Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy Series #1) by Danielle L. Jensen
Hi there readers! Today I'm really excited to be a part of the Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen Blog Tour. After reading Stolen Songbird, I had to share this wonderful book with you guys. Today I have my review, a great interview post from Danielle L. Jensen, and a chance to win a copy of her book Stolen Songbird.
For those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling comes another truly fabulous fantasy...
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.
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #1
Young Adult, Fantasy, Magic, Romance
Publication Date: April 1st, 2014
Strange Chemistry, 436 pages
My Rating: 5 Stars
Source: ARC Publisher
The Malediction Series
Danielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination.
My Review of Stolen Songbird
Sometimes, one must do the unthinkable
Stolen Songbird is book one of The Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen. Between the pages of this fantastical tale, you will find a world inhabited by trolls who have a mighty curse placed upon them. There's an enigmatic and sardonic troll prince to swoon over, a clever and talented heroine to admire, and a setting that is literally beneath an enchanted mountain. Filled with intricate political intrigue, this book is both smart and exciting. Stolen Songbird is a captivating new fantasy tale that is filled with magic, romance, and intrigue.
The author Danielle L. Jensen waste no time in her story and within thirty pages or so she has our young heroine Cécile de Troyes kidnapped and taken to Forsaken Mountain where she fights off giant slithering-slugs, meets the sardonic prince, and is informed that she is about to become the next Trollus Princess.
"This is the one."
"Are you certain?" the King asked from his perch on the throne. "She rather smells."
"She meets all the criteria given to us by the foretelling. You do sing, don't you?" the troll woman asked.
"Yes," I croaked, not knowing why it mattered. "What do you intend to do with me?"
"Why, to bond you to our dear Tristan," the troll said, smiling at me. "You are to be a princess of Trollus and mother of his children; and in doing so, you will set us all free."
Stolen Songbird's world-building is amazing. I could easily picture this vast, underground kingdom created by the trolls, and the dark beauty of it. Through Cécile's eyes the reader feast on the lost city's beauty along with the dark, cursed trolls that call Trollus their home. The majority of the story takes place in Trollus so there's plenty of magic and world-building to keep readers happy.
The plot is intricate and filled with tension and a well-paced story. Immediately there is a sense that there is much more going on than a curse to break and a kidnapping. Stolen Songbird has its own royal intrigue and political agendas going on, keeping us on our toes as we follow along. The conflict Prince Tristan faces between the half-blooded trolls and the royal houses use of slavery add tension and conflict, and kept me eager to find out, who was on what side, and what agendas were being played out.
"Listen to me, Cécile, and listen well. You've landed yourself in a pit of vipers, each slyer and deadlier than the next. They are incapable of lying, but that does not mean they cannot deceive."
What about Tristan, Cécile, and the Trolls? The characters are well-rounded, fascinating, and a real treat to read. Cécile is a breath of fresh air as far as heroines go. She is clever, a gifted singer, and a bit unlady- like. Raised a simple country girl, she's practical and realistic. Gifted with a beautiful voice she dreams of becoming an opera singer like her famous, but, unavailable mother. Once she is thrust into this legendary world of trolls, magic and curses she falters a few times, but rises to the occasion which I admired and liked a lot about Cécile. Her sympathy and kindness towards the half-blooded trolls plight are what really makes her such a wonderful heroine, plus her clever way of handling some of the courtly intrigues that is thrown her way.
Tristan. Yes, he is definitely swoon-worthy. He has this complex personality, and darkly- sardonic humor about him that I loved. The prince is caught between the foretelling that involves Cécile and the curse being broken, his responsibility to the Trollus kingdom, and the half-blooded trolls bound in slavery.
He looked like Prince Charming from the fairytales, except for one thing: Prince Charming was human, and the boy standing in front of me was decidedly not. His skin was too flawless, his motions too smooth and controlled. My skin prickled with a sense of wrongness.
There's plenty of secondary characters that I really enjoyed reading about as well. The actual royal family of full-blooded trolls and the half-blooded trolls make up a really interesting cast of characters, as well as some dangerous creatures and sinister villains. Many you won't soon forget.
