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For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...

469 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2014

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About the author

Danielle L. Jensen

23 books9,195 followers
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Danielle L. Jensen is the USA Today bestselling author of the Malediction series, the Dark Shores series, and the Bridge Kingdom series, as well as the forthcoming A Fate Inked in Blood. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her family and guinea pigs.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,172 reviews
February 8, 2014
Actual rating: 3.5
“Hmmm,” the King said, making a face. “I’m not sure this is what we bargained for, boy. We expected the girl to be attractive.”

If I hadn’t been so terrified, I would have been insulted.

“This is the one.”

“Are you certain?” the King asked from his perch on the throne. “She rather smells.”
Mother of God. A YA fantasy without insta-love. Without a love triangle. Without a Mary Sue who constantly complains about different she looks and how different she is from everyone else?!

It does exist.

The premise is pretty terrible, because it screams SPECIAL DESTINED GIRL. It's not. Trust me, have patience with this book. Ignore the ugly cover. Ignore the Mary Sue blurb.

Summary: Cécile de Troyes is a poor girl from a small village in the Hollows who has aspirations of being a singer. She's very, very good, but she's not exceptional. Cécile is returning to her village from a performance when she gets kidnapped and dragged underground. Literally. There was a bounty put on her head for a girl fitting her description.
"She foretold that when a prince of night bonded a daughter of the sun, the curse would be broken.”
Her bounty is her weight in gold.

Trolls do exist. They have a kingdom under the mountain, in a cave. For some reason they want Cécile. Why? Why the fuck do they want her in particular? What purpose do they have for her?
“She meets the criteria given to us by the foretelling. You do sing, don’t you?” the troll woman asked.

“Yes,” I croaked, not knowing why it mattered. “What do you intend to do with me?”

“Why, to bond you to our dear Tristan,” the troll said, smiling at me. “You are to be a princess of Trollus and mother of his children; and in doing so, you will set us all free.”
Fuck that shit. Cécile has her own life. She loves her family. She wants nothing but to escape. Fuck being a princess in an underground city. THESE ARE TROLLS. They want to fucking MARRY her to a troll?!
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.
The Prince Charming isn't exactly charming. He is rude, he is completely uninterested in her, and he thinks Cécile is an idiot.
“Ha ha,” Tristan snorted. “How dreadfully clever. And speaking of clever, is this to be your bid for escape?” He contemplated my clothing. “In a dressing gown and bare feet? Now tell me, if I go put on nightclothes and slippers, might I join you, or is this a solo adventure?”

My eyes stung. “You think this is all exceedingly funny, don’t you? I’m nothing but a joke to you.”

His brow creased in a frown. “If you’re a joke, it isn’t an especially humorous one.”
He doesn't want her any more than she wants him. Tristan and Cécile are literally forced together for the sake of fulfilling a prophecy that is supposed to save the people of Trollus.
“You are the last person in the world I’d choose to marry,” I hissed.

“I don’t entirely relish the idea myself,” Tristan said, “but sometimes we must do the unthinkable. Because you have no choice, just as I have no choice."
Cécile is supposed to be the chosen one. The prophesied one whose marriage to Tristan will be the salvation of the people of Trollus.

She fails.
We waited for what seemed like an eternity, then, abruptly, a collective groan of disappointment passed through the throng of trolls.

“Did it work?” I asked, heartily wishing someone would explain what it was.

“No,” Tristan said. “It didn’t.”
Cécile is now a prisoner. A princess of the Trollus, but a prisoner just the same. She is a human, hated and reviled as an inferior creature among the trolls.

Her story doesn't end there, because there are so many undercurrents lying beneath the mountain. An uprising is taking place. The prophecy might not be what it seems. There are traitors in the royal court, waiting for the chance to strike.

Tristan himself is not the offhanded, ruthless prince he seems. He has secrets of his own. For their mutual survival, and for the cause, Cécile and Tristan must join forces, become reluctant allies, in order to free the people of Trollus.
“I will ignore you. Be cruel to you. And you must play along. Act sad and unhappy. Never give anyone a reason to think I’ve shown you a moment’s kindness or that I’ve confided in you in any way. And above all, never let anyone suspect that I care one way or another whether you live or die, beyond how it might impact me.”
The fate of many rests upon their mission.

