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4.7 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 23 August 2014
Why, Amazon, does your physical book listing have this as "Stolen Songbird (Malediction Trilogy 1)", and on the Kindle listing as just "Stolen Songbird"? I had no idea I was reading a part one until I virtually got to the end, when I realised that even for a last minute resolution, the author was cutting things a little fine. Instead of reaching a natural break point, the story just stops. No resolution, just a stop. I was, putting mildly, seriously annoyed! I hate being left high and dry when I've been expecting an end of some sort. Not the author's fault - all Amazon's for a curious listing.

So, gripe aside, what did I think of this much lauded book? Well, it's okay. It's narrated for the first 7 chapters by Cecile so when the viewpoint switched to Tristan at chapter 8 I didn't realise until things suddenly didn't make sense. I went back and saw "Tristan" at the chapter head and realised what had happened. After that, the narration switches between the two of them, but I think Cecile has the lion's share.

I found it hard to remember the main characters were only 17 - they read a few years older to me, especially Tristan. I thought Cecile settled in to her lot a tad too easily, all things considered, and I found the principle love story very hard to believe - thoughts of Stockhom Syndrome kept drifting through my head. She cottons onto things too quickly and from too few clues, and deals with nasty baddies with far too much aplomb for a 17 year-old apparently at sea in a totally alien environment.

That aside, the world building is quite good, but having finished it only last night, I find I'm struggling to remember how the troll's world was set up. I did wonder about the logistics of keeping that number of people in fresh food, and worried about Cecile not getting any sunlight - how was she going to keep her vitamin D levels up?! If my mind is drifting to things outside the story, it tends to suggest I'm either not enthralled (I was - I had no trouble keeping with this, and really wanted to know how things would resolve), or the world building is thin...

Will I read parts 2 and 3? Maybe, possibly - I'll try this one again in a bit and see how it settles when I know I'm reading part of something longer.
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DNF @ 49%

Book Fairy: what troubles you dear Goddess?

Goddess: I’m struggling with this book

Book Fairy: But why Goddess? The Cover looks gorgeous

Goddess: oh come on BF, you know not to judge…

Chorus: …a book by its cover!!!

Book Fairy: but the blurb was so exciting.

Goddess: unfortunately the book just isn’t. I’ve DNF’d it

Chorus: ooh!!!!! No!!!!

Book Fairy: such a shame. You wasted 2 hours reading it.

Goddess: yes, but there’s plenty of books out there so I’m not wasting anymore hours

Book Fairy: sounds ghastly.

Goddess: it wasn’t. It just wasn’t interesting enough to capture my attention.

Chorus: oohhh noooo!

Book Fairy: tedious?

Godddess: yes. Not terrible. Just meh.

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Negatives:

1. a poor-man’s Cassandra Clare.
2. Too childish, very little sophistication
3. Hero tries too hard to be witty, overly dramatic and only 17. She ought to have made him older.
4. The world building wasn’t very good.
5. The whole slavery and punishment thing was OTT
6. The hero is meant to be a troll but he’s super good-looking with no troll like features (he resembles a cliché vampire hero being tall, dark and handsome
7. The heroine wasn’t an interesting character. Other than her singing she’s pretty much bland.
8. The “banter” between was far too contrived.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Positives:
1. No insta-love
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on 1 April 2014
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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on 13 July 2016
I wasn't sure whether I had chosen the right book at first but once I "made myself" carry on I was glad that I did. The theme has overtones of other authors but most books do and it was written in such a way that it became original. I enjoyed the tension and the reasoning behind the tension too. Worth reading.
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on 3 April 2014
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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on 22 July 2014
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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on 17 April 2015
For the past year all I’ve heard about is Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen and being a big YA fantasy fan I knew this was something I wanted to read but when I started I don’t think I was prepared for the epicness that is this book!

