By: Larissa | February 17, 2014 | (40) Comments

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenStolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: April 1st, 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Pages: 436
Source: Received in exchange for review
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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!~

 

4.5 Stars
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Larissa was born and still is living in the land of ice, snow and maple syrup. She's 18 years old and really has no idea what to do with her life lately. Larissa's plans are constantly changing--though there’s one thing has remained constant throughout her seventeen years, and that’s reading. It takes her to another world and puts her into impossible situations and that’s why she loves it so much.

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40 Responses to Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

  1. Wow, Cecile sounds like an amazing, strong character that you could really get behind! I’ve heard so many good things about this one now and wish I jumped at the chance for the ARC. That quote was amazing so romantic <3 lovely review Larissa!
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Review: Love is undyingMy Profile

  2. Trolls! Yes! I can’t remember the last time I read a book about trolls. It was probably that story about the troll under the bridge 🙂

    Lovely review.
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Review: The Fellowship of the Ring (my precioussss)My Profile

  3. Jasprit says:

    Larissa this book sounds absolutely amazing! I am a huge fan of Graceling and Seraphina, so I’m always on the lookout for something similar which I would enjoy and Stolen Songbird sounds exactly like it does. I like my heroines fierce like Cécile and of course gorgeous chemistry between characters, this book I’m sure will be a win for me too! Lovely review!
    Jasprit recently posted…Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa KantorMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      It really was. I’ve never actually read Graceling or Seraphina, though I’ve heard so many great things about both of them. I think you’d enjoy this one, Cécile is definitely a strong heroine. The chemistry was amazing 🙂 Thank you!

  4. Lexa Cain says:

    I love books with strong characters and themes revolving around sacrifice, which is such an admirable quality. The world-building sounds very intricate and interesting. I wish Larissa much success, and thanks for the great review! 🙂
    Lexa Cain recently posted…Feb Romance Ashelyn Drake & CelebrateMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      If you love those things, then Stolen Songbird’s the book for you 🙂 Sacrifice really is an admirable quality. I’d love to say I have this quality but I’m not totally sure. I can be selfish at times. Thank you!

  5. Gosh I really need to get my hands on this soon and judge for myself. So many people I trust have given it praising and singing feedback (I did see one negative review! So I’m 10% more wary now.) In any case, since I’m on the publisher’s whitelist, I snagged a copy of mine now and will read it in the next few days. Here’s to hoping it affected me as much as it affected you <3 <3
    Faye @ The Social Potato recently posted…ARC Review: Maybe One Day by Melissa KantorMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I can’t wait to see what you think of it 🙂 Oh, I haven’t seen a negative review. I’ll have to check it out and see if I agree with it haha. Oh yay! Can’t wait to read your review, hope you enjoy it. <33

  6. Aimee says:

    LARISSA! This review’s bringing back all my feels for this book. <3 I looooved Anais, too. And Tristan. And the end made me cry. </3 I can't wait for the sequel! Great review 🙂

    *Please excuse my excessive fangirling, lol!
    Aimee recently posted…Movie Review: Vampire AcademyMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      AIMEE [; Awh, I’m so glad. This book still has an effect on me, even now. Anais was great, and of course Tristan. I rarely cry with book endings, but Stolen Songbird just got to me. Same here! I can’t wait to see what’s next in store for the amazing characters. Thank you! 🙂

  7. I’ve heard nothing but beautiful things about this book – magic, mystery, love and gorgeous writing? I’m totally onboard for this one now! Fantastic review, Larissa 🙂

  8. I’m so glad you liked this book Larissa! I’m going to be reading either this month or next and I was quite wary when I looked back at what it was about, but after hearing you’ve enjoyed it and getting a short recap on the plot, I’m excited once again. I’ve been looking and waiting for a strong female lead and this book seems to have it. Fantastic review; you’ve made me excited for this book! 🙂
    Amanda @ Book Badger recently posted…Who Wore It Better #3 – The Titans CurseMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      So am I haha 😛 Oh, I can’t wait to see what you think of this one. I can see why you’d be wary, the summary does make it seem like Cécile is a Mary Sue. I promise that she isn’t. Thank you, I’m so glad I made you excited 🙂

  9. Siiri says:

    Oh, okay. I saw Jenny and one of my other blogging friend Tanja talk about this on twitter, but didn’t really get interested in the conversation at the time. I didn’t know it was about trolls. Lols! When I think of them, HP comes to mind 😀 The scenery of this book sounds awesome! “Some heroines I know would spend the entire course of the story crying and whining about this while accomplishing basically nothing.” Well, guess what? I APPROVE:) Plus, I love me some amazing side characters. They sometimes even make the story for me. Also, yay for not a love triangle 😉 Eeep! Thanks for sharing tha excerpt, Larissa:) I hope that you’ll adore the next book as well.
    Siiri recently posted…Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow RowellMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Haha yeah, this ones been getting some hype lately 🙂 Trolls definitely make this book unique from anything else in YA. Haha, I’ll always remember that classic HP scene. The scenery was really great. The characters were one of the strongest points of this novel, for sure. I really hope I will too, I’m super excited for it.

