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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unique and rich, 1 April 2014
This review is from: Stolen Songbird (Kindle Edition)
Forsaken Mountain. For five centuries a witch's curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. Plenty of time for the trolls and their magic to fade from the memories of humans, and lodge them firmly in myth and legend. But there was a prophecy, a prophecy that speaks of a union that can lift the curse and set the trolls free.

Enter Cecile de Troyes, she is kidnapped by her friend, and taken beneath the mountain where she is sold to the trolls. As if the shock of finding out the myth of the trolls isn't a myth, and there's so much more to it, she also finds out that the King is the one who bought her, to marry his son Tristan. *whispers* the prophecy oooohh. Cecile has no intention of staying in Trollus. Her first order of business is escaping, but the pesky issue of the bonding ceremony between her and her new husband Tristan, and the fact that they can feel each other's emotions, throws a bit of a spanner in the works. Then there's the fact the trolls are clever, fast, inhumanly strong and pack some magic. Biding her time it is.

But while biding her time and waiting for the perfect opportunity to escape, something unexpected happens. The enigmatic (aka rude) troll prince begins to capture her heart. She begins to make friends, friends that she can't bear to leave behind. As the treachery mounts, and the King shows his nasty side, Cecile begins to see that she's the half-bloods only hope, the slaves who are part human, part troll. The rebellion is brewing. Prince Tristan, her husband, is the secret leader. Cecile goes from being a farmer girl to being a Princess, a witch, the hope of the people and is swiftly entangled in an intricate political web.

*KLAXON* NO LOVE TRIANGLE. NO INSTA LOVE. I REPEAT. NO LOVE TRIANGLE. NO INSTA LOVE.

This is an honest to God YA book with no insta love, and no love triangle. I do love a good love triangle don't get me wrong, but it's so rare and refreshing for me to find one without a love triangle and the whole "oh I want her with him" thing going on. Don't even get me started on insta love.

We also have another unique addition to the YA genre. I cannot tell you how bored I am of vampires, even werewolves and fey at this stage. They're everywhere. They're always the same. Stolen Songbird gives us another unique premise, world and mythology.

In Stolen Songbird we get introduced to the rich mythology of the trolls, amid a rich and complex plot. I haven't read a YA book about trolls before, I was super intrigued, and I wasn't disappointed. I enjoyed delving in to a new, never before covered (at least by me) creature. Before you see the word troll and go "EW SHE CAN'T MARRY A TROLL BLAH BLAH BLAH" don't worry. Jensen made him hot for all of you.

The characters in the story where all written extremely well. They had depth and complexity to them. Prince Tristan in particular is presented as a rude, ruthless kinda douchey prince, but he's maintaining an act, and has an entirely different side to him. Cecile starts off as an ordinary girl, she's strong willed, determined, she makes mistakes but never the same one twice. I love a character who can freely admit they screwed up, and they're not perfect, and that's Cecile all over. She's alone, it's interesting seeing how she gets treated in a place where she is pretty much reviled because she's not a troll, but she never lets it break her. She's strong.

Let's hear it for the fact the female characters are written as brave, and there's no debasement. I fell in love with Marc, please please please Danielle give him someone to love him! PLEASE!

As I said, no insta love WOOHOO. Hatred, to mistrust, to alliance, to friendship, to love (after alot of faffing). I love getting to see the relationship develop and watching as the characters get to know each other, and the romance was written to perfection.

The plot as I previously said was rich and complex. We think we're getting one thing, but then amid the romance and the kidnapping there's a rebellion brewing, a King who could do with some anger management, some dodgy family business and plenty of backstabbing and betrayal. I never saw any of the plot twists coming, I was glued to the book for the most part. The plot had a lot of elements that where all brought together to create the plot, and you really don't expect it.

