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Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen ARC {4 Stars}

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen starts with a kidnapping, adds in a pinch of French-based fantasy, and proceeds to sweep you off your feet with a painfully beautiful romance. There is a reason everyone is loving Stolen Songbird so much and it really comes down to how gosh-darn readable it is! I wasn’t planning on finishing it and then all of a sudden it was 1 AM and I was done with the book; how did that happen??

Note: I received an ARC of Stolen Songbird from the publisher for an honest review. Some things may have changed in the final version.

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen ARC {4 Stars}

Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy #1)
Published by Strange Chemistry on April 1st, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Page Length: 436 pages
How I got my copy: Publisher
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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.

4 Stars

Strengths:

  • Stolen Songbird starts with action and doesn’t slow down. Right from the beginning our MC Cecile is kidnapped and taken into Trollus and from then on out she is constantly on her toes trying to figure out what is going on. In addition to the plot itself being fast-paced, the writing of Stolen Songbird just pushes you along quickly. There aren’t any sentences to spare so you don’t have to worry about ever feeling bogged down.
  • The romance in Stolen Songbird has a Beauty and the Beast feel, except that the prince isn’t keen on being married to a kidnapped princess either so you don’t have to hate him ;-). This equals completely swoon-worthy conflicted love with two characters who you can’t help but adore :D. I’m not generally a huge romance person, but I could not help the feels!
  • The magic in Stolen Songbird has two varieties and both captivated my imagination. There is a tree of magic that is holding up the ceiling of Trollus and it sounds so pretty! I always love exploring new magic systems with the MC and Stolen Songbird delivers.
  • Often YA books fall prey to MC’s making slightly foolish decisions because it is convenient for the plot, but not Stolen Songbird! At every critical moment I was right there with Cecile, seeing that she was making the best decision she could given the choices even though the choices sometimes sucked. Actually logical characters??? What is this beautiful madness?????
  • Stolen Songbird is filled with secondary characters to get attached to. There are the troll twins who are constantly competing (good-naturedly) to see who will win the next ridiculous challenge, half-blood miners just trying to survive, adorable librarians and ladies’-maids, etc. I just loved them all!
  • About halfway through Stolen Songbird, things started hinting at a much deeper plot than I had previously realized. There are a lot of questions that remain to be answered in the rest of the series and a whole other world to explore; I’m so excited!

Weaknesses:

  •  Stolen Songbird is mostly told from Cecile’s perspective, but occasionally chapters switch to Tristan’s POV without any sort of marker as a warning. Since it’s still first person, that makes it kind of hard to figure out what is going on until you realize that the POV switched. I’m hoping this gets fixed in the final version, but it seems unlikely at this point D: UPDATE: Danielle has confirmed that POV markers were added in the final version, yey!
  • While the writing of Stolen Songbird is great in it’s fast-paced nature, there were times that I wanted that extra sentence of description so that I could get my bearings and see what was going on. Stolen Songbird occasionally had a rather jumpy feeling because the writing was so fast paced.
  • On a similar note, I at times thought that I had actually completely missed something small being mentioned previously, but once it happened the third time I determined it couldn’t be me. There are a number of small things that Cecile talks about like they’ve been introduced previously, but they haven’t. This lack of context was distracting because at first I wanted to go back and find where the item or whatever was first discussed and then couldn’t find it.
  • I was really excited about there being trolls in Stolen Songbird, but we find out right away that they aren’t traditional trolls since many of them are eerily beautiful. Without getting too spoilery, more information comes out about these trolls origins, etc., and I ended up feeling a bit misled and disappointed.

Summary:

Stolen Songbird is a whirlwind fantasy that is going to be an instant favorite with many readers. I was a bit disappointed that the fantasy didn’t end up being as original as I had hoped, but the characters still completely stole my heart. If you love fast pacing and completely swoon-worthy romance with a strong fantasy plot, definitely check out Stolen Songbird. I can’t wait for book two!

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings

Have you read this one? What did you think? Are you excited for it if you haven’t gotten to it yet?
– Anya

 

 Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen

© 2014, Anya. All rights reserved.

Comments

  1. I confess, I was a little worried about the romance element, but if the fantasy and magic are as cool as you say, I’ll give it a shot. :)
    Kel recently posted…Top 10 Bookish Things I’d Like to OwnMy Profile

    • Hehe, I’ll warn you that the romance is definitely a major element since that’s why she is taken to Trollus and all and I know how you feel about those setups ;-)

  2. This sounds very good. I haven’t heard of it so am glad to read your review. Thanks, Anya!
    Jan recently posted…My spring break-awayMy Profile

  3. It was so fun getting to talk to you about this in person on Sunday. I had almost forgot I meant to ask the author!
    Tabitha (@Pabkins) recently posted…Review: Archetype by M.D. WatersMy Profile

  4. Ah, this book is SO high on my TBR list that I thought I would have already read it by now. SOON. And I’m glad you liked it even if the Trolls sound more like Elves than Trolls ;)

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  5. Adelynne Chang says:

    Yay! So glad you liked it! I just finished reading it too, and I didn’t like the fast pacing either. I was also kinda confused by the quickness- Cecile’s magic was kinda random. But overall I liked it too! That ending though…. T^T

    • Right?? I’m really glad I’m not the only one that was a bit overwhelmed by the pacing. There is fast-paced and then there is whirlwind in a negative way D: I’m really excited for the second book now though!

  6. This is one of my favorite books of 2014. And you’re right, it does have a very Beauty and the Beast feel to it.

    I think the thing that makes it work so well for me is that the prophecy and curse-breaking was such an epic fail. Normally in a fairy tale there’s an easy way to break the spell, and I love that Tristan and Cecile’s marriage wasn’t enough to do that.
    Grace recently posted…“Blades of the Old Empire” by Anna KashinaMy Profile

    • Haha, that is a good point about the curse-breaking and prophecy, I like that that failed too. Though I suspect that will come back later in the trilogy, ya know?

  7. I ordered this last night. I’ve seen really great reviews and NEED to read it sooner than later. Great review Anya!

  8. YAY for enjoying this one along with everyone else and YAY for an MC that makes decisions the reader can get behind!! That was awesome to read :D It’s a shame the fantasy wasn’t quite up to par with what you (and I) were expecting, especially with how wonderful the MC sounds, not to mention the fact that all the secondary characters were so epic as well. Loved reading your input on this one Anya, thanks for the great review ^^
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Early Review: A World Without PrincesMy Profile

  9. Action and romance and a smart heroine who actually thinks out her decisions, AND strong minor characters! Please give me this book! Oh wow I’m also iffy on the whole troll thing, but they’re not actually trolls huh. I definitely will get a hold of this soon :)
    Valerie @ Innocent Smiley’s Reviews recently posted…Weekly Updates: House hunting and summer co-blogging!My Profile

  10. I’m on the fence about this one – I’ve read a lot of good reviews of it on quite a few blogs and all have praised it. At the same time, I have so many fantasy series in progress that I’m hesitant to start a new one… Hmm. I have to admit that your review may be pushing me towards giving it a go, so thanks for that!!! :) Nice blog, by the way!
    The Library Rat recently posted…Eden in Winter by Richard North PattersonMy Profile

  11. I haven’t actually heard of this one, but it sounds like something I’d like to read. Especially the fact that you mentioned she uses logic! Added it to my wishlist :)

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