Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

From Goodreads: 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. 

My Rating: 3 hearts 

Thoughts on the Novel: Since I love fantasy and haven’t read a story about trolls yet, I was really looking forward to reading Danielle L. Jensen’s Stolen Songbird. Although the book ultimately didn’t live up to my expectations, it still turned out to be a decent read.

For me to enjoy a fantasy thoroughly, it’s crucial that I don’t question the worldbuilding. In Stolen Songbird, I was content to accept a world where trolls existed, were cursed to live under a mountain, and traded with some humans who knew about them. I wasn’t so satisfied with the worldbuilding though once it became clear that the story was set on Earth because very little explanation was provided about the human world outside Trollus. We also don’t find out where Trollus is situated on Earth. Personally, if a fantasy involves creatures other than faeries, I prefer that it be set in a fictional world.

Another thing that wasn’t well explained was Tristan’s physical appearance. According to the novel, all the royal trolls are physically disfigured due to inbreeding. Yet the crown prince of the trolls is the most handsome “man” that Cecile has ever seen! I hope there’s a deeper reasoning behind the decision to not have Tristan suffering from disfiguration other than the fact that it’s easier for both Cecile and the reader to fall in love with a good-looking troll than an scary-looking one.

Speaking of Cecile, even though her situation seemed impossible, I liked that she continued trying to find ways out of Trollus … at least until she realized that she was in love with Tristan. I thought the transition from hate to love was a bit too sudden, and wasn’t very pleased that Cecile was the one who had to sacrifice everything – and was willing to do so – to live with Tristan (under a mountain!). 

Stolen Songbird will be released by Strange Chemistry on April 1, 2014. 

Comments About the Cover: I love the font, and think the cover does a good job of indicating that the novel is a fantasy. 

In exchange for an honest review, this book was received from the publisher (Strange Chemistry) for free via NetGalley.
original image from thegate.ca

7 comments:

  1. Not sure about this one, Z. The reviews have been all over the place. Frankly reading about trolls doesn't sound all that appealing to me, maybe because I immediately think of those creepy dolls that were the fad in the 90s. Lol, anyways I'll keep an eye on this one but I won't pick it up soon. Sorry it didn't meet your expectations!

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  2. Awww too bad Z! I have my review of this one going up tomorrow and I adored it, but you do make some good points. I tend to be perfectly content with things like the hero being beautiful even when most of his kind have some kind of disfigurement. I just never question things like that, not sure why. Glad it was still a decent read for you though!

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  3. Sounds like there are a lot of holes in the worldbuilding. Its the same for me where if I'm reading a story and its set of Earth I would at least like to know which part of the world its set in.

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  4. Hmm yeah, I know what you mean about needing good world building in my fantasies. Sometimes I can let it pass if I like everything else about the book, but it's hard wen you have other issues, as well. I'm curious about the whole troll thing though, so I think I may still try this one out sometime.

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  5. I think this is the first review I've read that wasn't overwhelmingly positive, so it's actually kind of good to have tempered expectations. I'm not always as huge a stickler for world-building if there are other things I enjoy, though, so I'm still curious about this one. Thanks for the honest review.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  6. Aw, too bad about the world building. I like it when there is explanation and background to a world because I WANT it to make sense, you know? Sounds like a fairly good read other than that.

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  7. I keep seeing this one everywhere! Anyway, I really like the enemies-turned-lovers trope but since you also mentioned "sudden," I'll have to reconsider.

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