It has been over a month since I’ve begun the journey – and dived head first into the blogging world extravaganza – and I have come to realize: I haven’t posted a book review yet.
You’d think that with a title like “Late Night Reading With“, you’d expect to get some bookish on. And you’re right. And what better opening to start with than with the book that started it all: The Witchlander Series by Susan Dennard.
Aka, the O Glorious All Around Wonderful and Amazing Human Being Known As Empress Sooz and her kick-butt series that begins with ‘Truthwitch’.
On a May, not so long ago, once upon a time, a bookworm was scrolling through her newly minted Twitter feed and saw a post about a bookish recruitment that entailed amazing fun, an amazing journey, and an amazing story.
So what did this bookworm do?
Well, she tightened her spine and dove in.
I’m not going to lie, I felt wholly inadequate – fresh off the press with an account, a bookworm with a bewildered gaze and with no background of books except to be known to devour giant mountains of them (and loving them from the moon and back). And I thought, “Okay, this is a long shot. There are better, and much more renowned, bookworms than me, who could probably do this 1,000 times better.” But then again I answered to myself:
“What is there to lose?”
Three years later, with a new family (*waves excitedly to my Fireclan Firewitches* Hi, Mums!), a truck load of books later, and a handful of gems of experience under my wing, I am safe and proud to say:
I am a 100% certified bookworm.
What does this mean, you say? Well, it means I embrace it in all its aspects. All the blemishes of uncertainty, doubt, and constant but-what-if-I’m-not-enough circus – I take it all and love it.
There will be doubts, there will be days of counting the likes, the retweets, the followers, and the pressures of “good enough”.
And, on those days, I take a stop and pause, and look back at my beginning days. The baby bookworm fetus me, bewildered with no clue, clutching my heart that positively buzzed with excitement – for books. Hope. I had hope.
So no matter how big, small, extravagant, or simple the book account or how big the hoopla circus can get in this bookish community – we’re all here for a simple thing: books.
Yes – you know those things that are sometimes square with a spine, and paper inside that shines with a million worlds, a million lives – a million and one possibilities jammed in a tiny cover with a riot of colors, and feelings.
So, onward we go, my fellow bookworms, into this fierce and brave world with a million lives living within our minds, and magic burning bright in our hearts.
Here, I bring you, fellow bookworms and bookdragons alike –
January 16, 2016.
I have completed Truthwitch by Susan Dennard.
Did it live up to the hype? Yes.
Did it leave me feeling giddy? Yes.
Did it, in the end, leave me feeling a book hangover like no other since Deathly Hallows, and an obsession all too cynic? Hell, yes.
Am I scrounging the internet, pacing lost around my house, and confused to function, trying to find ways to fill the Truthwitch gap in my heart? Why, yes, thank you very much.
Action? Love? Tears? Hyperventilating, giddiness, and power? And overall a sense of awe and kickassery? Yes, yes, yes to all of the above.
Let me tell you this: seven months back, I put my entire faith, and energy and trust in a book that I knew with a glimpse was going to change the world. In a glimpse, I saw that it was going to represent and uphold everything I hold personally dear: friendship, love, mistakes, fear, loss, pride, honesty, and most of all – humanity. I saw so much soul and so much vision in this book – and what it could hold.
Honestly, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, considering it was the first of its kind that I’ve done but I knew that I wanted it. I wanted to be a part of this. And, God, let me tell you I poured my heart and soul into wanting this and the essay into getting in and when I got in? The notification? I crowed and shrieked so loud and cut off so abruptly, I scared my best friend into dropping the TV remote and looking at me like I had just witnessed (SPOILERS) Dobby dying all over again. (By the way, in reference as to which A: STILL not fully recuperated from that loss, and B: my best friend has not read nor even watched Harry Potter and simply has no interest in it. Her loss, I say, and I totally respect her and every other non-Potterhead out there who agrees, but honestly, I’m just curious on how ya’ll live day to day in a world full of Potterheads? Hmm, I should probably write about that. “How Non-Potterheads Survive in a World of Potterheads”. Catchy and curious, no?)
Almost a full year later, blindly supporting a book, and devoting my energy and days to it and finally having it in my hands?