My only problem with the book is the beginning. I don't know how to describe it. I just kind of started reading and was like "here we go again", the beginning for me would have put me off if this wasn't a review book, which would have been a shame because I really enjoyed it.I also felt it dragged a bit in places and was a tad longer than it really needed it to be.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review: Stolen Songbird, 3 April 2014
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This review is from: Stolen Songbird (Kindle Edition)
STOLEN SONGBIRD is the first book in Danielle L. Jensen’s MALEDICTION TRILOGY. It tells the story of Cécile, the daughter of a farmer, who dreams of following in her mother’s footsteps and being an opera singer. On the eve of her achieving her dream she is kidnapped and brought to Trollus, where her whole world changes.

As soon as I read the blurb of this book, I knew I had to read it. There were a lot of possibilities on the table, and I was curious to see where Jensen was going to take the story. I was also a little wary, as I wasn’t a big fan of the last troll book I read. STOLEN SONGBIRD surprised me, in a good way. It was a un-put-down-able-read however, every time I picked the story up I fell straight back into the world and it was like I had never left. It was just really enjoyable.

The plot of the book was pretty much what I expected from a book in the sword and sorcery/high fantasy genre. Cécile is looking forward to moving to a bigger town – where her mother lives – and starting her life as an opera singer, but she ends up kidnapped and in the city of Trollus where she is forced to bond with the Prince. I liked the fact that Jensen chose to tell the story mainly from Cécile’s point of view, but had occasional chapters from Tristan’s – the troll Prince. The occasional chapter from Tristan’s point of view did a good job at both moving the plot of the book forward and of giving the reader an insight into his character which isn’t available from Cécile’s point of view. The overall plot of the book – and series, I think – is interesting and there are lots of twists – I think there is a lot more to be revealed. The book ends on a cliffhanger, and whilst they aren’t my favourite form of ending the first book in a series or trilogy I think Jensen manages to hit the right note.

Cécile was a compelling main character and I really enjoyed following her journey through the book. She is a very strong character who never gives up, and I admired that quality in her. Tristan is a far more enigmatic character, and is often hard to read and understand. I really enjoyed reading the interactions between the two characters. Jensen also created some really interesting secondary characters, and I am hoping that we will see more of them in the upcoming books in the trilogy.

If you are a fan of the sword and sorcery genre then you should pick this book up and give this series a try. The STOLEN SONGBIRD sets up the world of the MALEDICTION TRILOGY brilliant and I look forward to exploring this world more in future books.

Originally posted on TheFlutterbyRoom.com My copy of the book was an e-Galley from NetGalley courtesy of Angry Robot Books in exchange for an honest review.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 22 July 2014
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This review is from: Stolen Songbird (Kindle Edition)
I loved this story.

The characters pulled me in immediately. I foolishly started reading at about 10pm on a Sunday, knowing I would have to get up early for work the following morning. See me today, bleary eyed, finished and desperate to share the love!

The story was fantastic - familiar enough to give comfort and different enough to hold my interest. The twists and turns kept me guessing as to what would happen - unusual for me, as I very often find myself picking up on the story's ending long before I am close to finishing the book.

The characters remained consistent in their ways, gaining depth and wisdom as their tale progressed. This was not an 'insta-love' scenario, but a rather more realistic romance, growing in feeling despite tricky conditions.

