STOLEN SONGBIRD is rather like an amalgamation of Hobbit The Movie and Alice in Wonderland, telli...moreOriginally posted at A Bookalicious Story.
STOLEN SONGBIRD is rather like an amalgamation of Hobbit The Movie and Alice in Wonderland, telling of young Cécile's unwitting abduction to Trollus, homeland of the trolls, beneath the Lonely Forbidden Mountain, a magical tale full of intrigue, deceit and whimsical, off-with-her-head monarchs. As her debut book and start to a new fantasy series, STOLEN SONGBIRD's pretty amazing!
A (not so brief) Rundown
Under the fallen rocks of the Forbidden Mountain is rumored to be home to a whole city of a mystical species - the trolls. To enter Trollus, one must navigate the labyrinth of tunnels and evade the sluag, a slug-like creature that nullifies troll magic and strikes fear even in the hearts of the mighty trolls. It is said that Trollus contains piles of gold and riches (ahem Erebor), but many who ventured in never returned.
Cécile de Troyes is a farm maiden of Goshawk Hollow but with the voice of an angel. During a trip home from the city one day, she came upon an old friend but was kidnapped and brought to Trollus to marry the troll prince, Tristan de Montigny. Apparently, the trolls were cursed centuries ago by a human witch to never be able to step foot out of the mountain and a prophecy was told that a marriage between the troll prince and human girl with hair like fire, blue eyes and an "angel's voice" will break the curse.
But it didn't.
Cécile has always dreamed of the romantic wedded life her friends have gossiped wistfully about, but Tristan is far from a loving husband. He is one of the most handsome dudes she has ever laid eyes upon but he is also crude, rude, mostly cold and always confrontational. He picks fights with her at every opportuninty and sleeps on the couch. But in the darkness of the gardens where Cécile goes to sing to calm her riotous emotions, Tristan lets down his guard enough for her to see another side of him - the kind, gentle and loving side.
As Cécile comes to know, Trollus is not just about the amazing architecture and beautiful glass gardens (no sunlight). Humans and half bloods with little or no magic are seen as little more than slaves and any small misstep gives their owners the right to sentence them to be left in the tunnels to be sluag fodder or anything the owner sees fit. A rebellion is brewing and the factions are not clearly delineated. Tristan may seem like an insolent brat six out of seven days, but Cécile knows there is defeinitely more to him than he's showing. What does he do in the early hours of morning, sneaking out of their room and palace? Where does he factor in in the rebellion? And what has any of it to do with her?
Kudos to the author for her effort to reimagine trolls - from 3m, club-swinging, wart-covered monstrosities (I'm thinking of the one in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone) to an intelligent, magic-wielding race. Some look human (just 10000000 times more beautiful), but some are disfigured and some not even remotely human-looking. However apart from that, the concept is really just taking the characteristics of Shakespeare's faries and naming them trolls. Jensen's trolls can't lie which makes them experts at the art of manipulating words, their promises are binding, their thank-you's are favors to be repaid, they have True Names which enables full control over the troll whose name is known, and one of the side characters, Anäis (yes, their names have lots of squiggly-wiggly or dots on top of their alphabets) mentioned that the name for their people isn't trolls, it's "Fai--" then she stopped herself. Well now, it's not that difficult to complete her statement now.
So I didn't really buy the "fresh" new idea of trolls.
But the plot is full of political intrigues, deceptions, and dangers for our protagonist that I was pretty invested in her story. It may be subjective though because like the Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, STOLEN SONGBIRD is about Cécile finding out about trolls, their issues (the social discrimination and off-with-your-head variety) and her transformation from scared maiden to strong woman who found love and her determination to help in the rebellion. There is a sort of non-ending at the end, a sort of closure but we're not even close to the true ending. Just like how Bilbo and the dwarves were dropped off some god-forsaken cliff in the middle of nowhere and the Lonely Mountain was a speck in the horizon and the show ends. Yeah, something like that.
