ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

ARC Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Stolen Songbird
The Malediction Trilogy #1
by Danielle L. Jensen

Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: April 1st, 2014
by Strange Chemistry

Format: eARC


Amazon | Book Depository

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 received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Stolen Songbird, while clearly good, was also boring. Boring because of the length of the novel. There were points where I drifted off or times when I had to re-read the scene because I was just bored. This book could have been condensed to 2/3rds the size and would have been a LOT more enjoyable. As it is, what could have been an excellent read was merely good.

The book opens with a music lesson and us getting to know about how talented Cecile is. She is kidnapped on the day of her birthday and brought to the Trollus kingdom, a kingdom everybody thought was lost. A kingdom  that has been trapped by a curse, a kingdom of which most of the inhabitants haven’t had a glance of the outside in centuries. A kingdom she might have the power to save for it has been prophesied that when a daughter of sun and prince of night unite, the curse will be broken.

Cecile was a pretty good female lead. Instead of being all fierce and trying to find a way out and look for hope in places it doesn’t exist, she has a break down. Now this isn’t considered an admirable characteristic but I did admire her for crying. I admired her for the way she mourned the loss of her future and the loss of any choice she had over her life. It was a realistic reaction. She had realized there would be no escape for her and after a couple days of moping she lifted her head and decided to make the best of the situation. She immersed herself in the community and learned more about the treatment of the half-bloods and so she found herself amidst a revolution. And no. She didn’t jump in and decide to revolt because she isn’t stupid. Thank god for that. She had to see for herself, she needed to know what she would be sacrificing her life for and seeing that she was married to one of them, she couldn’t just jump head first into the revolution. One of my favorite things about her was her manipulation skills. She was CLEVER. She finds loopholes, she finds people’s weaknesses and uses that to her own advantage. Most of all, she isn’t perfect. She is talented yes, but her talents cannot really help her out of the situation she was in, she has to use the good ole guess and check method and in the end, you cannot help but admire her.

Tristan on the other hand was meh. The only thing I liked about him was how he gave Cecile the opportunity to make her own choices. He gave up his own happiness to ensure that she would have a choice. However, he also lied, kept her in the dark for the most part and well I just didn’t care about him. The bits we got from his POV made his voice sound so similar to Cecile’s that at one point I thought I was reading from Cecile’s point of view until I realized I wasn’t.  He may have been strong and driven but he did nothing for me, it was instead his cousin Marc that grabbed my attention.

Marc Marc Marc. Why couldn’t he have been the love interest? He was, hands down, my favorite character. He is imperfect, heartbroken and loyal to a fault. He also has a moral compass but because of his loyalty to his own cousin and the rest of the trolls, it’s hard for him to speak up. He is a good guy and all around intriguing. Something about him just draws you in.

The rest of the secondary characters were pretty well developed as well and I enjoyed reading about them and learning their stories.

The romance, as you might have guessed, did not work for me. Had Marc been the love interest, things would have been more interesting but as it is, I had to watch two pretty people (yes pretty people syndrome) dance around each other trying to figure out their feelings. There was plenty of angst and I sensed some insta-love. I didn’t think the romance was developed well enough. This could have been because I went in expecting a love-hate relationship but instead got a relationship that developed too quickly for my tastes. I never really sensed a proper disdain that should have been present given the circumstances. Cecile caught on the jealousy bug pretty quick and Tristan at some point confessed that it had been a case of insta-lust for him.

The idea of a bonding should have bothered me (overused in many cases) but it didn’t. The author pulled it off very well and I found the idea to be very original because it offers one thing the whole soul-mate thing doesn’t. It offers choice. Which to me is really important.

Moving on to the world building; it pains me to say that it was not as fantastic as it could have been. Or perhaps I couldn’t appreciate it because of the painful length of the novel. It was good. Well done even. I found myself feeling claustrophobic because of the darkness and being buried within a mountain but the problem is that in spite of all that, I never became starry eyed because of the world building. In a fantasy, I believe that the world building is one of the most important factors and if it doesn’t impress you, well then you’re in for a painfully long time. Moreover, I was extremely disappointed by the idea of trolls this book presented. It’s fairly easy to guess what these trolls actually are and well, I watched Frozen not so long ago so yes, perhaps I was expecting little ugly green trolls and yes evil isn’t always ugly (as Tristan pointed out) BUT the trolls in this book seemed so painfully human for the most part. The only major differences were that they were super powerful, had magic and weren’t as delicate. Where is the originality in that? Sure, it’s different, but to me that different was not an advantage.

