Title: Stolen Songbird
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #1
Published: April 1st, 2014 by Strange Chemistry
Genres: Young adult, fantasy, paranormal
Rating: ★★★★½ – 4.5/5 stars
Synopsis: 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’d seen some reviews -good ones- around before I started reading this, but not a lot of buzz about it. To be honest, that kind of makes me sad because I really enjoyed this book! I had a bit of a misconception about it which I’m guessing was because of the title and the first chapter but even though I was expecting something different, I still enjoyed it.
First of all, the plot. I was a bit surprised to learn how long this book was. I didn’t expect for it to be almost 500 pages! Especially because the plot really takes off right from the beginning. First, we meet Cécile while she’s singing in front of her -farm- town. She says goodbye to her best friend and rides to her home, where she’ll have a goodbye party as she is leaving the farm to live with her mother in the city. Yet she never arrives there. I promise that this is not a spoiler, it’s in the synopsis. And then the truly epic story starts. You get introduced to a city underneath/inside the mountains: Trollus. The “people” that live there are trolls -and they are all deformed in a certain way. So much happens in this story, it doesn’t just cover a few days. It’s truly captivating.
The plot is absolutely wonderful. It just takes you on this journey through the city of Trollus and you get to meet so many interesting characters! And though they are deformed, they aren’t what I always imagined when I think about a troll -you know, like the one in Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. They each have a certain deformity, like an extra arm, etc. The first troll we meet is nobility. TROLL NOBILITY. How awesome is that? That’s just one aspect to show you how well developed this world is.
Then there’s the characters. I CAN’T EVEN. I really loved Cécile! She is not just giving up on her faith, she wants to go back home and knows that she’ll only have one chance to escape. But she’ll bide her time and wait for the right moment. Then they want her to MARRY the prince. They abduct her, and make her marry a TROLL. WHAT? She’s defiant and true to herself and while she is stubborn, it’s not in a I-am-going-to-do-this-even-though-I-know-beforehand-it’s-a-giant-mistake kind of way. And yes, I did just make that entire sentence into one word. I really loved Tristan, the prince-troll as well. In the beginning, he is so sassy and rude. I loved it. And I also kind of wanted to punch him in the face. But it turns into such a unique relationship. Well, huh, relationship I guess. The only thing I had a bit of an issue with was that Tristan was the only troll who was handsome. Just, really? I mean, every troll is deformed except for the one she has to marry. Sigh. I see a missed opportunity there! And the side characters were also epic and so interesting! The twins who try to best each other in absolutely everything which leads to ridiculous contests. Her two maids who are not afraid to speak up even though she is now royalty. The king, who utterly creeped me out. Cécile gets to know all of these different characters and it is just wonderful.
What stood out to me most was the world the author has built. How utterly intricate it is! There’s royalty, nobility, slaves -well, kind of- and an entire hierarchy. There’s an underground rebellion going on: but who is part of it? AND most of all: trolls can’t lie! So they have perfected ways to deceive yet not tell an outright lie. It’s epic. And why are they under the mountain? Why can’t they go anywhere else? It’s all stuff you get to discover while reading this. The trolls’ city is surrounded by these giant slug-like -I think- creatures that sting you and kill you, so escaping won’t be easy. Yet they are so rich and have magic.
I don’t know what else to say! This book was just unique and incredible. I’d definitely recommend it if you like YA fantasy. I will definitely read the sequel.