Not to say that it wasn't a good read (Goodreads, haha), Jensen had a very descriptive, simple yet witty style of writing. I loved the typical, easy countryside way of life at Goshawk's Hollow (Gordric's Hollow?!?!), the terror Cécile felt when she was in the sluag tunnels, the awe she felt at Trollus and her heartbreak when she thought that she was doomed to have a loveless marriage. There were quite a few secrets revealed along the way and plot curves dished out, and the alternating POV, which most of the time serves only to unveil secrets early and lessen suspense, worked pretty well here.
The characters!!! Apart from Tristan and Cécile, I thought that the secondary cast of characters were pretty fleshed out. We get to see glimpses of who each of them were really like and all of them had their own distinct personalities - there is mysterious but fiercely loyal Marc with a face split in half, each half having handsome features but freaky when seen as a whole; the Queen and her sister Duchesse who are joined together at the back so one of them has to walk backwards; the twins Vincent and Victoria who're constantly competing to see who should be Baron/Baroness of their house though their competitions are mostly jokes (like archery but with only one foot on the ground and with blindfolds on).
I don't want to spoiler anything more, but I'd definitely recommend this to fans of YA Fantasy. It's got the complicated political drama, the whole-new-world feel and magical boomz of a good fantasy, it's just that I felt that the plot and emotional development were dragged out too much that sometimes it felt like we were going in circles and the ending didn't give enough of a closure for me.
That said, though, there was a tiny part near the end that hinted at a parallel world that lives alongside Trollus and the outside world. This series is heading in a very promising direction with lots of action, suspense and romance, so yes, I will be picking up book 2 to see where Jensen takes Cécile and the rest of the crew.
~eARC courtesy of Netgalley and Strange Chemistry~ Thank you! :)(less)
*4.5 stars* This glimpse back into Ash's, Meghan's, Puck's, Grimalkin's, heck even Glitch's life...WAS AWESOME. Satisfying yet it fed my unending hung...more*4.5 stars* This glimpse back into Ash's, Meghan's, Puck's, Grimalkin's, heck even Glitch's life...WAS AWESOME. Satisfying yet it fed my unending hunger for more of this magical and enchanting world of faery. Oh man, I sound like a drug junkie fresh from rehab.
Being able to see the revamped Mag Tureidh, court of the Iron Fey and Meghan and Ash's home was so heartwarming, seeing Beau and Razor and the other gremlins play together and making all that ruckus. We got to see Ash in all his former Ice Prince glory (don't worry, Ash still has his swag, his powers and that icy aloofness that we all love) but with a little more emotions when he's alone with Meghan, Puck came back after very funny adventures in the human world (wait till you hear them!), Grim with his "I am a cat" and all, and Meghan. Meghan! She showed those boys some girl, Summer-Iron, power!
Even in such a short novella, Kagawa has the skill to completely suck me into her vivid and imaginative world full of hauntingly beautiful places and a simple yet eventful plot filled with action, humor and an easy friendship between 4 very memorable characters. If you're a Kagawa fan, you don't want to miss this final novella to the Iron Fey series! I swear, every page, just like any of her other books, is worth 5 golden stars.
P.S. I'm not sure I'm going to pick The Lost Prince up (though I am a HUGE fan of the Iron Fey series), cause... I'm just disgruntled that it's not in Meghan's POV anymore. :( And the synopsis and reviews just doesn't seem that interesting anymore.(less)
A smashing ending to an amazing arc! I'm so glad I got to read all 5 books in one go, and even happier that there will be another few books...more*4.5 stars*
A smashing ending to an amazing arc! I'm so glad I got to read all 5 books in one go, and even happier that there will be another few books for Mac and Barrons. More like jumping for joy. Haha, can never get enough of those two.
