First book of the Malediction trilogy
By Danielle L. Jensen
Available now from Strange Chemistry (Angry Robot)
I think Strange Chemistry is putting out some great books, but STOLEN SONGBIRD, one of their newest releases, didn't quite work for me. Cécile de Troyes dreams of making it as a singer - but then she is kidnapped, married and bonded to a troll prince, and forced to sink or swim in an unfamiliar, violent and political realm. Understanding her new husband and his motivations might help her survive, or it might lead to both of their deaths.
STOLEN SONGBIRD contained many plot elements that I love. There are political machinations and people hiding their true feelings for instance. And debut author Danielle L. Jensen comes up with some interesting complications. Tristan, Cécile's husband, and the other trolls cannot lie. Thus, the brewing rebellion has at least one big weakness. Also, the bond between Tristan and Cécile means that they can feel each other's emotions.
Even with these pluses, I found myself unentranced by STOLEN SONGBIRD. There was nothing that made me hate the book, but I felt like I had to force myself to keep reading it when there were other books I wanted to read more. I feel like Jensen never pushed the elements of her story to their full potential. For instance, the bond turns out to mostly end up warning Tristan whenever Cécile gets hurt. There's no sense of intrusiveness or an invasion privacy, despite both of them being unwilling to bond. Given that there's a strong element of romance, it's also strangely sexless. They never seem to feel lust.
I feel like STOLEN SONGBIRD had potential. If it were a little tighter and more development given to Tristan and the implications of the bond, it might've worked better. Or perhaps if more time had been spent on the rebellion than the tepid romance. As is, STOLEN SONGBIRD was a fairly generic YA fantasy novel. Although it was about trolls, which are an underused fantasy race.