On her seventeenth birthday Cécile is kidnapped and taken into the depths of Trollus, a city beneath a ruined mountain which is the home to thousands of Trolls. It is there that Cécile learns that the Trolls have been trapped for centuries after a witch placed a curse on them and Cécile has a role to play – she’s to marry the trollus prince in order to fulfil a prophecy that will set the trolls free.

The last thing Cécile wants is to be stuck beneath the mountain for the rest of her life and make a vow that she will do whatever it takes to get free. But the more time she spends in Trollus is the more she sees that there are many mysteries to uncover and the more time she spends with the troll prince the more finds she doesn’t hate him as she once thought.

Wow. Talk about mind-blown. This book is amazing! One I started, I couldn’t put it down and thank god that it was bank holiday weekend because I managed to read it all within two days. It’s such a beautiful and magical read that it was impossible to put down. It’s written perfectly that gives you enough information to create a perfect world building that makes you feel as though you’re there with the characters too. The magic was a great added touch that added to the mystery and beauty of the story and more importantly this is such a unique and strong read. I’ve not read much on Trolls myself, so for me this was a more enjoyable story because it was so completely unknown to me.

Not only does the author write a strong plot but she also writes strong characters too. Cécile has so much taken away from her but no matter what she remains strong and dedicated to her goals. But I loved that she was such an open minded character. She really makes this story. And Tristian, the prince of Trollus…..oh wow! I was expecting to like him like I did. He’s also a strong character but he has a role to play and sometimes that means not always being nice, but as the story progresses you end up loving him because he’s so lovable deep down. Cécile and his relationship is a slow burning one but one that makes you root for them from the start.

And the ending, that ending! The only good thing about reading the book this month means I only have to wait 2 months for Hidden Huntress which I’ve already pre-ordered. I can’t wait!
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on 31 January 2015
On the eve of beginning her new life with her mother as a opera singer Cecile is kidnapped and taken to the underground troll kingdom. A prophecy claims a girl of her likeness can break a 500 year old curse that traps the trolls under a mountain with only their magic keeping the roof from caving in.

This is a young adult novel with a plot of politics and freedom fighters taking president and the hatred and resentment Cecile feels for trolls and her husband developing into love as she gets over her childish, but understandable ways and made friends and feels for the half breed slaves.

Cecil in some ways was a good heroine, she took nothing sitting down and was a lady of action but this lead her to be rash at time which can be frustrating for readers. Tristan on the other hand is cool and level headed having played a game of lies between his father and court all his life in his hope of freeing the half breeds but containing trolls in the mountain so they could never enslave humanity again if they got free.

Firstly this is a young adult book so romance is limited to kissing but the amazing plot and complex society created makes up for it. Amazing, real characters and your hope that slavery will be abolished and your hatred of the king will unit readers and makes you feel like you are in the story, beware that when you start reading this book you will not be able to put it down. Meanwhile when you read Troll don't think monster Tristan is a handsome hero as well as many other characters, but we also get the disfigurement we can imagine, giving a contrasting array of characters.

This book is the first in the series so it ends with more questions than answers and will hold onto you for days, a must read for all.
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on 27 May 2014
Stolen Songbird is one my favourite books in a long time and had I read it last year, it would have been a strong competitor against books such as Clockwork Princess for the top spot. Luckily, however, I didn’t read it last year and therefore didn’t have to make that impossible choice. Instead Danielle L. Jensen has set the bar very high indeed for any book I am to read this year.

Since Clockwork Princess, I’ve not devoured a book so quickly, especially given that I was playing audiobook for my brother with this one. But neither of us could resist the incredible pull that Stolen Songbird, with its brilliant characters, entrancing magic, and fantastic stories had over us. We just had to keep reading, no matter if it got later into the night then we had originally planned.

Stolen Songbird starts with Cécile’s kidnapping by one of her acquaintances to be sold to the trolls that live under the mountain, or so say the old legends that Cécile only half believes. But the trolls are very much so real, as she discovers when she finds herself in the city of Trollus, buried under the mountain and trapped there by an old curse. Before she has truly had the time to register what is going on, Cécile finds herself bonded to the crown prince of Trollus, Tristan. And being bonded means far more for trolls than marriage does to humans.

