Genre: Fantasy Age Range: YA Star Rating: 3.5 stars Series: yes - first book of trilogy
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…
But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for…
Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.
STOLEN SONGBIRD has sat on my shelves for probably 18 months now, As much as I love Danielle L. Jensen’s ongoing series, I was rather hesitant to pick this book up, for a number of reasons.
The first is that the cover, frankly, inspires no confidence. It hasn’t aged well, looking for all the world like a pretty typical early 2010s YA fantasy full of forbidden love. And yes, this book does feel like a Beauty and the Beast retelling (one of my least favourite properties to be retold), with a girl married to a monster and inevitably discovering he’s not as horrible as he appears and falling in love. In that sense, it is a very typical YA fantasy of its time, and the relationship is nothing if not predictable. As someone who is not a big fan of romance heavy stories, the premise was another reason I took a while to pick it up.
However, I wanted to give this series a try because I do love the current series. Which was another thing to be wary about. I often find that, if I fall in love with an author’s current work then go back and explore their backlist, I’m greatly disappointed – because their backlist was written earlier and so they were a less skilled writer then.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen this time. The book felt confidently written, enough that, combined with the good pacing, I was intrigued enough to flip through the pages very fast, despite not being the most engaged with the plot. It’s one of those books that I might have enjoyed more when I was younger. It’s a good book, just not entirely for me.
The ending felt a little lacklustre, like it hadn’t fulfilled the promise of the premise – nor had it subverted it either. Tristian and Cecile are in love, but the curse and rebellion remain pretty much in the same state as the start of the book – potentially the rebellion was worse off, after the very rash move of Tristian’s that made the ending feel more like the midpoint of a book than the end. It felt like only their romance had progressed, and along the lines I’d expected from the start. I know it’s a series, but it just wasn’t that satisfying, so I’m hoping there will be more conclusion and movement in the next book.
Read my reviews of other books by Danielle L. Jensen:
The Malediction Trilogy (this series):
- THE BROKEN ONES (#0)
- HIDDEN HUNTRESS (#2)
- WARRIOR WITCH (#3)
- TARNISHED EMPIRE (#0)
- DARK SHORES (#1)
- DARK SKIES (#2)
- GILDED SERPENT (#3)
The Bridge Kingdom:
- THE BRIDGE KINGDOM (#1)
- THE TRAITOR QUEEN (#2)
- THE INADEQUATE HEIR (#3)