  10. Yay I’m glad that you were such a big fan of this book! I love how you described the romance, it sounds like it really makes you feel something. Trollus sounds like such a unique setting for this book, and I like the concept of trolls and how it works in general. I also love how the main character’s understanding changes from the stereotypes that everyone believes to a deeper understanding of the trolls; it’s definitely a sign of character development. Oof, and an emotional ending that makes you cry? Definitely putting this one on my to-read list. I need a good cry lol! Fantastic review, Larissa! <33 Glad that you loved this one so much 🙂
    Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain recently posted…Perfect Lies by Kiersten WhiteMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Same! Haha. Yeah the romance really did have an effect on me personally 🙂 Yeah Trollus and the trolls themselves were quite intriguing to me. You really don’t read about them often in YA, so this was a totally unique experience for myself. Cécile’s character development was a joy to read. Haha, I don’t often cry with book endings however this one totally had an impact on me. Thank you! 🙂 I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did.

  11. I hadn’t heard of this one. That’s great that you ended up really liking it. I don’t believe I’ve read that many books that included trolls, so that’s definitely a unique aspect.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…No Such Thing by A.M. ArthurMy Profile

  12. The protagonist sounds wonderful, and we definitely do not get enough troll-based fantasy stories around in YA. My biggest question however is why would Cecile be forced to marry the troll prince in a place that condemns half human half trolls? I hope that’s explained in the book! Great review, Larissa 🙂
    Joy @ Thoughts By J recently posted…Book Review: The Intern by Gabrielle TozerMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      That’s for sure! (: Oh, sorry if I wasn’t clear enough about that. There’s actually a prophecy that gets introduced in the beginning and it all connects to why the marriage occurred. Thank you!

  13. Melliane says:

    it’s true that we don’t see a lot of trolls in books but it’s intriguing! I really want to learn more about them. I saw this one on Netgalley but I’m so behind in my ebooks that I didn’t ask for it but I’m glad you had a wonderful time with this one. Maybe later! thanks for the review!
    Melliane recently posted…The Winner’s Curse by Marie RutkoskiMy Profile

  14. Tanja says:

    Yay! I’m so glad you liked it too Larissa! 🙂 How could I forget Anaïs though! She was an amazing character too. I totally agree that two of them Cecile and Tristan were amazing and I loved their chemistry. That quote was one of my fave too. I truly hope we’ll enjoy the next one too. Amazing review 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Cover Reveal: Shattered Secrets by Kyrstal WadeMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      Same 😀 Anaïs was wonderful, I really do wish there were more characters like her in YA. Cecile and Tristan are one of my favorite YA couples currently, so cute. That quote was amazing. I’m super excited for the next one, I hope we’ll love it just as much as this one. Or even more. I’d be heartbroken if it suffered from middle book syndrome. Thank you!

  15. YAY! I love your review! I’m looking for my next fantasy read and it looks like Stolen Songbird might be it.
    Bethzaida (bookittyblog) recently posted…Cinder by Marissa Meyer ReviewMy Profile

  16. Zoe N. says:

    Wow! This sounds like a really intriguing novel Larissa! I haven’t heard of it yet, but you’ve certainly gotten me interested in reading it! I love the sound of the characterization (especially Cecile), and the romance just sounds AMAZING! Definitely going to have to acquire a copy of this ASAP! Thanks for sharing Larissa, and, as always, fabulous review! 😀
    Zoe N. recently posted…UninvitedMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      It definitely was an very interesting read. I’m glad I was able to introduce this novel to you! The characterization and romance were both exceptionally well done. I can’t wait to hear what you think of this one once you acquire a copy. Awww thank you Zoe! 🙂

  17. Candace says:

    I’m SO excited to read this! I’m on the list to get a finished copy so I’ll be reading it for sure and I think I’m going to love it!
    Candace recently posted…Tour Sign Up: Pan’s Conquest by Aubrie DionneMy Profile

  18. Lily B says:

    Ahh! so glad to hear you loved this one! I have it, will read it closer to release date but I am loving these reviews and the way it sounds. Glad to hear the romance in this was wonderful 😀
    Lily B recently posted…Xpresso Book Tours: The Polaris Uprising (Polaris #1) by Jennifer IbarraMy Profile

    • Larissa says:

      I hope you end up loving this much as the rest of us are 🙂 It’s truly a great book. The romance was beautifully done. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

  19. Wow, what a fantastic review, Larissa! I have been seeing this book EVERYWHERE, but your review makes me crazy with excitement about it. I’ve only read one series with trolls before, I think, and it was a light self-published PNR that didn’t have very complicated world-building. It sounds like this world is very well thought out, as are the characters. I cant’ wait to get my hands on this! Thanks for whipping me up into even more of a frenzy over it. 😀
    Wendy Darling recently posted…Hook’s Revenge: exclusive cover reveal + giveaway!My Profile

  20. I was actually quite happy with the length of this story: when I was done I actually wished there was more 😀 I couldn’t get enough of the romance, the intricate world-building and the heroin! And yes, definitely a swoonworthy quote <3
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…Review 237. Leah Cypess – Death sworn.My Profile

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