Can I point out that this book was fricking long because I don’t think I can emphasize that enough. It’s like the motif of my review. That this book was long. So long that my eyes glazed, that I procrastinated while reading, that my eyes skimmed over scenes, that I had to re-read some of the important ones to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Which made it really hard to enjoy the plot. It also felt like the plot had been stretched thin. There were a lot of scenes where nothing major was happening and the climax of this book didn’t happen until nearly the end. For the most part I was stuck in a world of politics in which I was not fully invested. The book had its moments but they were few and far in between (seeing that this book was so long).

The ending was when the book picked up, that’s when I really got involved with the characters and what was happening. Relationships grew stronger and the plot reached its peak. The book ended on a very interesting note. It could be called a cliff-hanger but it’s so full of hope that all I want is the next book.

I’d recommend this book just so you can read the sequel, which I am pretty sure will be awesome. This book, it seemed to me, was more of a peak into what this world the author has developed could hold for us and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.

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Rashika is a mysterious creature who likes to hide in the shadows. It's impossible to get to know her but if you must know, she is a huge bookworm. She also happens to have a huge sweet tooth so you can always lure her over the dark side by offering her something sweet (or bribing her with books).


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  1. says

    Yep, pretty much what you said although the central issues I had were very different. And they are practically fae. right? The only similarity with traditional trolls is that they love gold. I expected something like Frozen, too. Tristan was the only character that I felt was different/unique, all the rest started to blur into another soon enough.
    Stuti recently posted…She Is Not InvisibleMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Yup. I don’t mind a long book so long as the pages fly by. If they aren’t flying by.. and you’re drifting off, something is wrong. :P

    • Rashika says

      Honestly, I just thought the pages dragged on for quite a while and it wasn’t until the ending that something happened so yeah :/
      YES. YES YES. Penelope needs to come back and give Marc the happy ending he so badly deserves.

      Thanks Aimee! :)

    • Rashika says

      SAME HERE. World building is always something I look forward too :)
      Lengths of novels don’t scare me either but this one just felt impossibly long. It dragged on and on and there wasn’t much happening so it made it harder to read :/

  2. says

    Ugh shame that the romance didn’t work out but I’m glad that the protagonist and Marc were great characters! I love when a character that isn’t the protagonist or the love interest manages to capture your attention, because it’s always just so fun! Sorry the world-building didn’t work out for you though! I really hate when a book is unnecessarily long, as well, because I feel like my time’s been wasted with superfluous scenes, and all I can think of is how to make my reading experience shorter. Fantastic review, Rashika! <33

    • Rashika says

      Same here. I like liking characters that aren’t the MCs.
      I didn’t feel like it was a complete waste of time but I was majorly disappointed since this was one of my most awaited books AND I love fantasy. It should have been able to captivate me more than it had.
      Thanks Eileen! :)

    • Rashika says

      Fantasy is my favorite genre so I usually dive into a book with huge expectations and it sucks when all my hopes go down the drain :/

    • Rashika says

      Some books are just not meant to be that long :/
      For me, there wasn’t enough substance in this book to make it as long as it was… it was all just stretched out.

      Thanks Rachel! :)

    • Rashika says

      I get bored easily and it’s hard for something to grasp my attention completely. Yeah.. I feel like the black sheep :P

      Thanks Mel!! :)

    • Rashika says

      It is :( Yup, I’ve read several books that would have been better if they weren’t so annoyingly long :/

      Thanks Joy!! :)

  3. says

    If I saw this book in a bookstore, I would definitely assume that it wouldn’t be for me. but despite the length of this book and insta love you have me intrigued about the ending Rashika and I’m glad that it’s given you high hopes about jumping into the next book. And I always hate it when the potential love interest I like doesn’t get chosen :( Gorgeous review!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Faking Normal by Courtney C. StevensMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      I would probably buy it just for the pretty cover :P :P (Shallow me)

      YAY! most people actually enjoyed the romance so perhaps it depends on the reader, what felt like insta-love to me, you might find to be well developed :) (I know one of my friends did).

      I KNOW RIGHT? There have been several occasions (not considering love triangles) where the guy I like isn’t actually the love interest :P It sucks.

      Thanks Jasprit!! :)

    • Rashika says

      Doesn’t it? With it’s gorgeous cover.. and the bit about kidnapping.. it definitely had potential.. potential that wasn’t explored as well as it could have.

      Half the time, I kept on checking how many more pages were left. I was BORED for quite a few bits.

