I know it’s been a while since I posted a review (between preparing a novella, a novel, cover reveals, blog tour sign ups, promotions, and of course, writing, time has been short), but I thought I would get back into it by reviewing a book that’s been on my list for a while: Stolen Songbird, book one of the Malediction Trilogy by Canadian author Danielle L. Jensen. It’s pure, epic, fantasy-romance fun. I was very impressed and enamoured by an unconventional story with fantastic characters, gorgeous settings, bountiful twists, and trilling action. A definite recommend for anyone interested in reading a fantastic fantasy-romance.
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…
One of the things I love about these books (something that’s continued as I’m currently over halfway through book three) is that there’s no delay in the beginning. Readers are brought straight into the action and are told the circumstances/situation in the first fifty pages. That’s substantial to the craft, and it’s even better when those circumstances aren’t what you’d expect. The trolls are nonsense (most of them at least) and determined to get things done their way, something that singer Cecile is completely unprepared for.
I really enjoyed the story, learning about the hierarchy in Trollus, the history behind its curse, the whispers of a rebellion, and experiencing a unique setting where great characters lived. There were a lot of things going on, but I never felt like it was too much and I was never lost. I especially liked the rebellion storyline and thought it was the strongest element to the story.
The characters are familiar to the YA fantasy-romance genre, i.e.: headstrong girl, broody prince, loyal friend, comic relief, etc, but that didn’t make me dislike them or find them boring. Quite the opposite. Cecile is a strong character with a lot of heart and courage and while she makes mistakes, they’re the kind of mistakes I can forgive because she’s so caught up in the moment that she doesn’t think about alternatives. It’s the kind of thing that could happen to any of us, which in turn makes her a stronger, more relatable character. Tristan is one of my favourites, a prince with so many agendas and so many plots, only to have them all unravel when a feisty redhead comes into his life. He’s got a ton of layers and secrets, and learning them all was a lot of fun. And I can’t neglect to mention Marc (love Marc), and the awesome twins Victoria and Vincent who added even more to the story and its main duo.
Considering the last YA romance I read, the relationship between Cecile and Tristan is a relief. Oh, they have their arguments and stalemates (feisty redhead and broody prince, remember), but I sympathized with both of them and enjoyed their chemistry. They worked at their relationship and had a truly breathtaking moment of romance that I’ll remember for a while (you’ll know it when you read it) and I loved watching them grow together. Which made the ending a real sucker punch.
The writing is great and expertly constructed. Stolen Songbird passed my expectations and I truly look forward to finishing the series and the upcoming
heartbreak prequel novel The Broken Ones. A definite recommend if you enjoy Beauty and the Beast style romances or are looking for some gorgeous YA fantasy books to add to your shelf.