Saturday, April 5, 2014

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen

The Basics:
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L Jensen
Strange Chemistry
Book One in the Malediction Trilogy
YA, Fantasy
Published April 1, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

Trolls, a witch's curse, half-bloods enslaved by full-bloods, a prince leading rebellion, a kidnapped girl falling for a future Troll king.  COme on! Overtones of Beauty and the Beast, I *had* to read it.  


For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

My thoughts:

I was expecting to like this book, and was so relieved to *love* it. There's layers of plotting and scheming to sink into, loads of secrets to uncover, and so much heartbreak. Heart. Break.  

Cecile is an endearing heroine - she's ballsy, she's determined, she doesn't let her extremely depressing situation crush her spirit. I loved that she didn't give up or trust/expect others to lead her around. She took *action*!

I was also grateful for the few chapters we get from Tristan's perspective. I think they provided some important insight into his view of events. Because of the need for him to treat Cecile in a certain way, I think if we didn't see things from his side occasionally, it would have been easy to dislike him. 

Tristan's father was suitably monstrous - both in size and actions. What the book did well was give some of the trolls a callousness and opportunistic feel.  Certainly they were not without compassion but I appreciated that there was a certain shared quality (most particularly amongst the purists, as it were).  

The story itself was pretty engaging. I felt for the plight of the half-bloods, for Cecile in her impossible situation, for Tristan trying to walk a very narrow line.  

Trollus itself was an evocative location. I have mild claustrophobia and the trip into Trollus, as well as the thought of being trapped there, under the mountain, definitely made me itchy. I could easily image the dismay, frustration and underlying panic experienced by the trolls - but also by Cecile - at the prospect of being trapped there over the long term.  

I have two quibbles:

1. The songbird component - the singing - didn't have as much significance as I expected. It was a point for Tristan and Cecile to bond over, but I was expecting it to be played up a bit more.

2. I wanted the trolls to be a little more troll and a tiny bit less human. Maybe just having those differences that did exist emphasized more frequently would have satisfied me? Most particularly in terms of their physical features. Those members of the ruling class that Cecile encountered did have deformities and other issues but there was a sense that these were due to inbreeding rather than being qualities distinct to trolls. 

Bottom line:

This is a beautiful, heartwrenching story and I highly recommend it. I'll be back for the next book in the series.

4.5 stars
For fans of YA fantasy, oppression tales, magic

1 comment:

  1. I'll put them on my to read list on Goodreads thanks. Nice to connect and follow on