Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted April 2nd, 2014 in book review / 30 comments


The Malediction Series #1

by Danielle L. Jensen

Publisher: Strange Chemistry (April 1, 2014)
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Format: eARC (436 pages)
Source: Free book from publisher (NetGalley) for honest review
Find It: Goodreads | Amazon Print | Amazon Kindle | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Rating: ★★★☆ (4 stars)

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.

At A Glance
Loved the story and characters but hated the lack of resolution.

The Good
Stolen Songbird was a refreshing change up in the YA fantasy world. I have not read many books with trolls (or are they?) in it, so I had a lot of fun seeing Jensen’s take on the myth. The world Jensen created was absolutely mesmerizing. It was so dark yet beautiful. We spent most of the book underground and I could easily see a whole city dwelling under a mountain with all the vivid imagery.

Cecile is plucked from her good life and thrown into a world of death, curses, and magic. And I have to admit, she is one tough wench! Some of the brave things she does could borderline on stupid, but I still respected her for standing up for the ‘lesser’ class being ‘only human’ herself. It sucked watching her have no real defense against the stronger, magical trolls, but she never let that stand in her way. I never would have guessed how attached she would become to Prince Tristan, but their relationship ended up being a huge part of plot. And I liked it.

Tristan was as total asshat in the beginning. He was arrogant, rude, and dismissive. But we find out that his true self is hidden deep inside, Cecile just had to force it out of him. Tristan has big plans for when he is King, but getting there is a long road. He may not always do the right thing but he always means well. He just never knows who to trust, which is obviously very stressful. I was stressed for him. But sometimes you have to share a burden to really tackle it. That was a hard lesson for him to learn.

The action was good and the characterization was great. I really fell in love with the characters. The world building was the best part though. I loved learning about troll society and myths. I loved how evil the bad people were. The carnage these trolls left behind was astronomical. They thought it was okay to enslave and slaughter half-breeds (half troll, half human) just because. It was horrible and their actions often gave me the chills. I am excited to see where this story goes next.

The Bad
My biggest complaint is that we spent this whole book with the characters trying to figure out how to end the troll curse and how to overthrow the king, and almost no leeway was made with these problems. We spent this whole, loooong book looking for some resolution and we got nada. I did not like that at all.

The Snuggly
Everyone can breath a sigh of relief, there is no insta-love and no love triangle. Well, no real love triangle since Prince Tristan was making that up in his head. Even though Tristan was an ass in the beginning, he really did feel something for Cecile. And Cecile obviously loved Tristan in return. Though they didn’t spend too much time together, the time they did spend getting along was adorable.

No sex but some kissing and heavy petting.

Final Thoughts
The book’s length really should have been taken into consideration when leaving so many things unresolved, well actually, everything unresolved. In this many pages, things should have felt complete or satisfactory in some way. But we didn’t get that. However, the story and the characters made up for it. I really enjoyed myself through the whole book. I will for sure be reading the next book of the series. Very recommended.

“Hmmm,” the King said, making a face. “I’m not sure this is what we bargained for, boy. We expected the girl to be attractive.”
If I hadn’t been so terrified, I would have been insulted.
“This is the one.”
“Are you certain?” the King asked from his perch on the throne. “She rather smells.”

Not all of them were deformed, but they were monsters still, every one of them. And I was to wed one. To be bedded by one. To bear its children. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to be on my way to Trianon to get everything I had ever wanted. Now, not only had I lost everything – my family, my friends, my dreams – I had just been informed that what life I had left would be spent in an endless nightmare.

“Trolls,” I finally said, “are supposed to be ugly.”
My thoughts turned to Marc, who was always kind to me when no one else was. “They aren’t ugly.” I bit my lip, trying to find the right words. “More like beautiful things that have had the misfortune of being broken.”

“They were toying with me, like a pair of cats with a mouse… But I was no mouse.”

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30 Responses to “Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen”

  1. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    I’m glad there were a lot of things you liked about this one, Jennifer! I absolutely adored all the characters, the world building and all that. But I guess the length of the book was pretty long and left a lot of potential space for problems to be resolved. Wonderful review!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

  2. Elisa

    Oh how exciting! I love books like this (when I have the time for fantasy which loves to take its time and worldbuild). I am definitely adding it to the check it out list! 🙂

  3. Braine TS

    I would’ve requested this if it wasn’t YA. Trolls are definitely a great creature to explore, after Amanda H. coralled those creatures, I think it’s safe to use them again.

  4. Jaclyn Canada

    I really like that there’s no insta love or love triangle. I get really annoyed though by nothing being resolved in a book. I would have to have the next one to immediately read if that’s the case. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Jaclyn @ JC’s Book Haven.

  5. Mia Searles

    Hey, Jen. You are the 3rd person in my blog circle that has reviewed this book and given it higher than a 3 star rating. I think I need to give it a shot because any author that can take a creature that historically has been described as ugly, mean little critters and create a whole new mythology earns some brownie points in my book. At first as I was reading your review, I thought you meant that things were left unresolved and there was not going to be a book 2. While it does suck when an author doesn’t at least try to tie up a few loose ends, at least there will be a 2nd book. Maybe you will find some answers and satisfaction in that! Just sucks you have to wait until the next one comes out!

    Mia @ The Muses Circle

    • Jennifer Bielman

      I really hope so. I hope book 2 is more satisfying in that aspect. I really hope you like this book. I am getting nervous because some of my blogger friends did not like it.

  6. Larissa Holt

    I’m so glad that you overall enjoyed this one! (: I hope we do get somewhere with all of these problems thrown at us in the second installment of the series. I think Stolen Songbird was more like the introduction to these problems, characters, setting, etc. and the other books will have more actual plot movement. I hope. Still, I did find Stolen Songbird to be a little too long 😛 I’m glad you enjoyed this magical world of Trollus and the main characters as much as I did. Cecile has got to be one of my favorites characters I’ve read about so far this year.

    Great review! (:

  7. Jessica Haluska

    On the one hand I’m thrilled about how much you liked this. It’s been my One Last Hope for new YA fantasy series from the first batch of the year (b/c all the others I had high hopes for were LAME). On the other hand, I do not like that there’s no resolution. Not even a little bit. But at least I know up front, so thanks for that 😉 Great review, Jennifer!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  8. Lily B

    lol I don’t know if I ever read a book with trolls, so this is exciting. Glad you enjoyed it despite the hick up 😛

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