  4. says

    Eh, yes. I have heard that it’s fairly boring throughout some of the parts, but at the end of the day is a great novel. Yours is the lowest rating I have seen so far, btw :D “It was a realistic reaction.” agreed–that’s all I want from characters–to be realistic and believable. That’s the easiest way to connect with them and their struggles. Lols! I’m sorry you didn’t fancy the love interest. Then you probably aren’t as happy to hear that the sequel will have more of his POV? Haha, I can deal with insta-lust, but insta-love is just.. another thing entirely *makes a face* I’m sorry this wasn’t perfect for you, but I’m glad you found this enjoyable as a whole, Rashika:)
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Into the Still Blue by Veronica RossiMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Really? I know one of my friends gave it the exact same rating (except she rounded up and I rounded down :P).

      Exactly! If I cannot relate with the characters or at least understand them, I am not going to like the book. Unless it’s a satire :P Satires are on a completely different scale.

      I actually think the author might improve with the POV because an interview with the author I read on Mel’s blog stated that the author felt like she shouldn’t have included his POV in this book. If she realizes that it wasn’t all that great, then I think she might be able to improve on it :)

      HAHA.. insta-lust makes some sense but insta-love doesn’t :P

      Thanks Siiri! :)

  5. says

    Awe, I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy this one as much. Personally I loved this one, gave it 4.5 stars. I did find the length a little too much, but still flew through the pages. I think the rating for this one will differ on how captivated by the storyline and attached to the characters you were. Sadly it sounds like you weren’t overly captivated or attached.

    Lovely review! <33
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    • Rashika says

      I am glad you loved this one!! :) I know most people did.. and I also know that one complaint most people have is the length but I am glad that wasn’t that big of an issue for you.

      Definitely. If the story cannot grasp your attention and reel you in, you’re not going to love it, it’s true for most books, especially in the fantasy genre.

      Thanks Larissa!! :)

  6. says

    Well as I’m sure you know fantasy is not my genre lolz. (This will forever be funny to me, now) But this sounds like it could have been really good with the whole kidnapping bit. For some reason I love books that have to do with kidnappings. Yeah I’m an odd duck! >.< But dunno they usually freak me out but fascinate me all the same. I also like how realistic Cecile seems like as a character. I love strong, fierce MCs as much as the next but they don't always seem realistic or easy to relate to. Sounds liek this one should have just been shorter and it would have made for a more solid story.
    Giselle recently posted…Review: Nil by Lynne MatsonMy Profile

    • Rashika says

      Nope. It’s definitely not getting old. :P I still laughed :D
      I LIKE KIDNAPPING SITUATIONS TOO!!! But not too much in the contemporary genre because things have the potential to get icky.

      I agree, sometimes I feel like the MCs like that are overdone so instead of seeming strong and fierce, they just seem annoying and lack self-preservation.

      Some stories just aren’t meant to be 400+ pages (that’s how long the published copies will be.. according to goodreads).

  7. says

    I’m glad you enjoyed this despite the length and the romance not being up to par, Rashika. I love fantasy and I understand the need for the books to be long at times, but it seems like some scenes could have been cut off from this book. Regardless, I’m quite excited for it because so many people seem to love it and the concept sounds rather cool.
    Now that you’ve mentioned Marc, I’m probably going to be rooting for him instead of the real love interest! :P
    I do love the sound of the MC. Realistic MC’s are kind of hard to find, especially in fantasy, where they are all badass, so I’m glad that this girl isn’t perfect.
    Great review!
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    • Rashika says

      And secretly ship the two together :P

      I love it when books are long, so long as I actually enjoy reading them.. I’d rather finishing a book didn’t become a chore like it did in this case :(

      Thanks Nick! :)

    • Rashika says

      The lowest I saw was 3 stars :) Which is still pretty good :P

      The length of this book just made it hard for me to enjoy the book because I was so aware of it. Long books are not a bad thing, it all depends on whether the book really need to be that long or not.

      LOL that’s a good choice, especially after the cliffhanger!

      Thanks Amir! :)

    • Rashika says

      The majority did in fact enjoy it so I felt like a total black sheep :P
      I am glad you enjoyed it though!

      Thanks Tanja! :)

    • Rashika says

      YES. Oh god the book was LONG. I mean fantasy books should be long, otherwise there would be no fun but there simply wasn’t enough substance in the plot to make that long of a book enjoyable for me. :/
      I was SO glad to read your review because being the black sheep is NOT fun :P

      Thanks Keertana!! :)