I now see that this is the first of three and I'm off straight away to see if the second book is out yet, because I could very well do without another night's sleep!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical book, 1 April 2014
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This review is from: Stolen Songbird (Kindle Edition)
I have never read anything by this author before and suspect this is her debut and if that is the case then just wow! I am not particularly a lover of fantasy and really don't enjoy young adult novels very often but this book blew me away! The idea of a Troll being the hero and the romantic hero at that just captured my imagination and happily this book delivered everything I wished for and more besides.
Cecile is gifted with a remarkable voice and is all set to leave her humble village to pursue a singing career in the big city. Unfortunately the day before she's due to leave Cecile is kidnapped and finds herself being sold to Trolls! As if that wasn't enough to tear her world apart she's told that it's intended to marry her off to the Troll Prince in the hopes of defeating an ancient curse! Tristran, the Troll Prince does not wish to be bonded in any way to the human female but he will carry out his duty. A prophecy foretells that their alliance will set the Troll nation free from the curse that binds them underground but will it work? Cecile is no simpering female and constantly challenges Tristan but treachery stalks the palace corridors and danger is coming ever closer to Cecile. Learning more of the Troll she's married to opens her eyes and soon her heart follows. Can Cecile trust Tristan ? There's a rebellion brewing in the streets and plots are hatching that put them all in danger. Cecile will make choices that will change everything and may well break her heart.
Can I just say wow! I loved this book! Filled with amazingly developed characters. Right from the first page I couldn't help but feel empathy for the heroine Cecile. She's a caring young woman who is out of her depth and yet refuses to give up hope. The hero Tristan whilst initially cold and aloof has hidden depths and a wily cunning that totally works in this story. He is brave and clever and yet self sacrificing and the perfect foil for Cecile's stubbornness . I loved them together and his hidden romantic gestures just melted my heart.
There's a lot of world building here and it sets up quite nicely for a follow up book. Trolls and those of mixed blood populate the story but we get to see the magic that humans can do too. Plus the Trolls are not quite what they seem and I have a sneaky suspicion that the author intends to elaborate further as we follow Cecile's adventures. I am a lover of romance but this story is so much more than that. It's a really interesting tale of two completely different people learning to accept each other and although not a sensual piece there is definitely fire building between Cecile and Tristan. So this is a fantasy that I could not put down. I loved everything about it. From obnoxious villains to monstrous creatures, from political intrigue to romance this book has it all. Beautiful cover , well written(and edited) and quite simply a must read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome and original debut, 31 Mar 2014
One of the most beloved and well-worn tropes in fantasy is that of the farm boy turned prophesied saviour. In Stolen Songbird Jensen flips that trope and turns it on its head, not just by turning the farm boy into a farm girl, but by making the outcome of the prophesy uncertain in more ways than one. There is also more than a little hint of the Beauty and the Beast at work here, even if Cécile's troll husband is as handsome as a girl might wish.

Jensen spends a lot of time on building the city and society of Trollus. We don't just meet the royal family and other key players in the palace; Cécile goes out into the city to learn more about the people she is supposed to save. The trolls have a number of characteristics that both limit them and which provide rich fodder plot-wise. For example, trolls cannot tell an outright lie, but Jensen shows us, that one does not need to lie to deceive. Another is that they are bound to any promise they make, which is why they trade in favours owed. One of my favourite scenes in the book is when Tristan almost dies laughing when Cécile tells him all the assorted myths people tell about trolls, such as sunlight will turn them to stone and they all hoard gold.

The setting of Trollus and the history of the trolls really captured my imagination. The trolls' origins are nebulous and Jensen drops some rather big hints about their true nature and I'm curious to see whether I interpreted them right. The idea and visual of a tree of magical energy keeping the mountain from completely burying Trollus were very striking. Troll magic and human magic are quite different, as Cécile and the reader discover when it turns out that Cécile herself is a witch and can wield the human magic drawn from the elements. It created both another way for Jensen to incorporate history into the story and one more reason for Cécile to wish to help the trolls--by helping them she'll be able to discover more about her powers and by reading up on magic explains more about the trolls and their society.

Cécile is a conflicted character when we meet her, torn between her dreams for the future and her present. I liked her very much; she's kind-hearted, without being a pushover, and she doesn't take her situation in Trollus lying-down. In other words, she is pro-active not reactive. The slow development of not just understanding but even friendship between Cécile and several of the trolls and half-bloods was well done and I really liked Cécile's friends, especially Marc and the twins Vincent and Victoria. Cécile's development from unwilling prisoner to burgeoning power to willing co-conspirator was very cool and convincing. It's through the connections she makes that she comes to change her mind about her situation, a change that felt gradual and not just the effect of a magical bonding by moonlight.