The Setting: An cave underneath a mountain, and it is GLORIOUS. Carved masonry. Fantastic, magical underground gardens. Phantom, fairy lights. It is tremendously opulent, a stunningly beautiful jail to Cécile.
Fountains and statues graced every corner. In place of greenery stood gardens of glassworks sculpted into trees, bushes, and flowers. The delicate displays would not have lasted more than a month exposed to the elements above ground. Then again, hailstorms likely did not trouble Trollus.
The history of the trolls were well explained, as was the myths surrounding the prophecy.

Oh, and those legends about trolls? They're just not true.
Almost too late did I see the beam of sunlight crossing his path.

“No!” I gasped, throwing my weight into Tristan, knocking him down sideways into a narrow alleyway.

I eyed the beam of sunlight that was still too close for comfort. “The sun.”

“Everyone knows that trolls turn to stone in the sunlight,” I said.

His astonishment faded and to my horror, he started to laugh. Reaching out one arm, he waggled his fingers in the sun. “Oh, the stories you humans come up with,” he gasped out, and my cheeks burned.
Cécile: The main character, one of the two narrators. Cécile is the kind of heroine that I like. She is NOT special. She never proclaims herself to be different. She is strong-willed, but never bitchy. She neither fall into insta-love or insta-lust nor does she allow her heart to overpower her sense of rationality.

Cécile makes mistakes. She learns from them. She is not perfect. She admits her wrongs. Cécile is almost completely alone in a foreign land where she is reviled for the fact that she is an inferior human among trolls, and her persistance and attitude is just what I hope to see. She is strong, compassionate. She admits her faults, she recognizes when she fucks up.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered. But what good were my regrets? I’d ruined everything and still he’d come for me when I’d needed him the most. I’d told myself to make the most of my life in Trollus, but instead I’d made the least of it. The worst of it! Because of me, the only other person fighting for my freedom was dying.
Cécile is properly angry at being kidnapped, but she does not waste her time moping. She puts her time to good use, she devotes her time to a better purpose, and she overcomes her own prejudices of the trolls, as she comes to know them.
“Trolls,” I finally said, “are supposed to be ugly.”

My thoughts turned to Marc, who was always kind to me when no one else was. “They aren’t ugly.” I bit my lip, trying to find the right words. “More like beautiful things that have had the misfortune of being broken.”
Other Characters: Very well done. I love the depiction of other females in the books. There is no slut shaming, there is no debasement of other women. There is bravery and sacrifice in other women's duties. *cheers*

And let's just say there is a troll in the book named Marc, who won over my heart.
He was perhaps my brother’s age, and particularly handsome. The light of the orb reflected in his silvery grey eye as though the glow came from within. I’d never met anyone in my life with eyes like his.
The two sides of his face, so flawless on their own, were like halves of a fractured sculpture put back together askew.The lack of symmetry was more than unsettling – it was shocking, gruesome even. One eye higher than the other. One ear lower than the other. A mouth marred by a permanently sardonic twist.
Be not fooled by his appearance. Marc has a heart of gold.

The Romance: AWESOME. AWESOME. No insta-love?! FUCK YEAH! YEAAAAAAH!

Sorry, I get a little overexcited.

Cécile and Tristan's relationship is so well-built. Mistrust into alliance into friendship into love.

Tristan is such a complicated character, his mission and purpose unwavering. He is prepared to make sacrifices of his life, his heart, for his people. He is a man on a mission, and I love it.
Almost every action I took or decision I made was designed to affect circumstances months, years, even decades down the road. I’d always thought it was the prudent way to live, but now I feared I would wake up one day an old man, with my past wasted and no future left to live.
I absolutely adored how Tristan and Cécile come to trust and rely on one another. Their romance is one of sacrifice, because they are devoted to a cause higher than their own. If you love someone, you have to let them go.
“Under the sun, with your family. That’s where you belong.”
It was beautiful seeing them love one another while knowing they come from two different worlds.

Trolls cannot lie by nature. They are bound to their words. Humans are not so.
“Why?” I slammed my fists down on the table. “Why can’t you believe me? Why don’t you trust me?”

“Because you’re human, Cécile. You can lie, even to yourself.”
They have a lot of miscommunication, a lot of mistrust. There is a lot of difficulty in their relationship, because there are people who will use their love for each other against them. Danger and sacrifice fills their romance.
“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."
This book's major fault is that it is far too long. Much like my review ^_^

Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley subject to change in the final edition.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
March 24, 2014
"They were toying with me, like a pair of cats with a mouse... But I was no mouse."