What about the romance? Stolen Songbird's romance is the slow-burning kind. No love triangles. There is immediate chemistry between Cécile and Tristan, a fascination with one-another. Two people from two completely different realms brought together by a curse. For those of you who like sassy banter, there's plenty. This is a couple that interacts, talks, discusses, plots and makes plans. There's work to be done, and by the end of the story, you will feel this couple can do most anything together, with or without magic.
The ending is a cliffhanger, and I'm already wanting to find out what happens next of course. There's plenty to look forward to. I'm excited to learn more about the mythology/backstory of the trolls, the curse, and Tristan and Céciles' abilities to be revealed. I'm so excited for this series.
In the End
Highly recommended to fantasy lovers, perfect for young adults and adults. If you're excited about the new trend of "High Fantasy" that is showing back up more and more in the young adult literature, you should definitely give Stolen Songbird a try.
Interview with Danielle L. Jensen about Stolen Songbird
Welcome Danielle! Can you please tell us what inspired you to write Stolen Songbird and Cécile and Tristan's story?
Thanks for having me!
Typically, my inspiration to write a particular story comes from an idea about character and situation. Stolen Songbird was quite a bit different in that the inspiration came from a dream I had about a city that had been buried by rubble. The story and the characters developed out of the questions I asked myself about who would live in such a place and why. I wrote a blog post about it here: http://syntaxreviews.blogspot.ca/2014/03/stolen-songbird-blog-tour.html?spref=tw
How did you feel after seeing the gorgeous cover? How does the tagline "Sometimes, one must do the unthinkable" relate to the story?
Authors don’t have as much control over covers as everyone likes to think, so it’s pretty nerve-wracking waiting to see what the image will look like. I was getting ready to go to work in the morning when the email with the draft images showed up, and the happiness/relief/excitement I felt when I saw them had me shaking.
Tristan says the tagline twice in the novel. The first time he is talking about something Cécile has to do to survive, and the second time he is talking about one of the darker aspects of his revolutionary plans.
Can you tell us about how you came up with the idea of writing about trolls and some of the research that went into creating the unique mythical world of Forsaken Mountain and the Kingdom of Trollus.
I didn’t so much decide to write about trolls as realize once I was several chapters deep that trolls were what I was writing about. The joy of being a pantser rather than a plotter is that I tend to be as surprised at what ends up on the page as any reader. To add a bit on my answer to your first question, the city itself was inspired by a dream, but the mountain is inspired by real mountain that I have visited many times. I have a blog post in the works in which I talk about the mountain, so stay tuned for that! As far as research goes, Trollus is very much a figment of my imagination, so it isn’t really a product of research. It’s a product of daydreaming.
Did you have any fun research moments?
The trolls’ palace is loosely based on Versailles, and I really enjoyed doing a virtual tour of the images that are everywhere online.
Can you tell us a little more about Cécile, Tristan and the trolls themselves? Is this a case of beauty is in the eye of the beholder, or what is on the outside does necessarily represent what is in the inside?
Both. The trolls are, to a certain extent, a product of their environment, which is to say that they haven’t always been the way they are now. In some ways they have evolved and in some ways they have devolved, but other than their coloration, they aren’t uniform in appearance. I’m hesitant to use the word theme, because I don’t write with themes in mind, but the idea of whether insides (personality, emotions, etc.) reflect outsides is pervasive throughout the story.
What was the hardest part about writing Stolen Songbird? What was your favorite part?
The hardest part was working out the intricacies of the politics. My favourite part was developing the romance.
What can you tell us about upcoming books in The Malediction Trilogy series, or something new you're working on?
I’m working on finishing the second book, so I can’t really talk too much about it because it could still change!
What's the best advice that you can give to aspiring writers?
The best thing you can do is to keep working at becoming a better writer, because that’s the one thing you really have control over. Other than that, all you can do is be tenacious
And Just for fun:
What books are on your must-read list at the moment?
Cruel Beauty and The Winner’s Curse
Tell us three things someone would be surprised to know about you.
I used to wear a business suit to work every day.
I hate cooking. Left to my own devices, I primarily eat Subway.
I used to be a competitive horseback rider.
If you could have a super/paranormal power what would it be?
Extreme powers of observation.
Thank you Danielle for stopping by and giving us a inside look at your new book Stolen Songbird!