The romance between Cécile and Tristan is interesting. They are soul-bonded by magic soon after marrying, which means they can sense each other's emotions in their own head. Yet, this doesn't mean there isn't room for misunderstandings and not believing each other, once more reinforcing the idea that you don't need to lie to deceive. Or consequently, that even knowing someone's feelings doesn't necessarily mean that you will believe them to be true. I loved the way Tristan and Cécile slowly grow closer and how their trust is built, even if Tristan's is slower to come than Cécile's. In the end their bond is true and they are both willing to sacrifice so the other can have what they think is best for them.

The ending killed me. It made me want more of the story now, right this minute though I expect this was Jensen's intention. The story certainly isn't over and we didn't get a happy ending by a long shot. I adored Stolen Songbird, from its original take on trolls, to its treatment of its awesome heroine. If you like your fantasy adventurous and romantic, then this YA novel should without a doubt be on your radar. Jensen's debut is certainly one of my favourite books so far this year and I look forward - impatiently might I add - to the rest of the Malediction trilogy.

This book was provided for review by the publisher.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stolen Songbird, 28 Mar 2014
Cecile de Troyes is looking forward to moving to the city to sing, until she is kidnaped on her way home and taken beneath the Forsaken Mountain to fulfil a prophecy to set the trolls free. For 5 centuries the trolls have been trapped under the mountain because of a curse a witch put on them. Cecile is bonded and married to the troll prince Tristan but all she want to do is escape, but while she binds her time looking for the opportunity, she sees the unjust way the human-troll half-bloods are treated and starts to fall for Tristan, who is the rebellion’s secret leader. With both Tristan and Cecile seen as the hope for the trolls, she wants to help the people, but is she willing to risk her freedom for them?

I really enjoyed Stolen Songbird as it is a good YA fantasy book with romance, intrigue, rebellion and magic. I have not read any books about trolls and, while they were not what I usually think of as trolls, it was an interesting new fantasy creature.

Cecile is a good leading lady as she is not special but is still willing to help the race which kidnapped her and she is very strong willed and compassionate, however, I felt that she accepted her situation way too easily. I also liked Tristan as he is complex, as he has to be seen to agree this his father, while trying to help his people and at the same time struggling with his feelings for Cecile. I liked the romance, as it developed slowly, and they had to get to know each other, and understand the others situation, before they could trust and like each other.

I really want to read the next book as it ends on a big cliff hanger. I would recommend Stolen Songbird to fans to Touch of Power by Maria V Snyder and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This gorgeous grown up fairytale ticked all of my boxes, 27 Mar 2014
Caroline for [...]
Copy received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.

What is it that first attracts you to a book? For me it can be an eye catching cover, a favorite authors latest release, or the recommendation of bloggers I trust, and at other times, as was the case with Stolen Songbird, it is a synopsis which promises something unique, which sparks my curiosity and heightens my anticipation, causing me to re arrange my TBR pile, abandon my plans for a goodnights sleep and dive straight in.

Even better when that attention is not just caught, but is wrestled in to submission and then, meeting my expectations, holds me captive for the duration of the book. Before I had reached the end of the first chapter of Stolen Songbird, I knew that I had found something special and, despite the rather precarious situation our heroine had found herself in, I couldn’t help a big goofy grin.

Cecile was a fantastic protagonist. Yes, she was a talented singer who had been foretold as the breaker of a centuries old curse (wait until you read how well that turns out!) and yet there is something quintessentially normal about her. She is prideful, strong headed and inquisitive- but with good reason- She empowers herself through the acquisition of knowledge. She recognized that things must change, and that she has a role to play, but doesn’t jump in without some trepidation and consideration.