I'm not sure how it happened. One minute I was reading this in bed and thinking "okay, just one more chapter and then I'll sleep", and the next minute there was sunlight coming in through my window! Oops.

So me and this 436-page book just spent a long night together and I feel a little frazzled and emotional - is this what they call book withdrawal symptoms? No, you're right, it's probably called sleep deprivation, but regardless! I somehow got sucked into this subterranean troll fantasy world and I wasn't coming out for no one. This is one of those books that I'd been putting off because of the length, but it seemed to fly by in a flurry of magic, romance and troll villains. I blinked and it was over. So sad. Where's that bloody sequel?

So... trolls. Perhaps not what you were expecting.

Myth #1: Trolls are ugly. Nuh-uh. Not all of them anyway. That's the thing about trolls that makes them so deadly... it's real easy to be seduced by their beautiful faces and twinkly grey eyes. They catch you off guard. No one expects those kind of exteriors to hide something twisted, callous and sadistic on the inside. How will Cecile ever know who can be trusted when the monsters wear such pretty disguises?

Myth #2: Trolls are stupid. Not these trolls. These trolls are cunning, calculating and ruthless. They have eyes everywhere. They know what you're going to do next before you do - okay, not literally. With every one of these clever, beautiful creatures out to get Cecile, she will have to be smarter, more cunning, than she's ever had to be before.

The upshot of this story is that a young woman called Cecile is kidnapped and sold to trolls. Not only that, but she is forced to marry their prince in the hopes that she can break a centuries-old curse that seals the trolls within their subterranean mountain world. The prophecy says that a human woman with red hair and the voice of an angel will be the one to break the curse. Cecile must learn to adapt to this world as best she can, but the longer she lives without the curse being broken, the more she becomes expendable - for what use is she to the trolls if she cannot do the one thing she was brought there for? But something else is happening too. Beneath the exterior of this structured troll society, a revolution is brewing. And Cecile is about to get caught in the middle of it.

The setting is a dark, underground world full of danger and magic. It was so easy to be pulled into this book and get lost down in the darkness under the mountain. The lack of escape and claustrophobia felt so real to me that I couldn't look away - I was almost as desperate for Cecile to escape as she was. But, as I'm sure you won't be surprised, there's more to this book than dark grittiness and unfulfilled prophecies... there's friendship and romance too.

There are a lot of complex characters in Stolen Songbird. Trolls are not all 100% evil because that wouldn't be half as fun. Cecile comes to learn that trolls have the same capacity for good and evil that humans do. She discovers that many are prisoners held captive by the monarchy, just as she is. And she discovers that her new husband might not be all he first seems. I especially liked how the characterization of Tristan and Anais was handled. The former starts off as a seemingly bratty, selfish individual but is gradually developed into something more well-rounded and likable. The romance between him and Cecile didn't feel forced like so many YA fantasy romances do, nor did it drain all the juice from the main plot.

Anais was another pleasant surprise. When she was first introduced, I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking "oh, here we go again". But I was completely wrong. While she at first appears to be the beautiful but over-sexualized "other woman" and an enemy of Cecile, she is developed into something much more. She becomes multilayered and friendship begins to take shape between her and Cecile. I liked this part of the story a lot.

There is one thing that didn't really make sense to me. A lot of YA novels - fantasy, sci-fi, dystopian, whatever - portray societies in which women are second class citizens. Whether they are slaves to men or expected to fulfill a particular role, this is quite a common feature. And I suppose it poses more challenges in the story when the vast majority of protagonists are female. This is fine, I don't mind. But there appear to be some contradictions over this in Stolen Songbird. We are told the trolls are valued based on power, not gender - it doesn't matter whether you're male or female, but it instead matters how much magic you have. And yet, a lot of trolls appear pretty misogynistic:

“But she’s his wife,” Tristan said indignantly. “She is duty-bound to go wherever he wants her to go.”

Since when? That wasn't what we were told a couple of chapters back. But these are nitpicky things that didn't ruin the book for me. Just thought I should note them.

