My reading goals for this year included reading a current publication per month. With the variety of awards that are given out across the year, such as recently announced Costa Book of the Year, and how narrow my reading is in terms of genre and nationalities, I thought it would be a good way to keep up to date with the industry.
This month, I chose to read Truthwitch by Susan Dennard. This first installment of the Witchlands series, published 5th January 2016, is a young adult fantasy fiction. Robin Hobb claims ‘This book will delight you’, so I thought I was on to an absolute winning read – particularly needed after a month of dull experiences. Although currently rated on Goodreads as 4.07/5, I just want to tell you that I thought the novel was absolutely shite. I’ve struggled for the past two weeks to get through it, and finally gave up last night. Following two young witches – a Truthwitch who can tell truth from lies, and a Threadwitch who can see the threads that bind lives together – it was generally a poorly executed plot with way too much going on, essentially giving the whole story an air of emptiness. I struggled to grasp what the hell was going on. Unable to connect with these absolutely random characters, sea foxes and magical wells, I really felt let down. Maybe it’s because Robin Hobb put a stamp on it and my expectations were way too high, or maybe I’m just maturing as a reader. I don’t know. But I do know that I haven’t gained anything other than a ranting inspiration from reading a current piece of fiction.
I’m disappointed. I was hoping reading current literature would lead to some sort of revelation. I chose to read a current publication out of fear I’m missing out on popular talents, or new styles even. But this disappointment doesn’t come down to Truthwitch. It comes down to me.
I’ve taken entirely the wrong approach to current literature. In an attempt to broaden my literary horizon, I actually stayed well within the boundaries of literature I’m used to. White, female authored, fantasy. What I should really be seeking to do is to select authors from different continents, exploring different genres and staying far away from YA fiction. I’m still caught in a web of wanting to get back to Robin Hobb, so I pounced on this novel all because of one quote from her. What I should be doing is reading critiques for different literary types, whether it’s paying attention to The Guardian, other book bloggers or actually keeping awards shortlists in mind.
So, although I’ve kept to my promise, I feel very unfulfilled. Thankfully I have another 11 attempts and I can strongly recommend that you don’t waste your time reading Truthwitch.