Cecile’s first person account was peppered with Tristan’s ( the aforementioned troll prince) observations and thoughts. Tristan with his complicated, contradictory behavior, has his meticulous eye on the long game, the question is, which Tristan- the sarcastic, bored, egotistical prince or the garden stalking, peacekeeper, revolutionary- is the real Tristan?

I really enjoyed how Cecile and Tristan’s personalities collided and complemented each other. I loved that there wasn’t a single hint of insta love and that each increment of trust, of friendship, of affection was hard, if not amusingly, won.

While I adored our protagonists Cecile and Tristan, I was most impressed with the amount of time the author dedicated to fleshing our secondary characters. Each was allowed to express their personalities, to exist independent of our main protagonists- a very likeable male character with a tragic backstory a heart of gold who offers the hand of friendship without a hint of love triangle, a admirable female rival, a despicable villain with questionable but clear motivations. I am as excited to learn the fates of the supporting cast as I am that of the main protagonists.

I really loved the world building in Stolen Songbird. From the stunning aesthetics, the political intrigue, and complex social structure, through to how Trollus was grounded in familiar but uniquely interpreted history and mythology. All of which combined to make a really absorbing world.

I found it particularly interesting to experience the juxtaposition of the ugly cruelty and maliciousness of the Trollus society in contrast to those elements that were beautiful and commendable.

I started the book with the expectation that I would read a few chapters before bed, unfortunately the story had other ideas. I was held ransom by the beautiful story telling, the wonderful world building, the likeable, flawed characters and a slow burning relationship, which kept me on my toes.

I was unable to put the book down until I had reached the final page. Even then, despite the late (or should I say very early) hour and after more than 400 pages, the book felt far too short.

Thankfully Stolen Songbird is the first book in the Malediction trilogy, and so I know that there is plenty more to come. Has the author made it easy for me to wait out the next installment? What do you think?! Stolen Songbird is a book that ends on the kind of cliffhanger that has you madly searching for more pages. Just like that I found my self fully invested in another trilogy.

Verdict: Trolls, magic, rebellion, a hidden kingdom, a complicated Prince and an inquisitive heroine – this gorgeous grownup fairytale ticked all of my boxes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen, 27 Mar 2014
First of all, I just have to say that Stolen Songbird is one of the best (and quite possibly the best) fantasy novel that I've ever read. Ever since I heard about this one last year, I've been looking forward to it. So when I came across it on Netgalley one day I just had to request it and I'd just like to say a massive thank you to Strange Chemistry for accepting my request.

Stolen Songbird is one of the most unique fantasy novels I've ever read, mostly because it's about Trolls. Now, trolls aren't something I've read a lot about (in fact, other than this book, I've only read one other troll series) but this was by far the best. It had all the things I love in fantasy books: magic, mythology and amazing world building. But, hands down, my favourite element of this book was the trolls. The trolls that Danielle L. Jensen created in her book are the complete opposite of the image you get in your head when you think of trolls. They weren't huge, ugly, smelly or stupid, in fact, most of them were pretty beautiful, intelligent and nothing like I was expecting.

Cécile has been captured by the trolls to fulfill a prophecy and break the curse that trapped the trolls. She's to marry and bond with the Troll prince, Tristan. Cécile only has one thing on her mind - finding a way to escape. But while Cécile is waiting for her opportunity, she finds herself falling for Tristan.

Right from the start I was hooked. Cécile is captured and taken to Trollus within the first few chapters and the rest of the book plays out in Trollus. I really loved that because it meant I got a lot more time to discover Trollus and find out the story behind the city and how the trolls were trapped.

I absolutely loved Cécile. Right from the word go she came across as a strong and feisty character. She definitely didn't take things lying down and always fought for herself. I knew there was something more going on with Cécile's character after something that happened near the start of the book, so I really enjoyed uncovering that. She's such a determined character. To start with, Cécile is always looking for a way to escape, but as the book went on and Cécile uncovered more and gained friends, she became determined to help the half-bloods and the city of Trollus.