In the end, I thought this book was excellent. Unputdownable, even. And the end leaves us in a perfect position: a nice balance between wrapped up and need-to-know-what-happens-next. It leaves room for a sequel that I not only want to read, but believe has the potential to be a very different kind of story to this first installment. I'm pretty damn excited!

Profile Image for Cece ❀Rants, Raves &Reviews❀.
261 reviews1,040 followers
February 7, 2023
What the fuck is it with me and trolls?!?

I can say without a shadow of a doubt that this book is a must-read! The world building, the unique plot, the antihero love interest just all hooked me right away

Cecile was an interesting perspective- not a Mary-Sue sissy but also not exactly Xena the warrior princess.

I liked her POV as the weak human trying to trick the powerful trolls...but tbh finishing the book, nothing about her character really stuck out at me as being unique to only her

she wasn't exceptionally brave. she wasn't very sassy. she wasn't snarky. she was just there taking everything in

The writing went for short and shocking which worked really well with Cecile's POV of everything being new and dangerous that I was immediately thrown into this world
"The girl rose, and her eyes laches onto me. She was beautiful, for an instant, and then her expression twisted with rage."

Like damnnnn girl you got kidnapped and the other bitch is mad, what a world


Mac was the cool best friend that lost his lady love, which meant no love triangle but I adored him as a character and want him to get his own book

Tristan the cliche smug stupid face prince that acts cold and heartless cuz that's just how you survive in court when really... but really deep inside ... he's just a sarcastic prick that does exactly the fuck he wants to...except when it comes to Cecile *hehe wink nudge nudge*
“His brow creased in a frown. “If you’re a joke, it isn’t an especially humorous one.”
I threw up my hands in frustration. “You are the most intolerable individual I’ve ever met.”
He bowed. “Why, thank you, Cécile. Always a pleasure to have one’s accomplishments recognized.”

Both characters trapped in their circumstances and refusing to trust each other. God I love characters forced to work together, the banter is freaking hilarious.
“Why is my closet full of dresses?”
“Are they mine?” I asked with interest.
Silver eyes fixed on me. “Well, they certainly are not mine. Unless you imagine that I dress up in ladies’ clothing and prance about the palace when the mood strikes me?”


Honestly the world-building wasn't overly spectacular but the idea of trolls was just so unique and intriguing. Plus the concept of being stuck underground for years and years. Fuck that would suck.
“He stopped, the weight of his sorrow greater than any mountain. “And if I had the choice, I never would. I love you, Cécile. I will love you until the day I take my last breath and that is the truth.” He kissed me hard. “Forgive me.”

Oh fuck, HE DID NOT JUST DO THAT ARE YOU KIDDING ME what a lili shit and I'm not crying yOURE CRYING
“I heard Jérôme’s voice. He was trying to soothe me, but the words meant nothing. I had to go back. Tristan was trapped. He was in danger. I had to go back.”

Why is this POV so freaking well done?!? She feels a range of emotions, isn't totally selfish or selfless. You can actually feel her fear and failure and helplessness


And OFFFF COURSEEE the book ends on a cliffhanger that leaves you screaming and wanting to know what the fuck happened to Tristan like is he okay or what, can I help him, what exactly is Cecile doing to help this situation, and maybe he should just leave her for me....just saying...

Overall an extremely entertaining read but hoping for some more character development/uniqueness to further separate it from other cliche books. The character dynamics reminded me of Cruel Prince with the more unique world of the Trolls, I hope our human MC just rises to the challenge to be as dangerous as the creatures she lives among
Profile Image for Riley.
429 reviews21.7k followers
March 25, 2016
WOW. wow.
I loved this book! Everything about it was captivating. The characters, the world, the magic system. The plot was such a rollercoaster. I am definitely going to read the next book ASAP!
Profile Image for ✨ Helena ✨.
382 reviews1,009 followers
January 7, 2021

“I cringed, though; for as much as I did not want to marry a troll, I was just as certain the troll didn’t want to marry me.”

