readers captivated by the intense friendships and burgeoning romances will probably be happy to overlook the novel's flaws. Epic adventure and steamy smooches make for a crowd-pleasing formula. (Fantasy. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2015 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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