Oh, Tristan. How I wanted to punch you the first time I met you, and then I very quickly wanted to take that back. Tristan may come across as a spoiled, un-appreciative jerkface, but he totally isn't. Tristan has his reasons for acting like this, and it's really to protect people. Tristan grew on me extremely quickly. He's actually a very sweet, caring and determined character. Tristan will do anything to protect his people, but he also has ulterior motives.

Tristan and Cécile's relationship is one of my favourites. They started of hating each other because Cécile had been kidnapped and Tristan didn't want to bond with her. But, gradually, they start to become friends and then allies. Tristan and Cécile are working together to help the half-bloods in Trollus, and their relationship eventually progresses to romance. Oh how this romance caused me severe amounts of PAIN and gave me so many feels.

Discovering the city of Trollus was one of my favourite parts of this book. Every description of the city that Danielle L. Jensen gave us allowed me to completely picture the world in my head. The world building is also some of the best world building I've ever read. I adored hearing the back story of Trollus; How Trollus came to be and what caused the trolls to become trapped underground. Discovering more about Cécile and finding out what Tristan was really up to was the other thing I really loved about this book.

The ending. OH, THE ENDING. Oh, what a horrible and amazing cliffhanger. I'm extremely curious to see what's going to happen next and whether Cécile will keep her promise (she better keep her promise!). Also, maybe we'll get to meet Cécile's mother in the next book? I have questions and a few suspicions about her.

Overall, Stolen Songbird was such a fantastic debut novel. Danielle L. Jensen has such an engaging and beautiful writing style and it completely hooked me. Stolen Songbird is such an amazing fantasy novel. It's full of magic, mythology, resistance, plotting and so many twists that tugged at my heart strings and completely knocked me sideways. I've already got my copy of Stolen Songbird pre-ordered because I have to have a physical copy of this book. It's definitely going to be one that I'll be recommending a lot this year.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK!, 24 Mar 2014
STOLEN SONGBIRD is a truly magnificent story of magic, politics, love, and deception. Cécile is taken from the life she knows and thrown into an entirely new one when she is sold as a bride to Tristan, the troll prince of Trollus. Stuck in a strange and dangerous world beneath the Forsaken Mountain, Cécile has one duty—to fulfil the prophecy that’ll free the trolls from the curse that stops them from leaving the mountain and entering the human world. Trollus is a cruel place, ruled by a harsh human-hating king. Anyone not a full-blooded troll is treated as a lesser being, and the divide creates a lot of tension. Despite its gloom, I found Trollus a glorious setting—especially the glass gardens. The world building is exceptional, and Cécile and Tristan are such wonderfully crafted characters. Same goes for all the characters, actually, but those two are my favourites. Cécile is so feisty and I liked her right away. Tristan is incredibly sweet . . . in his own way! I loved him! The development of their relationship was touching and I became very attached to them both.

I loved STOLEN SONGBIRD so much it hurt! It’s easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. And I don’t say that lightly. I read it in January because I simply couldn’t wait to start. The story has stayed with me since, and I think it will do for a long time. Everything about the book is so special and enchanting. Absolutely perfect!
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4.0 out of 5 stars :D, 14 July 2014
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This review is from: Stolen Songbird (Kindle Edition)
This is one of the best fantasy books I have ever read. It will make u cry, sigh in frustration over certain characters behaviour, cough Tristan cough, and wonder why characters, cough Tristan cough, just did that and think of how u would handle the situation would be better but obviously, sadly, it's fiction and we can't actually give advice to characters on how to handle certain things :( . Any way enough of My rambling on how infuriating but awesome a character is cough Tristan cough even though he means well even if it's at his cost. Ok I'll just say one more thing before I go off on a rant, READ IT!!
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Stolen Songbird
Stolen Songbird by Danielle Jensen
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