Now, THIS was an unputdownable book! Whoo! If I hadn’t begun this the night before my first day of the autumn term, I would’ve, without a doubt, finished this in one sitting. Having said that, I did read this during every spare moment in between my classes. Thus, I was already a quarter of the way through Hidden Huntress (aka Book #2) before I even got home! :D

I’m astounded that this novel was over 450 pages, considering what a fast read that it was! And, props to you people, who had to wait in anticipation for the future books of this trilogy! The binger in me is in awe of your dedication and patience (*cue round of applause*)! <3

So…I had no expectations going into this, because I’d never seen anyone reading this, either on Goodreads or in my daily life. This book is basically combination of La Belle et la Bête (aka Beauty and the Beast) and Fairest (a girl who isn’t beautiful in looks, but has a beautiful voice instead), with trolls. Also, the French speaker (or learner, rather) in me was delighted to see the inclusion of French names and words throughout the novel, making my immediate comparisons to La Belle et la Bête more authentic. <3

The trolls in this novel are not the ugly and stupid creatures that we know from myth, having seen them more recently in Harry Potter or on BBC Merlin. No, the trolls here are powerful, strong, clever, and ruthless beings. In fact, these trolls have magical abilities, cannot lie – although they can twist the truth into a deception –, have a unearthly appearances, are resistant to iron, have a separate King and Queen who rule the Summer and Winter Courts respectively, and can be controlled by their “true names.” Hmmm…does this remind you of any creatures that we’ve seen before in other novels? Methinks so! <3 I assume that we’ll see this lore come into play in the future novels.

As for the plot, Cécile de Troyes is an aspiring opera singer, who is kidnapped by a former-friend and sold to the trolls who live under a mountain for gold. She is then forced to bond with Prince Tristan de Montigny to fulfil a prophecy to break a centuries-old curse cast upon the trolls, which has deprived them from ever stepping foot into the human realm again. Whilst there, Cécile gets caught up in a revolution brewing between the trolls in servitude and the trolls in the aristocracy. She is also simultaneously trying to prove her usefulness, as the King of Trollus becomes impatient for her and his son’s union to free the trolls from the cold and the dark that he’s grown tired of.

I loved the multi-layered friendships, the gradual (and ADORABLE) romance, and the captivating plot in this novel. If this is indeed a début novel, it was exceptionally done. I could not put this book down for the life of me! I was even annoyed at my professors because they were getting in the way of my reading time! ;)

Tristan, although a flawed, untrusting, and inherently deceptive individual, was also sarcastic, clever, wilful, protective, brave, sexy, charming, and selfless. What more could you want for in a Prince?! Man, did he make me swoon!!! <3

Céline was a fabulous heroine, who managed to be very relatable, as her personality was well-balanced with bravery and humour. She is steadfast in her decision-making, makes realistic choices, and is very quick-witted, making her a wonderful character to read about.

Thus, I can happily recommend this book to all of you Beauty and the Beast fans and to those who enjoy faerie novels! Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to finish Hidden Huntress! ;)
Profile Image for Simona B.
898 reviews3,008 followers
September 13, 2021

"Why can’t you believe me? Why don’t you trust me?"
"Because you’re human, Cécile. You can lie, even to yourself."

The first two hundred pages swept me off my feet. I was entranced, completely bewitched. The story does not stand out for its originality, maybe -basically, we're talking about a retelling of The Beauty and the Beast, plus trolls- but with such a flowing writing style and compelling plot, it's extremely easy for the reader to let go of any higher expectations he might have had and just enjoy what he gets. Which is pretty good, more than good, if, once again, not particularly unique.

•My main reason for loving Cécile, the main character, is that she's got red hair. I dyed mine red some time ago and I absolutely adore them, so yes, I'm biased. Also, she is strong, independent, strong-willed, and I deeply appreciated her lack of whining for having been torn away from her family (and if she had cried and wept her eyes out a little bit because of that, I wouldn't have minded at all because come on, she would have been completely justified). Her characterization is a bit like the book in general, that is good, but not special or unique; she doesn't really stand out for anything. I think that maybe, just maybe, she grows soft on Tristan slightly too fast, and her first reason for it is that he's a sight to behold. Don't get me wrong, their relationship is well-developed and their romance a delicious slow burn, but the very beginning made me worry indeed.

•As for Tristan, not only is he fabulously handsome, he's also devilishly clever and scheming. I'd rather the whole book were centred on his involvement in troll politics, or at least that the politics was further developed, but well, we can't have everything, and his character is charmingly charismatic nonetheless.

