Summary:For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. 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...
When it comes to rating and reviewing, I’d describe myself as critical. I’m objective and analytic, and I pride myself on those qualities. And, yet, it’s that exact reason that I find it so difficult to rate Danielle Jensen’s debut Stolen Songbird. I want to give it a 3.5 star rating in terms of the overall execution, but the various emotions it provoked in me is nagging at me to rate it higher, to the point where I don’t know what to think.
The premise of Stolen Songbird is what intrigued me most. The story starts out almost immediately with our protagonist Cécile being kidnapped and taken to an underground world ruled by trolls called Trollus. And she must figure out a way out – or else she’ll be forced into an arranged marriage with the prince of Trollus.
Not all of them were deformed, but they were monsters still, every one of them. And I was to wed one. To be bedded by one. To bear its children. This wasn’t how it was supposed to go. I was supposed to be on my way to Trianon to get everything I had ever wanted. Now, not only had I lost everything – my family, my friends, my dreams – I had just been informed that what life I had left would be spent in an endless nightmare.
From a world-building point of view, this is absolutely spotless. Jensen’s development of the world of Trollus is one of the reasons the story succeeds as much as it does. It is intricate, detailed, and evidently well thought-out. Jensen takes the entire 470 pages of this novel to show us Trollus; leaving us, by the final page, a complete visual of this fictional land to the point where it almost feels like you’re looking at a map in your mind – all while avoiding the notorious infodumping.
However, I did have a minor concern that virtually all the names of the characters were of French origin. Traditionally speaking, trolls originated off of stories from Scandinavian mythology, so I was a bit confused why all the names Jensen used were French when the story revolved around a fictional world based off of Scandinavian mythology.
As a protagonist, I found Cécile (French name by the way) to be excellent. She had a great amount of believable and intricate character growth which I found wonderful. She was not by any means perfect – she has some definite flaws – but she recognizes those flaws in herself and tries to improve upon them. Furthermore, she’s intelligent and strong-willed – two qualities I love in any protagonist.
The romance is absolutely wonderful. It is incredibly slow-burn, but steamy at the same time. Cécile and the love interest Tristan have their differences, but their relationship is about overcoming those differences and seeing the similarities; and it’s almost impossible for you not to root for them.
Screw it. I’m going to give in and give this four stars. A wonderful and creative debut, and I cannot wait to see where the stories goes in the sequel.