Tristan isn’t any happier about the situation than she is, and they don’t get off to the best start together. He makes her feel unwanted, lesser for being human, and she can’t help but see the non-human in him, the ‘monster’ from the stories she has heard. But there is a lot more to trolls than Cécile first believes there to be. In Trollus, politics and magic are the most important things, and as she possesses no magic, Cécile pulls herself away from fear and despair, and decides to learn all she can, so she can play a part in the intricate intrigues of the trolls.

And Cécile has an important part to play: the trolls expect her to break the curse. As she gets to know Tristan’s friends and the half-bloods of the city better, she becomes more than just a tool, she becomes a force in her own right, refusing to let other people dictate what her life and decisions will be.

Opposite Cécile, as the other POV of the book, is Tristan. Seemingly cold and uncaring at first, Tristan is far more than just the icy exterior outside. Tristan has spent the last few years of his life building himself up to the man he is now: incapable of lying as all trolls are, he has learnt to bend his words to suit his purpose. But Cécile is melting away the exterior he has so carefully built up, and Tristan himself isn’t sure what he thinks of that.

Their relationship was one of the most compelling relationships I’ve read. I cared about every word exchanged in between them, every action they took towards the other in a way I don’t usually. I like there to be romance in a book, but I’m not normally on tenterhooks the entire way through the book wanting the characters to get that chance to get together, no matter what circumstances are trying to keep them apart. In that, Tristan and Cécile were very much so like Will and Tessa from Cassandra Clare’s The Infernal Devices series. I wanted them together.

Stolen Songbird is filled with amazing characters: from Marc and his quiet melancholy and fierce loyalty to Tristan, and the twins and their many quirks, to Trip who works in the mines and shows Cécile the other side of Trollus, the cast is more than varied and all the characters feel wonderfully fleshed out, neither human nor troll being left out.

This book was a wonderful adventure, full of intrigue and mysteries that made you want to just keep reading, and made it very hard to leave the world behind when the last page was turned. Jensen hooked me within the first few pages and never let go, the pacing perfect throughout the story. Stolen Songbird was the book I had been waiting to read for a long time: a totally enchanting trip into YA fantasy, with the perfect measure of romance, adventure, and intrigue.

On top of it all, and despite a set up where Cécile could very easily become a ‘damsel in distress’ stereotype (she does get kidnapped and is forcibly married to someone!), Jensen expertly avoids this and makes Cécile one of the strongest and most likeable YA heroines I have encountered. Add to that the fact that Tristan is so gentle and caring on the inside, as well as being the more insecure one in his relationship with Cécile (he is afraid she would lie to him, whereas he can’t), and the strengths of this book just keep on coming.

There are too many good things about Stolen Songbird for me to list them all. Suffice it to say that I didn’t want this book to end, I didn’t want to have to leave the cast and Trollus behind. Tristan and Cécile will certainly be a pair that I look forward to returning to, and book two of the Malediction trilogy is already on my list of anticipated reads for next year whilst Stolen Songbird has already set a very high bar for any book to top it as my favourite book of the year.
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on 3 July 2014
What can I say about this book without giving too much away? Yes the characters are frequently cliche but in a way that really works. It's so good to have a strong female character who isn't fighting against some youthful horror or abandonment, someone who is simply optimistic and wants to live. It's rather inspiring. And it's also good that she wasn't uncommonly smart or beautiful, beautiful yes but that was not a defining feature more did she make a big deal of her own I securities. I believe they were mentioned briefly once. And our male lead, although not as in depth in the description, keeping secrets even from the reader. He kept me on the edge of my toes. Never quite doing what I expected (and never what you really want).

So I'm off to search for the next one.

Happy reading
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