•But then, then.... then the drama came, meaning the protagonists started acting like freaking deranged lovesick lovebirds, and I'm not exaggerating. Never have I seen such a quick deterioration in a main character, let alone two. One moment they are normal, rational, with their feet firm on the ground and their heads on their shoulders, and the next they... I don't even know how to explain it. For instance, there is this gigantic disaster that totally happens because our larva of a heroine decided it was just the right moment to come out of her cocoon as a full-grown moron and and being generally insufferable because as I see it, being upset is not an excuse for being impulsive to the point of willingly throwing yourself in your death's way and almost killing another person in the process. No. Just no. I can't.
This makes me so mad.

•As if that were not enough, the previously delicious scheming Tristan is also abandoned by his wits as soon as love blooms. So he just start a riot in his city, because it suddenly sounds like a good idea.

➽ All in all, Stolen Songbird is an average yet pleasantly entertaining read. I wanted to pull my hair out throughout the second half, but it was bearable after all. And even if I admit it's not one of my priority at the moment, I think I'm going to continue the series because the universe just cannot be that cruel.
(Or can it?)
Profile Image for Brandi.
329 reviews800 followers
May 22, 2014

This book started out really good- the heroine was exactly what I like: capable, fierce, intelligent, and autonomous. I loved every single bit… till she was bonded to Tristan. Also, just a side note, but I would not compare this to Seraphina. I haven’t read that one again in some time, but it was much better imo, and Graceling was a complete DNF for me. So I suppose I shouldn’t have hoped that this one was going to fare better on my personal enjoyment meter. I’m such a sucker though, I always want to believe, lol.

So here we have our girl who is painfully and brutally abducted away to a place that heretofore was nothing more than a myth. Trollus. Turns out that trolls are real, not all of them are the hideous under-the-bridge types, and some are startlingly beautiful. Such was the case in Prince Tristan and I saw that his pretty face seemed to have more effect on Cecile than I liked. Sure, she drank the magic potion that bonded the two of them so that each others emotions were always in the others head, and that most certainly would have fostered some softening of feelings, but it was too much for me.

Tristan is embroiled in the political entanglements that rule Trollus and there is a divide between the trolls who want free of their curse and those who want to keep all troll lines pure bloods. Tristan, being the most powerful of all, and being bonded to a human, wants to make sure nobody can use her against him but fails miserably- and it was the stupidest thing ever. Cecile goes about her life slowly but surely being less and less amazing as she started out, but still tolerable, and then suddenly she realizes that she loves her husband. Out of the blue. They didn’t sleep together (I mean sleep not sex), they never spent time together, the only time they did spend with each other was spent in fostering an image of a troll-hating-human affiliation. Cecile was able to know that Tristan wasn’t as horrible as he was acting thanks to being aware of his emotions in the back of her mind. But then one day their arch nemesis plays the jealousy card on her and she falls for it so hard that nearly everything was ruined and she almost died. This jealousy aspect didn’t abate for so long that I was about to pull my hair out and I still hate it- it’s not the girl I met in the beginning, and it was so stupid since she had nothing to base her love on. And the whole thing was just UGH. And furthermore- the troll that was used in this instrument of jealousy wasn’t even a bad guy .

To further my annoyance of the needless love shape was the fact that Cecile is suddenly in a shape with a boy from her village that comes to Trollus with his dad to trade. This was completely and totally pointless in my mind, all it served was to – and I don’t exaggerate, have Tristan and him fight over Cecile. It was so out of left field and pointless and on the heels of that jealousy fiasco that I just couldn’t. By that point I was no longer in love with the story or the characters and instead just wanted to get it over with.

The whole time that all this is going on the main theme of the story- the curse, was never even close to being resolved. That disappointed me because I knew I was running out of book to get a real solution, but I figured there’d be at least some movement… but no, not really. What did make me question the myth of the trolls was that . There were a few inconsistencies like that that I highlighted but I don’t want to put tons of quotes in the review.

One major detail in this story that nearly made me rage quit was when Cecile decided to single handedly take on a crazed and powerful troll… alone. I can’t even with that. She was beaten when she was abducted and never complained, but then later in the book she fell and scrapped her knee- getting a few stitches, and then continued to complain about it, but yet was totally fine standing her ground against the crazy and crazy powerful troll. The one that nearly NOBODY else would even mess with because he was so strong. This whole- just ugh. I can’t. We’re also left with a nice little cliffie and it worked because I want to know what the hell happens about this damned curse. I don’t want to keep going about how much I was let down because taking all my notes and quotes and putting it in here would take too long.

