March 7, 2016

Who Could Ever Love a Troll? • Stolen Songbird

Stolen Songbird book cover
I’m still a bit incredulous over the fact that I enjoyed a fantasy novel about trolls. Because really, prior to reading Stolen Songbird, I didn't have the greatest impression of trolls. They always just seemed really unappealing, and not a fantastical creature I could ever get into when I was reading. So, I stayed away from the troll books... until I started hearing about this one. As with many other novels in my life, I heard of Stolen Songbird the year it came out (and it was primarily good things), wanted to read it, but never got around to it. Thankfully, I put my foot down last month and decided to prioritize reading it – and it was so worth it!

Stolen Songbird is the story of Cecile, a girl who has been tutored to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a singer. She gets kidnapped and taken to Trollus, where she’s told she has the power to break the curse that’s keeping the trolls under the mountain. Even though she initially only wants to escape, the longer she’s in Trollus, she realizes there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to these folk and that she might harbor more affection for some of her new companions than she ever thought she would.

Personally, I enjoyed getting swept up into a new fantasy world, one that’s fascinating and terrifying in equal measure. It pleasantly surprised me to discover that there were so many layers to Trollus and its inhabitants! I mean, I seriously felt claustrophobic right along with Cecile when we're first brought under the mountain. But, with time, I started to find that little things I'd learn about Trollus and the people were really interesting. It was actually enough to distract me from the fact that they were still trapped under tons of rock! I was pretty riveted by the things we learn about Trollus and the people there, and with every revelation, my interest just got deeper.

I also really liked Cecile (a stubborn girl with strong emotional responses and undeniable intelligence) and Tristan (an attractive prince who has a number of secrets that he buries under layers), and their character development over the course of this story. It was mostly because I really cared about both of them that I got really into what was happening in Stolen Songbird! Jensen does a bang-up job writing character nuances that surprised me, including the way she develops the relationship between Tristan and Cecile (which is lovely and I totally support it and want more of it). There are also plenty of secondary characters (to love or to hate, depending on who we're talking about), and I thought they were decently done so as to be more than just caricatures or people in place to move the plot forward.

I really did like Stolen Songbird, but I have to honestly admit that there were two things that did bug me. I found the pacing to be uneven, with stops and starts, action-packed sections and slower lulls. Also, the plot wasn't as tight as it could've been, since the focus shifts around a fair bit. But I was able to look past these things, and wound up really enjoying it. I was so invested in Cecile and Tristan's story, in fact, that I jumped right into the sequel! So yes, in case you were wondering, in spite of my reservations, I would definitely recommend reading this book.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #1
Publisher: Strange Chemistry | Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Source: Kindle book gifted by the publisher (Thanks!)

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...


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