Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase
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.
I really don’t know where to start with this review, this book has left me with so many emotions and things to discuss. Let’s hope I can turn this review into comprehensible sentences that showcase my love for this story on the level it deserves.
Stolen Songbird stands out to me from any other books I’ve read in quite a long time. It features a mythical creature I don’t believe I’ve read about in YA before: trolls. Trolls are monstrous, deformed, dangerous and don’t exist anymore, according to humans. The characterization of the trolls themselves was quite interesting, you got to see the main character’s stereotypical thoughts slowly develop into a deeper understanding of the trolls. Things aren’t simply black and white, and the political intricacy of Trollus clearly demonstrates that. There’s a clear divide between pure blood trolls and half bloods, who are half human and half troll. You can’t help but feel sympathetic for the half bloods when you get snapshots of their slave like lives. There’s also some who are sympathizers, who secretly side with a certain group. There’s many secrets to uncover and things aren’t crystal clear. Not only is there that divide but there’s an prophecy, a witch’s curse and a rebellion brewing. There was so much going on with the plot, I couldn’t help but be drawn to this story and couldn’t flip through the pages fast enough.
The main character gets thrust into this world of Trollus, full blood trolls reign supreme. Trollus was a unique world that I don’t believe I’ve read anything like before. The trolls are forced to live in this cave deep within a mountain, due to a witch’s curse. You’d think that having the setting in a cave would be quite limiting, however Danielle manages to do some magnificent world building that makes the world of Trollus truly come to life. You get to see everything, from the highly opulent palace life of the monarchy to the squalor and mistreatment of the half bloods. The setting felt very realistic and I loved reading about it.
Cécile was the main character of this book and I quite enjoyed her as such throughout the course of this entire novel. I think my love for her can be attested to the huge character development she goes through during the book. At the beginning you see a fairly good singer from a small village with some big aspirations. The story then gets turned on its head as she gets kidnapped and is introduced to this complex world of Trollus. She’s forced to marry a troll prince in order to break a curse. Cécile has no contact to her family or much hope of easily returning to her old life. There’s whispers of a rebellion. Some heroines I know would spend the entire course of the story crying and whining about this while accomplishing basically nothing. Thankfully, Cécile isn’t the type. She’s courageous, strong willed, caring and defiant. Yeah, she’s pretty angry about being kidnapped and thrust into this new world. Cécile doesn’t roll over and blindly accept her fate, but she also doesn’t mope around. Instead, Cécile educates herself about this new world. She notices the treatment of the half bloods and ends up overcoming her prejudices to sympathize with them. Cécile begins to dedicate herself to a higher cause. Though I’ve focused on her positive attributes, Cécile also has her faults. She makes mistakes and some poor choices, which she even admits to. She’s truly human and imperfect which made her so easy to relate to. You can’t help but cheer a heroine like Cécile on.
There’s also some amazing side characters in Stolen Songbird, who actually play a role in the main character’s life and aren’t simply there for the sake of being there. I was particularly drawn to Anaïs, who could have easily fallen prey to that exceedingly common mean girl trope. Instead she goes through some spectacular character development and you get to truly understand the character on a whole new level. I really quite adored her. There’s also Marc, another troll which acts like a friend to Cécile. He has a very tragic backstory which will definitely pull at your heartstrings. Though Marc wasn’t overtly mentioned in the book, when he appeared Marc packed quite the punch. I’d love to see more of him in the future books of the series. It’s always nice to have a male in a book who has a purely platonic relationship to the main character, with no romantic complications involved. I feel like the author could have easily gone and made a love triangle involving Marc, the prince and Cécile. However I’m quite glad she didn’t.
Speaking of romance, in Stolen Songbird I found it to be wonderfully done. The romance between Cécile and Tristan was beautifully developed, void of any insta-love. It was definitely build slowly, which made it more authentic. There were some problems with the relationship and some serious trust issues. There were so many cute moments between the two, I definitely squealed once or twice.
“Tell me you’ll grow strong again. That you’ll gallop on horseback through summer meadows. Dance in spring rains and let snowflakes melt on your tongue in winter. That you’ll travel wherever the wind takes you. Promise me.”
If the above quote didn’t make you swoon, then I don’t know what will. Cécile and Tristan had some crazy chemistry and it was great for a romance to involve two characters I actually loved. This made sense and made the relationship seem even more realistic. The relationship was involved in the book quite a bit, but never overshadowed the fact that a uprising was bubbling up. Tristan was a great love interest, at first he was fairly cold but he warmed up as the story moved forward. His humor made me laugh on more than one occasion. Tristan has a strong sense of duty to the people of Trollus as he’s next in throne. He doesn’t share his father’s enjoyment of an oppressive monarchy. He cares about all of his subjects, half blood or not. This was a romance I supported one hundred percent.
Sacrifice for the people of Trollus and sacrifice for Cécile is a big part of Tristan himself and the romance of this book. For me this was clearly displayed in the ending of the book. It was a painful one for sure. It broke my heart and actually made me cry, which hasn’t happened yet this year. It was probably also one of my favorite endings this year too. It was full of action and emotion. I can’t really delve into the ending without spoiling anything, but I can definitely say it packs a punch.
My only complaints for this one would be the length, I feel like some bits could have been cut out which would have made for a more short book. This book was primarily told in Cécile’s POV however Tristan’s POV would pop up every now and again. I found Tristan’s POV well done, however I don’t really think it was necessary.
Overall Stolen Songbird an fantastic debut. The book had an amazing cast of developed characters, an intriguing plot, an swoon- worthy romance and an ending that’ll have you itching for the next book. I’d definitely recommend it.
~Thank you Strange Chemistry for sending me this copy!~
Latest posts by Larissa (see all)
- I Guess This Is Goodbye - August 28, 2015
- Discussion Review: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes - July 20, 2015
- Review: Survive the Night by Danielle Vega - July 4, 2015
- Mini Reviews: Historical Fiction Struggles - June 20, 2015