For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy… 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.
*Busts out the reviewing notebook*
This book stomped on my heart. Repeatedly.
From the very beginning, I liked Cecile. Or rather, what she appeared to be. Over the course of time, I grew to love different aspects of her. When you first meet her, all she really wants is to be a success. Even through the simplest gestures though, Danielle Jenson does a remarkable job of showing off her heroine’s beautiful traits of loyalty, determination, courage, humbleness, kindness and her bittersweet voice as a character.
Sabine and I had been best friends our whole lives, and the thought of not seeing her every day formed a cold pit in my stomach.
"I'll ride home, give Gran the eggs, and then hitch up the buggy and come back for you," I decided. "Go put on your blue dress. I'll be back in no time at all."
Time and time again, I found myself raving in my notes about the type of person Cecile is. Her strength and relatable voice as a person are two of her best characteristics and her extreme loyalty can be seen in the way she stays true to Chris, Jerome and Tristan throughout the course of the story. She’s impulsive, but that’s not always a bad thing–which is shown in the way she dealt with Leisa, a servant troll. Even though Cecile makes mistakes sometimes, I admired those traits to her as well. One of the parts I love the most in STOLEN SONGBIRD is when Cecile saves Tips from bleeding to death.
The hero to STOLEN SONGBIRD, Tristan, was great as well. There’s a lot to be said about the way he led the rebels and his tactics he used to get what he wanted. Tristan is an awesome character who is complex and relatable, sweet and clever. Tristan plays the part of who he wants to look like very well and I loved the way Jensen formatted his revelations to Cecile.
"That was only part of it." I barely heard him speak his voice was so quiet. "I was afraid... I am afraid of loving you, knowing that someday you will go and leave me here."
I do have to say that a lot of the supporting characters were disappointing for me in the beginning. They blurred together and I couldn’t keep track of who was who very well. However, I did admire the way that certain characters were brought back again and again over the course of time so I could eventually find out who they were. I also thought that the moves Jensen made to bring Cecile to Chris and Jerome, people she knew in the village who went missing, were clever twists to the plot. I thought bringing back the characters was extremely important due to how STOLEN SONGBIRD is based around Tristan and the government, especially in a place as small and closed-in as Trollus. The main characters were beautifully done, and I especially loved Marc, the queen and Anais as the secondary characters.
The “bad guys” to STOLEN SONGBIRD were another great aspect of the characters.
Luc, the person who initially kidnaps Cecile in his quest for her weight in gold, along with the king, Tristan’s father, and Angouleme, a troll vying for control over Trollus, were all evil from the beginning, and I appreciated the way Jensen made that apparent. I liked how Luc got his justice but, through him, was able to show Cecile’s mercy. I also admired the way Jensen used the king as Tristan’s father to show what type of person Anais–the troll who loves Tristan and Angouleme’s daughter–was and, in turn, Tristan’s feelings towards his father.
There were lots of great descriptions of Trollus and of the political tension going around. Tristan and Cecile’s relationship almost felt like that of Kate and Henry in THE GODDESS TEST, but Jensen refined it’s edges and portrayed every aspect of their relationship through the political aspects of it extremely well. The world felt real and well-developed, the action and adventure elements exciting and the pacing just a little slow in the beginning, just better as it went on.
There was a great plot to STOLEN SONGBIRD. It truly revolved around the characters, and I haven’t gotten that vibe in a while. I can’t say I didn’t see the ending coming, not exactly in that way, but I expected certain aspects to it. That didn’t bother me too much though. I’ll most definitely be keeping my eye out for more in the Malediction series. 4.5 stars.
Quotes were taken from an uncorrected proof, subject to change in the final edition.
pg count for the paperback: 436
Series: The Malediction Trilogy