Review to come, but I can assure you that THIS, is one of the best endings I've ever seen. Moning managed to tie all our questions and all the loops up in ~600 pages. Loved it!(less)
I don't like the cover. There, I said it. Don't get me wrong, I was so excited when I saw that there was a - sorta - continuation to THE IRON KNIGHT,...moreI don't like the cover. There, I said it. Don't get me wrong, I was so excited when I saw that there was a - sorta - continuation to THE IRON KNIGHT, but the hype deflated after the cover loaded up. Lol, I mean, look at it, just LOOK at it! They look like amateur teenage cosplayers.
But still, can't wait for August! It's been too long since I last had any Ash-Meghan-Puck moments.(less)
Let me endeavour to describe the intensity that is Faefever - I was literally so engrossed in the book that not only did I l...moreNot for the faint-hearted.
Let me endeavour to describe the intensity that is Faefever - I was literally so engrossed in the book that not only did I lost track of time, when Faefever ended, I started Dreamfever immediately, like a reflex, and now I'm already one-fifth of my way through cause I couldn't stand to tear my attention away long enough to log on to Goodreads. I can't remember where Faefever ended and Dreamfever started. I have some questions of my own, but I'm just such an incoherent mess now that I don't think I'm up to task to write this review. But I'm mighty sure on one thing - this series just keeps getting better and better, more intense and scarier, bigger and a hell lot more of action, deception, complex games of cat and mouse.
I finished this in two sittings; Two and not one because I had classes and lectures to attend.
I strongly advise you to get ahold of Dreamfever first before you get started on Faefever. I was so glad I did.
*3.5 stars* Not bad! I read THE SHADOW READER in two sittings! Won't be starting on THE SHATTERED DARK though, there's soooo many reviews warning agai...more*3.5 stars* Not bad! I read THE SHADOW READER in two sittings! Won't be starting on THE SHATTERED DARK though, there's soooo many reviews warning against a terrible cliffy, so I'm going to wait for book three, which has a tentative release date of January in 2014. Oh well, I hope the wait will be worth it.
This review was originally posted on Paranormalcy's page in Bookdepository.com.
The plot was average, and definitely cliche. The problems the protagoni...moreThis review was originally posted on Paranormalcy's page in Bookdepository.com.
The plot was average, and definitely cliche. The problems the protagonists met along the way were kind of conveniently solved that it took quite a bit of the fun away. Add to that, some of the scenes and dialogues were pretty ridiculous and overly-mushy, it gave me goose pimples.
Story aside, let's talk about the characters. The female protagonist worshipped the color pink. Not that I am against pink, it's that squealing at and donning glittery pink satin dresses is just isn't my thing, y'get what I'm saying? And she isn't as cool as what the synopsis got me to think, so she didn't live up to my expectations. At all. So no, I didn't like this aspect of the story. And since she IS the female PROTAGONIST, I had to flip through three hundred odd pages of her gay-ness and incompetence, I couldn't find it in me to like her.
One plus point though - White can be a killer comedian. Lol, I really liked her humor, that I can give credit. You have to read it to believe it, people, haha.
To wrap things up, this book didn't quite do it for me. After getting to the THE END, I felt...nothing. So emotionally barren. Which is not right, cause after reading a book (or should I say, MOST good books) I'll usually have this whole barrage or myriad of feelings bombarding me that I'll stone and sit there thinking about what I've just read. This one didn't.
When I start a series, I'd usually follow through but this time after reading both this book and the synopsis of the next book, SUPERNATURALLY, I think I'll pass. But I do still want to congratulate White for getting the movie deal. It sure is a major step-up in her career. Cheers!(less)
This review was originally posted at abookaliciousstory.blogspot.com .
This review would be a short one. Why? Because this supposedly "so famous and we...moreThis review was originally posted at abookaliciousstory.blogspot.com .
This review would be a short one. Why? Because this supposedly "so famous and well-written it's gonna be turned into a movie" book, left me utterly and downright disappointed.