I am blown away. I mean, I think this is a morsel of what authors feel, no? To have this giant wibble wobble of emotions, and characters, and having these giant ideas and dreams – and to suddenly have them in front of you? Physically, and vividly in your hands? Able to literally hold a dream in your hands? Gods, it felt humbling, staggering, and not going to lie the moment my friend handed me the copy I fell down on the ground and started blubbering – having all the hours clocked in, the retweets, and the work – and to have it done? It was relieving. Absolving. It was worth it. To see it. We may have had ups and downs but it was worth it all in my hands.
And then of course was the regular and must-needed perusal and examination of the book:
- sniffing the pages (GUH-LOW-REE-US)
- stroking the spine (VELVET, MY FRIENDS, LIKE VELVET)
- looking from detail to detail from front to back (GUYS THE BOOK ITSELF IS A GODESS-LIKE DEEP BLUE, AND THE INSIDE A SUPRISING WHITE, TA-DA! WHO KNEW?)
I finally did the do and opened the book to the first page. And let me tell you – the little smoke-y looking thing that encompasses each starting word of a chapter? COOL-EE-O.
The Book Itself
(Side Note: Map. Okay the map is absolutely cool. Like, seriously, I could almost want to just lick the page. Super weird, right? Map-gasm I say. *squints at all fellow bookworms who try to deny on admitting the urge* Onward, the making of the book and spine kind of cuts on the itty-bitty middle section of the map, covering two Witchlands symbols and a bit of other landmarks but no worries! Here’s a link to the full majestic glory of it- unhindered and colored: www.witchlands.com/map)
First thing, first word, I saw when opening the book?
“Everything had gone horribly wrong.”
Ominous, high-action, and quick first punch in only, quite literally, the first page. Quite a killer, I say.
All throughout the book, it quickly immerses you without pause into the world of the Witchlands, and it’s intricacies of magick. The bond between Safiya fon Hasstrel and Iseult det Midenzi is positively the most kickass, deep, realistic, and personally touching script I’ve read in a long while. It’s true and it’s steadfast that anyone with a drop of blood can empathize, yearn, and relish.
The action never pauses or relents and ninety percent of my reactions to the book were a lot of nail chewing, lip biting, and anxiety filled jumpy relentless squirming. Oh, and let’s not forget the eye squinting, yelling-of-all-kinds, and blubbering rants of all range of emotions.
It so did not help (more so, it added) the tension, when I read this entire book alongside to Susan Dennard’s Truthwitch playlist (link here). And holy crow, did that add so, so very much to the dimension and up the stakes in displaying and sketching out the world that is Safi and Iseult’s, the Witchlands. At some points, I could almost so very vividly see the action play out in some scenes and boy did it wrench some more from me.
Oh, and let’s not forget the very unforgettable and very hunkable: Merik Nihar and Aeduan. Prince of Nubrevna and a monk of the Carawen Monestary, respectively, are like two pieces of chocolate: good ol’ milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Both parts taking to different fans of taste but either are irresistible to goodness and deliciousness. Aka they’re both just very damn good. Aka, I want a cup of hot chocolate right now. (See what I did there? 😉
The impacts and plot twists: ho-lee-cow. Holy Cow. Did not see that coming. Or that, and that. Basically, this book holds in some pretty darn good punches of all the like: surprised, shocked, and staggering. Oh, and world whirling like the good old fashioned- “what?!”
With pinnacles, and whirls, this book leaves you with answers barely sated by a hungering knowledge and an armful more of questions and a definite desire of more. Leaving you salivating and pining very much so, for the next installment, next breath-stealing, and mind whirling action adventures of Truthwitch, in its sequel Windwitch coming 2017.
All in all? A journey I wouldn’t dare trade for all the gold, all the coffee, and all the Baeduan’s (Yes, I said it, my lovelies. That’s how much.)
Thank you, Susan Dennard, so very much from the bottom of my coffee-filled, bookworm heart to have let me tag alongside this journey with you and all my fellow Witchlanders. For, without you, I could not only have received this amazing masterpiece that is Truthwitch, but also introducing me to not only the Bookish Community, but to irreplaceable friends that I can proudly announce my Threadfamily. They are my fire, my future, and my pillars. They are the truth to my witch. And I am damn happy to say, thank you New York Time’s Bestseller, Susan Dennard, to have given us this treasure and you deserve all the wonders of the world.
From your loyal subject, Witchlander, Firewitch, and fan –
July 16, 2017
Here’s to more bookish shenanigans, and sorry for the long rant. It was long due and much needed. I promise they’ll be more concise for the next round.
Here’s to Empress Sooz. May she conquer the world and more.