Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Published: January 2014
“… Anyone who smiled all the time clearly suffered from a mental imbalance.”
Stolen Songbird written by Danielle L. Jensen is the first in a new fantasy trilogy. The book revolves around Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped the day before she was supposed to join her mother in the city as an opera singer. She’s betrayed by an acquaintance who takes her beneath a mountain that according to legend, once housed trolls. Unbeknownst to most, the trolls still reside under the mountain and cannot leave, due to a witch’s curse. Once she arrives in the lost city, Cécile finds out that she has been brought beneath the mountain to break a curse, as prophesied. That very night, she’s bonded to Prince Tristan, who is rather rude and standoffish to her. Trollus, the city under the mountain, is brewing with the start of a rebellion and their enigmatic prince seems to be keeping secrets. As Cécile begins to unravel the mysteries of the trolls and their town, she begins to understand the complexities of their precarious arrangement. All the while, she’s trying to figure out a way to escape from her captors. But what happens when she starts to get to know those that surround her? Will she escape despite her growing feelings?
This book is special. It’s different. It’s not like most YA fantasy/paranormal novels. There isn’t too much said about the character being either a plain jane or a striking beauty. That’s because she’s a true heroine. Cécile is a strong, well-developed character and it was quite enjoyable being in her head. I liked that Tristan didn’t trust Cécile right away and vice versa, because that’s natural. Their relationship progressed organically, which is a nice change for YA. They didn’t fall in love immediately nor did they act on their feelings. It was refreshing.
“Because you’re human, Cécile. You can lie, even to yourself.”
The magic is captivating, the book moves along at a quick pace, and the action sequences are necessary and relevant for plot development. There’s very dynamic and fascinating world building. The fantasy city of Trollus is almost tangible due to the descriptive details. The novel is a very compelling take on a fantasy/magical creature that isn’t shown much in literature. The writing was witty and sharp; the conversations between Tristan and Cécile were fun. The characters actually had defined personalities. That, along with other things about this novel, made it very refreshing.
At the very beginning of the novel, I was so excited for Cécile to be reunited with her mother. Then of course, I felt like the life of the story that-could-have-been was ripped away from me just like Cécile probably felt when she realized that there was no escape from her kidnappers. It takes a certain writer to allow the reader to be so invested in a story in just a few short pages then quickly change gears without a second glance. Kudos to you, Danielle.
“Young men in love, they are all fools.”
One thing I’m kinda getting sick of in YA, especially, is that all the women don’t think they’re pretty and yet all the men they fall in love with are apparently gorgeous. There are never, or hardly ever, any “normal” looking guys. They are all extraordinarily beautiful. I think it would have been more interesting if Cecile fell in love with Marc with his facial deformity. Of course, part of me loves that Tristan and other YA heartthrobs are gorgeous because I can live vicariously through the characters in the novel and enjoy his looks when I won’t get that in real life. Though, I have to say, their looks aren’t discussed more that just in passing, which I liked. It allowed the focus to be on their characters and not how pretty they were described doing things.
But I digress. It’s a moot point that has no effect on my feelings for this novel.
Overall, I loved it. It was something different and that was exciting! I didn’t know what I was getting into when I started reading it. I picked it up before bed one night and I didn’t stop reading until I was over halfway done and it was nearing 5am. It was that good. I don’t think I even have anything bad to say about it. It was a perfect read. The ending left me wanting more but at the same time, satisfied with how things left off enough that I won’t go crazy from the wait until the next book.
There are many things still shrouded in mystery. There are so many questions that need answering but since there are two more novels, I know they’ll be answered soon. For instance, the nature of the trolls, themselves, is a secret. I think I have an idea to where it might be going and I’m excited to see how my predictions will play out.
But it’s time to play the waiting game. Hidden Huntress will be released (as of right now) in 2015 while Untitled Book #3 is scheduled for 2016.