Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication date: April 1st 2014
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
First and foremost i would like to warn you. If you think you can just read a few chapters before bedtime, think again.
Before you know it its gonna be dawn and you're gonna realize you read through the night...again.
Ok lets get back to the story.
Cécile de Troyes, 17 year old farmers daughter prepared her whole life for performing on stage. Right before her dream could be realised she was kidnapped and taken deep under the mountain where she was promptly sold for her wight in gold.
Who was the buyer?
The trolls of the lost city of Trollus (which is thought to be destroyed when a mountain fell on top of them)
Why do they want her?
It is predicted that her betrothal to the troll prince Tristan would end the curse put on them and set them free.
What does Cécile do?
Try to runaway? Yes
Divluges into a slobbering pitiful whiny mess? NO!
She does not, she calculates, gathers information, learns and try's her damnedest to find a way to break free.
Her decision partly changes when she learns of the social statuses of the half breeds (half human half troll people that live in the city )
In the city of Trollus those with high magical power are set to rule the city, and those that have none are reduced to life of servitude and manual labour.
Those too sick or injured are thrown into the labyrinth to be eaten by slaug a creature out of this world.
And the troll nobility so few between them have taken to copulate between themself making the children half deranged and mutilated.
Cecile is the fair skinned, red haired girl with the voice of an angel conveniently prophecised to free the tolls of their stony prison. One would think we have yet another useless young adult heroine on our hand, right?
But alas that is not the case here, for Cécile is also smart, cunning and resourceful.
She tries her best and owns her mistakes, learns from them. She has compassion even for those who cruelly took her and enslaved her, tries to put the differences behind and understand them.And it's tough, humans in Trollus are worth nothing, especially against trolls who are stronger, faster and smarter then humans. It would be easy for her to just play the "I am a week useless human" card, she does not. Aware of her limitations Cecile plays strategic games in order to find a solutions to her problems.
Tristan the future king of Trollus, is dead set on changing the ruling of his father, and hopes for the curse not to be broken. His view of life is much more real, he understands the trolls on a whole different level than Cécile and understands the sacrifices he would have to make for his people to be free. His cold demeanour and ruthless disposition hide the scarred heart of a fragile boy who is not confident as he presents himself to be.
I felt for them , both of them. It is clear that neither of them wanted to be in a situation like this. But they made the most of it, in a manner that felt very real to me. And at the end of the day, despite the fact that they are both still children, they made some remarkably adult choices that i rarely see portrayed in a young adult novel.
The relationship was great, it had the beginning, the middle and the end clearly drawn. The process of falling in love was gradual. There where moments in the story where i felt that Cecile was suffering from Stockholm syndrome, and later it became clear that the author wanted us to think that, even Tristan felt it.
The author made extensive development, not just of the story but of all characters.
And trough Cécile we don't only discover Trollus as a city but other characters as well. We get to see both sides of the coin.
He was perhaps my brother’s age, and particularly handsome. The light of the orb reflected in his silvery grey eye as though the glow came from within. I’d never met anyone in my life with eyes like his.
The two sides of his face, so flawless on their own, were like halves of a fractured sculpture put back together askew.The lack of symmetry was more than unsettling – it was shocking, gruesome even. One eye higher than the other. One ear lower than the other. A mouth marred by a permanently sardonic twist.
The scenery of Trollus is beautiful, and you get lost within descriptions of it, from the gardens trough the mines and the magic.
Fountains and statues graced every corner. In a place of greenery stood gardens of glassworks sculpted into trees, bushes, and flowers. The delicate displays would not have lasted more than a month exposed to the elements above ground. Then again, hailstorms likely did not trouble Trollus.
The first half of the book is a little slow so bear with it, the second half will blow you away.
The climax and the end was like, whoa, wait a second.
It ends in a cliffhanger so great that you'll want to read the next instalment right this second.
I'ts the first time in a long while where I am scared for the characters, for every single one of them.
Everyone is talking about the lack of insta-love/triangles, and it's sad that we have to rejoice about not having them, that it becomes this big deal that a young adult novel is about growing up, making choices not motivated by love instead of weak willed girl whose only purpose in life is to find a true love and all of her actions are driven to that.
For all those who are not sure if it's their thing i will just say that Social Inequality of Hunger Games meets Political Subterfuge of Game of Thornes with a sprinkle of ( interspecies?) romance. What more do you need?