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Monday, April 14, 2014

ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

I have two words for this book: pleasantly surprised.
I never expected to like this as much as I did!

Title: Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
Release Date: April 1st 2014
Published by: Strange Chemistry
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


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.

I didn't know what to expect when I started reading this book. I never knew how to set my expectations since this is only the second book I've read with trolls in the story. What kind of story awaits me? And then I meet Cécile, a girl with a golden voice, being trained by a mother who is not only ambitious but with a voice much, much better than Cécile's. She was supposed to become a great singer, leaving behind the small town she has lived in with her family to sing in a grand stage like her mother, but instead Cécile finds herself abducted and brought to the land of the Trolls, a place of magic, a subject of tales and myths.

Cécile was far too soft at the beginning. I didn't like how her family situation was from the start, and I felt like she could have been more assertive throughout the story instead of being a whiny girl. But her fear was warranted, who wouldn't be afraid if she suddenly finds herself in a mystical place and told that she can never go back to her family? The only thing Cécile had going for her was her singing voice, and that was how she came off as a character initially, weak, ignorant, rash. Although I do sympathize with her because she had been treated worse because she's human. What I did like about her, despite her making mistakes and falling into traps countless of times, was her resilience. To be able to survive in a Royal Court filled with strife and the seemingly endless struggle for power and the politics with the trolls? That takes guts, and surprisingly, she was able to make friends, which was one of the things I thought she'd never have considering her somewhat reckless and sometimes thoughtless personality.

Tristan, however, intrigued me at first sight. You'll know there's more to him from the moment he appeared. I like how he keeps up appearances, that pretense to be a coldhearted Crown Prince and still have that much aspiration for his people. It's quite difficult to deal with his complicated feelings especially when it comes to what he wants to happen to his kingdom, and it's what makes me feel so confused most of the time. Does he want to grant the half-bloods freedom? Is that the best thing to do? I like how I get to dive inside his mind and see how flustered he can get with Cécile, that he too can be emotional. And that struggle to fend off his feelings for her? That fear to overcome the reality that he's a troll and she's human? Tristan is many things, and I didn't really like him at the start, but the parts that make him arrogant, uncaring, serious, strong and smart is what made me gradually warm up to him. He's not the type of prince who you'll swoon to immediately, but you gradually see his good points and you'll just find yourself liking him.

What made Stolen Songbird such a good read for me is how gripping the story is, the political intrigue and the inner workings of court woven deeply into the storyline. It's got a good balance connecting Cécile's abduction, her role in the troll world and just what this new world of hers stands to lose and gain. Danielle Jensen talks about freedom, survival, leadership and magic and wrapped it all in a fascinating setting with such ease. There are a lot of things in this novel that makes it interesting, and it's not just about a girl trapped in a world she didn't like, finding herself smack dab in the midst of a political struggle and being an integral part of it, but it's also about a world in a dire situation. It's grim, the cruel realities of survival and what it took for them to live on is presented in a way that makes such unforgiving sense, which adds a lot more in terms of world building.

There's so much to like and dislike in this book. Cécile's mother, Tristan's father, the unfair treatments of half-bloods in contrast to how the "pure bloods" live and that type of cruel, hierarchical society that breeds contempt and discontentment among the people. It's not much clear how Cécile's singing ability is connected to the whole story, but Danielle Jensen has left clues which creates such good theories and explanations throughout the story, that kind of mystery and intrigue you want to be solved as soon as possible! If that wasn't enough to make you want to read this book, then you need to fully see and experience the dynamics between Tristan and Cécile, and that heart wrenching, heartrending end for this first book that will make you want to weep, grieve, worry and yet be hopelessly excited for the sequel!

A brilliant, magical debut! Stolen Songbird is equal parts charming and terrifying, a tale that offers a lot more than it looks. What a superb start for a fantasy trilogy!

Content (plot, story flow, character):
That extra .5 was because of the ending. What is with that kind of ending? Why? Just rip my heart out and feed it to the Sluag, will you? I can't believe I have to wait for such a long time to read the sequel! I feel the same as Cécile when this book ended.

Shining: Worthy of a Goddess' Love!

Book Cover:
That dress! That glass rose! A perfect depiction of Cécile which also makes me a wee bit sad, but it's beautiful!


  1. I'm so glad you loved this book too! That cliffhanger was too cruel, yes? I can't wait for the sequel EEEEEEP!

    1. That was such a cruel way to end the first book! The author said the sequel comes out 2015, but there's no specific date yet, which kinda makes me sad :(


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