Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (Malediction Trilogy, #1)
Published April 1, 2014 by Angry Robot, 469 pp.
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…
The only thing that can heal a broken heart is another love, I remember reading somewhere today, which is why I dove right into A Court of Thorns and Roses right after finishing this. Anything, really, to get my mind off what happened in Stolen Songbird.
I can’t even call Tristan a noble idiot because I really do see the logic of his actions – I just wish he didn’t have to go down that road. Though I really do love that this book put my emotions through the wringer, and that along the way it was creating a unique, engrossing world.
Stolen Songbird is about Cecile, and her (mis)adventures once she gets kidnapped and sold into marriage to a troll. What was once simply myth is now a reality for Cecile, and in addition to navigating her new life as a troll princess in a court full of intrigue, she’ll also have to figure out a way to break the curse that has confined the trolls under the pile of rubble they’re living in now. But once she finds out what the trolls are capable of wreaking on the world, will she still try to help, or given the chance, would she go above ground again?
I feel like it warrants repeating: I love the whirlwind of emotions this book was, and everything moved quite briskly – I didn’t feel like it was almost 500 pages. Trollus is a unique setting, and coupled with characters that each have their own personality, I think the whole book just comes to life. Also, I probably like this book as much as I do because the romance gives me life. Admittedly I have some qualms about how exactly they came to have feelings for one another, but damn do those get swept away once Tristan and Cecile are together.
I think that the book lays down solid groundwork for the trilogy, and I appreciate the detail that goes into describing how everything looks and works: how Trollus looks, how their court politics work, and who the key players are – just that you don’t quite know just yet whose side the players are on. Basically, I think Tristan’s and Cecile’s schemes could go belly up at any moment and at this point, the rebellion could go either way.
I loved the plot – it’s like Beauty and the Beast, but not quite; it has elements of the Hades and Persephone myth as well. But really, when I was reading about the half-bloods and how there’s a brewing uprising, I thought, YAS I love my socio-political theories/themes in action in my YA! Why those that work the hardest reap the least benefits from the work they produce! But I digress – I really do like how Danielle Jensen presented the problem of the half-bloods in a clear, stark way, because you can understand why Tristan would stick his neck out for them. And why he is equal parts yearning for the above world, as well as dead set on keeping the trolls buried under rock. They are simply too powerful to be let loose.
I really do like the characters here, and I’m intrigued by some of them – particularly Lessa, because I’m not quite sure where she stands yet; and Thibault, because we haven’t seen what he can really do. Cecile is as plucky a heroine as any, if a bit impulsive, and Tristan is sarcastic, and at first, a bit mean – I do think he redeems himself towards the end though.
The romance is definitely one of my favorite parts of this book – Tristan and Cecile have a push/pull relationship, understandably so, and it really is more push than pull most of the time in this book, but when the pull comes…
GIVE ME LIFE, YOU TWO. Although like I said earlier, I don’t exactly know how this came about since they hardly spent any time together at first. I honestly expected Marc to maybe carry a torch for Cecile, since they spent more time together than she did with Tristan. But when Tristan says things like,
“From the beginning I wanted you. But that first night – you looked at me like I was a monster. You were terrified that I was going to make you…” He broke off, his face tightening.
“And later.” He sighed. “Being around you was the sweetest torture. I wanted to touch you, hold you, kiss you. I wanted all of you.” His shoulders slumped. “But I was afraid of what would happen if I lgave in to my desire. If I let myself love you.”
It’s easy to forget that these two don’t really know each other. Ugh, self, why are you such a sucker for cheesy lines??
The last hundred pages of this move so fast, and so much happens – and it is great. This is where you can see the second book being set up, but the action is heart-pounding, and the feelings it all gives me are why I like this book so much.
All in all, I think Stolen Songbird is a strong first book to this trilogy – even if that ending still has me in somewhat of a snit – because it introduces its characters well and what roles they could play, it paints Trollus in great detail, and already has me invested in its characters somehow achieving their happily ever after.
4 stars! Overall a great first book to the Malediction Trilogy – had to dock one star because while I like my romance, I like them to have a bit of basis as well.
Love the plot! I like that I can see sociopolitical theory/themes in action in this novel, and that Danielle Jensen presented the half-bloods’ problem in a way that everyone can understand why Tristan stands for their cause.
Great characters! I don’t the characters are clearly black and white, for now, and except for a few, you can’t really tell which side they’ll end up fighting for.
Docking the one star because as I mentioned, not quite sold yet – Tristan is ace at handing out cheesy lines though, and does make me swoon so plus points for him.
Also, small update! I went to a sale at my favorite local bookstore yesterday, and got three books for under $23USD – I’m especially happy about Illuminae, since it’s the most expensive of the bunch. With a 30% discount how could I not?!
How has your week been? 😀