Publisher: Angry Robot
Release Date: June 2nd, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase
Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible. Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.
Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.
To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…
I adored the first installment of this series, Stolen Songbird. I easily gave it five stars and it shone as one of my 2014 favorites. It was because of my complete adoration for the first novel that my expectations for Hidden Huntress were set sky high. However, unfortunately my hopes were dashed as this book seemed quite typical of that horrible second book syndrome us YA readers all know of and fear.
A big issue for me in Hidden Huntress is the fact I really struggled with the initial snail slow pacing. I felt myself becoming more and more unmotivated to flip the pages as I just didn’t feel a need to continue reading. This becomes an issue when you look at the page length (464) and it begs me to question if all of the details were really necessary to the storyline. Like in Stolen Songbird I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and felt like every detail was pivotal to the plotline. This certainly not the case in Hidden Huntress.
I think a large reasoning for my detachment to this story can be allotted to Cécile. Her portrayal in Hidden Huntress was honestly one of the most disappointing aspects for me. I fell in love with Cécile in the first novel as somebody who could stand strong on her own, but within the events of this story I honestly could easily take back everything I initially thought. Quite frankly, I found her to be annoying, selfish and irrational. In Stolen Songbird I remember saying “Cécile doesn’t roll over and blindly accept her fate, but she also doesn’t mope around” but in Hidden Huntress that’s exactly what she does. Her storyline (which was basically repetitive singing, reckless blood magic and honestly just wallowing because her love isn’t around) didn’t interest me in the least and I disliked how 99.9999% of the beginning of this novel she was basically just “Tristan this” and “Tristan this” without thinking about the consequences. Her decisions weren’t thought out that well and I felt as though they were made with such little thought in regards to the impacts. I think there’s so much more unexplored potential in her character development (as an individual) that isn’t explored. Other side characters (namely Chris and Marc) felt quite underdeveloped too. In fact they mainly felt like props for the main characters who were just plot devices. Especially in the case of Marc (who has one hell of a tragic backstory and all of the potential) I found myself quite disappointed.
Cécile’s love interest’s potential on the other hand? It was certainly met. I was so glad that the readers were able to get this insight into Tristan as an individual character and it really did just make me appreciate him more. I honestly think it was Tristan’s POV that pushed me to continue reading despite the slow pacing. I felt Tristan was a lot more mature than Cécile in the face of his plights. I felt as though Tristan went through so much more character development in this one and I loved seeing the political intrigue that came with his role in Trollus. Speaking of Trollus, with Hidden Huntress being a fantasy read I really was expecting more from Trollus in particular. In this novel you actually spend more time in the human world which is fine, but I felt like I missed out on some of the amazing worldbuilding I know Jensen can do. I couldn’t help but feel an ache for Trollus as it’s just this magical world I want explore and read everything about.
One of my favorite aspects of Stolen Songbird continues in Hidden Huntress- the romance between Cécile and Tristan. Their relationship is one of my favorites in YA. It’s so well developed and written in a way that just feels intrinsically balanced and punch the most powerful emotions. They bring out the best in each-other and I actually found myself enjoying Cécile when she was with Tristan (slightly problematic I didn’t enjoy her as an individual, like???? Does this mean she can’t stand on her own as an individual character????) just because of their undeniable chemistry and appreciation/love for each other. Cécile and Tristan’s relationship is just one of my favorites because it feels so genuine and healthy. Like there’s no drama for the sake of drama or casual love triangles. There was also one scene in particular in Hidden Huntress between Cécile and Tristan that gutted me, it was so romantic and beautiful. I swear to god I melted.
However, OH MY GOD THE LAST 25% OF THIS BOOK. Definitely 5 stars worthy. It brought back my original love of the first installment with a killer ending that promises for more bloody action in Trollus. There was a plot twist I didn’t see coming and I felt it was developed quite well. I can’t wait to read the final installment in this trilogy now and see how it all ends.
Overall I did find myself rather disappointed with the second installment of Malediction Trilogy. I felt the story to be incredibly slow paced, Cécile to be quite an annoying character, a lack of Trollus and prop like side characters. However, my hopes were renewed by the last quarter of the story, Tristan’s character development and the romance between Cécile and Tristan.
~Thank you Angry Robot for the review 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