📚 Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

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Witchlands #1

Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2016

Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Length: 14h 41m
Published: Listening Library⎮2016

3.25 ★ Audiobook⎮ I could lie to myself and say that it wasn’t so bad. In fact, I tried denying that through most of the book because I really wanted to like it as much as everyone else. I didn’t want to be the only “Negative Nelly” out there harping and complaining. But putting a sugary spin on this wouldn’t be an honest review. The truth is that Truthwitch gave me more grief than enjoyment.

At first, it was hard to put a finger on my issue with it and then I realized that was because I had multiple issues with it. It was like the entire Throne of Glass series combined into one installment and put on steroids. Beginning installments for high fantasy series usually start out slowly, with lots of descriptions, character backgrounds, and world-building. Truthwitch had very little of of any of that. I was shocked at the lack of imagery. In a fantasy world such as this, I want vivid descriptions of everything. In my opinion, Dennard’s descriptive writing could be called “minimalistic”, to say the least.

High fantasy series also normally start out slowly to give the reader/listener time to process this new world and develop opinions about the characters (opinions that will probably change later, but still). Imagine if you accidentally started the Throne of Glass series with Heir of Fire. You were just thrown in with very little help and expected to keep up during all of the action. You may be alright with that scenario, but I’m certainly not. And that’s exactly how listening to Truthwitch was for me. It was very demanding on the reader/listener.

There were several key concepts in story that I was never given ample time to grasp and I still have no clue what they mean, even after finishing the story. That, friends, is not how it should be done. This story was also extremely unbalanced with entirely too much action and too little processing time. In my opinion, Dennard should have spread the action in this book out through at least one or two more installments and filled the rest of this with character development. In an earlier post, I said listening to Truthwitch was like chewing a tough piece of meat and I stand by that analogy.

Obviously, I am in the minority here. But this is a bandwagon I simply cannot jump onto. Susan Dennard had some really great, original ideas with Truthwitch, but I feel they were executed poorly. For example, I love the idea of two badass best friend protagonists who would do anything to protect each other. That was the driving relationship in the story, not the romance. Again, that was a really great idea that wasn’t given proper development and that is so frustrating to me because this could have been really very good. But it’s hard to enjoy swimming when you can barely keep your head above water.

Narration reviewCassandra Campbell was an excellent narrator. I enjoyed her accents and I appreciated the character voice distinction. That made the multiple POVs easier to handle. Her voice had a very nice and mature tone to it. It somehow managed to be soothing and quietly intense simultaneously. ♣︎

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