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Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen - Review by Ashlee, Staff Blogger


Stolen Songbird - book coverStolen Songbird, author Danielle L. Jensen’s first novel, takes place in a historical fantasy setting in which trolls exist but were cursed by a witch to live underground in secret. The protagonist is Cécile de Troyes, a farmer’s daughter with a lovely voice who is kidnapped, brought to the city of Trollus under the mountain, and sold to trolls who intend to marry her to their troll prince, Tristan.

This element of cursed creatures abducting a beautiful human bride and taking her below ground reminded me of the 1991 animated movie The Princess and the Goblin, but after that, there are fewer similarities. Contrary to popular belief, Stolen Songbird explains, trolls aren’t ugly; they’re “more like beautiful things that have had the misfortune of being broken.” Most of the troll characters in this novel have various misfortunes like no limbs, misaligned halves of their face, or being conjoined twins. However, the book misses a potentially interesting element in exempting Prince Tristan from the difficulties of living with an unusual body. Instead, he is tall and beautiful, though cold and sardonic.

The book’s world-building is essentially limited to the history of Trollus, which, as Cécile notes, is “shrouded in mystery but for the few snippets of information revealed by those seeking to use me.” There are also some politics in the form of citizens fighting for the rights of “half-bloods,” those who are kept subservient due to their status as half-troll, half-human. While the theme of a revolution to gain civil rights is an important one, I felt like it could have been presented with more depth. Because Cécile was treated like royalty, she was somewhat removed from the daily lives of the half-bloods, and we didn’t get to know them well enough to see their difficulties and fears, or to understand how a revolution might change their lives for the better.

I loved seeing how Cécile develops as a person throughout the story: she’s obviously horrified and angry at being kidnapped, but instead of moping, she decides to make the best of her new life and is courageous in trying to help improve Trollus. It was weird that her singing didn’t play more of a part, though, considering the title! It was also interesting to see how the relationship between Cécile and Tristan develops. While at first neither of them wants anything to do with the other, they slowly move away from mutual distrust as more details are revealed about Tristan and his family.Hidden Huntress-book cover

This novel is the first in the Malediction Trilogy, and the second book, Hidden Huntress, has recently been published. I hope it will add more depth to the universe, let us see more of the secondary characters, and clear up those cliffhangers!

Ashlee,

Staff Blogger

[Editor's Note: Warrior Witch, book three, hits shelves in May 2016! Check out the author's website for hidden scenes from the series, contests and more]]

 

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