“…(The book) felt too cerebral, too thought-out, too planned, too composed. There wasn’t enough room for it to be raw, and this dimished the force of the story’s delivery.”
Okay so even though I don’t like the role, I’m going to be that snarky reviewer who didn’t like the book that everyone else thoroughly enjoyed. It’s not that Dennard’s “Truthwitch”, the first of her “Witchlands” series, doesn’t have a compelling story-line and characters and world-building. It does, it meets every requirement for it to be a succesful fantasy. But it just didn’t cut it for me…
Susan Dennard’s writing confuses me. It shouldn’t be difficult to follow, but it is. I find myself getting lost amidst all the action, and my mind starts wandering into other random thoughts, which doesn’t happen with other books (even those whose writing is much more complicated). Besides this, I felt some of the things in the book happened too fast, and others happened too slowly.
The pacing wasn’t slow, it’s just that some of the plot-lines I felt weren’t developed enough. Like when one of the main female characters has to dissappear at the beginning of the book, just because somebody asked her to. Why? And why does she have to go back to the village where everybody hates her? To get almost killed? I didn’t get it. Or the plan to help the other main character flee the country. Why was that again? I also didn’t get it. If somebody would explain it to me I would probably go, oh yes, of course. But the point is I wasn’t wrapped in the story. It all just felt like plot-devices to me, not like an actual breathing tale… and that was dissappointing.
The characters are YA-is, if you know what I mean. Filled with attitude and not much thought or reflection, consumed by their insecurities, and annoyingly impulsive. They had their shining moments, of course, and I even liked some of them sometimes, but still… difficult to relate with. With the passing of years I’m finding it harder and harder to relate to YA, unless it’s really brilliant YA.
Also, I didn’t fully buy the relationship between the two female characters. Their bond and the love they had for each other felt like it had no basis, like it was contrived, even with all of the backstory. There just wasn’t much emotion to sustain it… the book, in reality, was much more about action than it was about feeling, and this includes all characters and plot-lines.
It felt too cerebral, too thought-out, too planned, too composed. There wasn’t enough room for it to be raw, and this dimished the force of the story’s delivery. At least for me.
The love interests were okay, sometimes it worked, other times it felt bland. The only character that compelled me was one of the villains, the one that was hunting a main character to kill her. He’s the one I truly found interesting. The rest of the characters fell flat and somewhat stereotyped.
The book is not terrible. It isn’t! By every standard the book is actually good, and I would understand it if some people love it. Some popular books that people love I don’t understand the passion for, but I do with this one. I’m even thinking about continuing with the series and giving the second book a chance, just to see if my impression of the first book had to do more with my frame of mind at the time I was reading the book, rather than the actual quality of the story itself. I want to give the series a second shot because I love fantasy, it’s my favorite genre, and I’m dissappointed by my reaction to the first book, which I was eager to read and thought I would love.
I suspect the underlying problem–rather than me not being able to connect with the plot or the characters, which probably is just a subjective appreciation of mine– is that there’s no chemistry between the writing and me, and if there’s no chemistry between us from the start, it’s hard for it to work. We shall see.
I hate giving bad reviews and I almost never do. But hey, I wanted to review books, and this comes with the territory when I read a book I don’t like.