Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

 

Stolen Songbird
Stolen Songbird

 

Stolen Songbird
by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Strange Chemistry, 2014
E-book, Purchased
369 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: 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.

I cringed, though; for as much as I did not want to marry a troll, I was just as certain the troll didn’t want to marry me.

and

“I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face,” he said, ignoring my question. “Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things.”

Cheers

  • Such an interesting premise…with “trolls” trapped under a mountain by a witch’s curse.
  • The prophecy is the cause of Cécile‘s kidnapping, but it doesn’t seem to work. The questions abound after that: Is it a real prophecy? Does it need more time? Is she the right person? Is the prophecy misinterpreted? On purpose or accidentally? So many questions as we don’t know these people’s motivations.
  • So many things we don’t know the answers to yet. I like that in a story. A few things slowly take shape as the book progresses.
  • Cécile kidnapped, taken away from her family and everything  she knows. She’s brought into a totally strange situation, a place where nearly everyone else has magic, inside a mountain filled with darkness unless the Trolls magically light it for her. 
  • At first Cécile just wants to escape. But as she learns more about the trolls and half-bloods she begins to see the individual rather than the masses and she begins to care what happens to them all.
  • I like Ms. Jensen’s writing.
  • I love the glass gardens and Cécile singing in them. The trolls have created beauty in their dark home.
  • Everything isn’t as it seems on the surface. There is political unrest and there are intrigues within intrigues throughout the society.
  • It’s interesting that a certain amount of trade goes on between humans and trolls even though most humans have forgotten the trolls.
  • I like the French-based setting.

Jeers

  • I expected more about Cécile‘s singing based on the name of the book.

And a few thoughts

  • It took me several weeks to finish this. I had a couple other books to read between starting and finishing this one. That made it difficult to get back into this book, but that’s not the fault of Stolen Songbird. Once I got to jump back in I finished quickly! I especially enjoyed the last third of the book…lots of action.
  • I’m very sad to hear Strange Chemistry is closing down. I hope the rest of the books in this series will get published.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

I’m participating in the following reading challenges for this book:

  • The 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog.
  • The Book Bingo Challenge.

TBR Review: Cold Magic by Kate Elliott

TBR-reading-challgenge-2014Cold Magic is the book I’ve read for Wendy’s (The Misadventures of Super Librarian blog) TBR Challenge for March. The challenge this month is to read a new-to-me author from my TBR books and is posted on the third Wednesday of the month.

I’m also participating in the 2014 New Author Reading Challenge hosted at the Literary Escapism blog, in the TBR Pile Challenge hosted at the Bookish blog and in the Book Bingo Challenge.

69c91-coldmagicmassCold Magic
by Kate Elliott
Series: Spiritwalker, Book 1
Genre: Fantasy
Published by Orbit, 2010
E-book, Purchased
528 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: First volume in a fabulous fantasy adventure with a Victorian-era feel – featuring mages, dragons and two girls who’ll decide the fate of their world.

“What is freedom?” he asked bitterly, “and who is truly free? We are all bound by what we are, and where we come from.”
“Maybe,” I said slowly as I considered the turn my life had taken, the lies I had been told, “because we do not look farther than where we have been told to look. Perhaps it would all be different if we weren’t afraid of what we are. Or what we might become.”

What worked for me:

  • I like how complex this novel is. There are stories within stories and we never know quite what to believe. I had fun trying to unravel the geography and history. The characters are full of life.
  • Catherine (Cat) Hassi Barahal finds out nothing about her life is what it seems when Andevai Diarisso Haranwy arrives at her aunt and uncle’s home and presents a contract that says the eldest Hassi Barahal girl must marry him–a cold mage. Cat is two months older than her cousin Beatrice (Bee) and so she must marry the cold mage. A binding marriage immediately takes place and Cat and Andevai leave for his home. Thus begins a journey for Cat, Andevai and also Bee.
  • Cat is a strong character though it takes awhile for her to find that strength. By the end of the book she’s found strength though she’s still searching for who she is.
  • I like the sense of history. The first sentence of the book: “The history of the world begins in ice, and it will end in ice.”
  • The power of story is very important in this book. Cat has grown up reading her father’s journals. He traveled far and collected stories from the people he met. Cat discovers there is power in stories.
  • The setting for the book is an alternate Earth where magic, dragons, trolls, the spirit world are all real. Many things are similar to our world and it’s interesting to see parallels–the Roman Empire, the Phoenicians, Celts, Africans all play a part in the book. However, much is different. For example, much of the world is covered in ice.
  • Politics plays an important role. The world is changing. Technology and industry are starting to appear, but the cold mages want no part of that. The common people begin to rebel and question why they live under the rule of princes and cold mages.
  • At the beginning of the book an airship brings excitement to the city where Cat and Bee live, but also unrest and violence.
  • There is a hint of romance in the book which I like! In fact, at the beginning of the book I thought maybe it was fantasy romance since Cat ends up married to Andevai, but the story doesn’t follow a traditional romance. I’m glad romance isn’t the focus of this book.

 What didn’t work:

  • Pretty much everything worked for me. I like fantasy that doesn’t spell everything out. The beginning of the book is sometimes confusing, but I like that the reader doesn’t know everything.

My thoughts:

Cold Magic was a pleasure to read. Even though the book is over 500 pages I quickly read the book and look forward to reading the next book in the series–Cold Fire.