You see, main girl loves pink. Nothing wrong there, but she worships the color and has everything of her things pink. Seriously, what? Pink dress, pink boots, pink taser (yes, pink TASER which she uses to stun the paranormals she's supposed to bag-and-tag. In short, to apprehend them) - I'm not done yet - and pink knife pommel/handle. She squealed and hugged her teacher when he made her a knife with a pink handle. After which she went to prom in a pink, floor-length satin dress (did I remember this right? Oh right, I was only semi-conscious at this point), where she added on another glittery layer of sparkles on her shoulder. Lol, excessive much?
Bad point number two: She thinks a lot. Now let me explain to you the horrifying implications of this one seemingly innocent trait of our dear female protagonist. This story was written in the first person POV. And she is that first person. And she thinks a lot. And now, how many pages were there in this book again? Right, 300 odd. 300 hundred odd pages of her thinking. In chronological sequence and order through the book:
-I am good at what I do. (which is fighting) Oh yeah, I'm good. (Y'know why? Because the "villains" in this book are pansy-asses. Take the first vamp that was intro-ed in the book. All he knew was to bare his fangs and act sexy to scare off victims. Ooh, scary.)
-Then, I love pink. I like main guy holding my hand.X10.
-Why am being so self-centred? I should do more for the world. Yeah, by going to the woman who has been acting as your mom for practically your whole life when she is obviously so busy managing a whole portion of this international organization that she doesnt even need eyeliners in her make-up kit anymore, and arguing with her and then telling her you're not her daughter, you're her employee when you lose the argument. Then when main girl was told that she was grounded, she got angry but went to her room anyway. FYI, only parents would ground their children. Imagine going to work one day and your boss tells you you're grounded. Wow, that must be awkward. Aaand that was sure un-self-centred.
Bad point number three: The storyline's kind of..........lame... For lack of a better word, but it gets the message across. So, main girl is not wholly human. She was made by this group of paranormals but they lost her somewhere, somehow. Yeah, cause she was so un-important that they didn't spend centuries on creating her. Then, girly-girl protagonist fell in love with a fey who, at first, didn't recognize main girl because her eyes were so unique, he missed them. Wow, really? Ok that was a little too sarcastic, but, really? Her eyes are one-of-a-kind, dude, and your people are the ones who made her! Yeah, you didn't recognize her.
After that, she got wind of the prophecy which centres on her from a teenage guy who tried to break into IPCA (the International Paranormal Containment Agency. The agency that main girl works for) alone. He busted into an international organization's building ALONE without giving anyone a head's up, because he overheard this banshee telling his dad about the prophecy. Mm hmm, because every teenagers nowadays are suicidal.
This review is supposed to be short..So I'll just name one good point and I'll wrap it up.
There was humor in there. Lol, it got hilarious at some points, I'll give that credit.
Example: ["I" would be the main girl talking and here, main guy starts the conversation about what main girl thinks is cool. Apparently, she thinks that ordinary school lockers are uber awesome.]
"..yes, I have a driver’s license.”
I leaned back against the wall, sighing. “Man, that must be so cool.”
“It ranks right up there with lockers. In fact, sometimes I put my license inside my locker, and it’s so cool I worry that the whole thing might explode with the sheer coolness of it all.”
I smacked him on the shoulder. Again."
Yep. I don't know if it would be as funny for people who haven't read the book, but I thought it was pretty funny.
Lol. Ok to wrap things up, this book didn't quite do it for me. After getting to the THE END, I felt...nothing. So emotionally barren. Which is not right, cause after reading a book (or should I say, MOST good books) I'll usually have this whole barrage or myriad of feelings bombarding me that I'll stone and sit there thinking about what I've just read. This one didn't.
When I start a series, I'd usually follow thru but this time after reading both this book and the synopsis of the next book, SUPERNATURALLY, I think I'll pass. But I do still want to congratulate White for getting the movie deal. It sure is a major step-up in her career. Cheers!
PS. Woops, not a short review after all!:X PPS. Sorry it got kind of bitchy at the start. Just pouring out my resentment at another book that I would've rather not picked up.(less)