Basically I would say that this book got worse for me as time went on, but I don’t think that it’ll be that way for any other books in the series. The writing itself was good; it was nicely paced and there was some great elements in there that make me think this could definitely get better with time. I think this book will be the one that has people wanting to be forgiving enough to let go of certain things, or ones like me who can’t move past them, and just a handful in the middle.
Profile Image for Lucie V..
1,014 reviews2,069 followers
January 24, 2023
✅ Original world-building
✅ Captor/captive
✅ Arranged marriage
🆗 Main character
🆗 Plot
❌ Romance / hate-to-love

2.5 stars 😞

I have mixed feelings about this book, some parts are good, but some parts are boring. Also, the storyline is a little too cliché and predictable. The world-building is very interesting and well done, and I like the fact that this story is about trolls. They are less glamorous creatures (except of course for the romantic interest, he is the most gorgeous person to have ever walked the Earth even though he is a troll 🙄), and I was excited to see how the author would develop this original aspect.

I loved the first half of the book, but as soon as the romantic drama came in, that was it for me… Not because I don’t enjoy drama and romance, but because of the way it was developed.

Cécile is a good main character, but she is nothing extraordinary. She is not the silly stupid girl crying about her poor misfortune, she is determined to escape and to make the best of a bad situation, but she is not a strong kickass fighter either. It was nice reading the story from her point of view, but honestly, after I finished this book, I realized that she is not particularly interesting. I also feel that there were not enough interactions between the characters, I have no idea how Cécile became friends with some of the trolls or how they came to care about her, it was just suddenly there. It is sad because I usually fall in love with Danielle Jensen’s characters.

My main issue with this book is the relationship between Cécile and Tristan. It started off well, I truly enjoyed reading the first 200 pages. They are both angry and wary because they are both in a situation they have no control over. Things are starting to get better for them when Cécile realizes that Tristan is a sympathizer to the half-trolls and the humans and that he is not the big bad guy he pretends to be in front of the nobility. What bothers me is how little we see of the evolution of their feelings for each other. They have a shaky truce and maybe even the beginning of pleasant companionship, and the next thing we know is how Cécile should not be feeling the way she is about him, how she is so sad because he does not care about her, and how she loves him. She spent almost no time with him, so I was really wondering how and when these feelings developed. Even worse, when given a chance to escape, she hesitated because she wanted to know how he was feeling about her before she made her choice. The intensity of her feelings felt so out of the blue, I rolled my eyes a few times when I read about their mutual pledge of eternal love.

I loved The Bridge Kingdom series and the Dark Shores series, but I was disappointed with this book, I do think that it might be a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” because most reviews are 4 stars or 5 stars… I guess this just wasn’t the right book for me, maybe I would have enjoyed it more a few years ago...

Fanart by MelanieT

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Profile Image for Irena BookDustMagic.
635 reviews574 followers
September 1, 2020
I just found a new favorite book series of mine. Everything that I like in a book, this book has it. And it is killing me that I will have to wait until March for it's sequel but it will be so worth it!

When I say everything, I mean everything: I was laughing, I was swooning, I was nervous, stressed, holding my breath while reading it, releasing it out loud... I liked, I loved, I hated, I was even yelling in my mind at some of the characters...

I have to accentuate that this book left me wondering about all of the directions this story could develop and I really don't know how I'm gonna stick it out not knowing it until March. I'll just have to. But seriously, if it was released yesterday, it would be the only way I would be okay with.

Let's talk about the characters. The main Character, Cecile; is a kick-ass redhead who is likeable and smart most of the time, but at times she can make some stupid decisions and I can honestly say at time I was afraid of all the wrong directions her decisions could lead us. Wrong for her, other characters and the world itself.

Then there is Tristan. Likeable most of the time but he seemed kind of lost and trough the whole book I can't say I trusted him completely. I still don't. There are 2 more books that need to be released and a lot could happened.

Tristan's father, the King, I didn't like. But there are some side characters that are worse and I hated them!

There are some that don't have a big part in this story, they are side characters but I can see they could became more important, if not maybe the key for the story develop in other books.

The book is written in two POVs. Cecile's for the most of the book and Tristan's at some chapters. I think the writer did a great job by doing it because it had to be done that way so we could know some things Cecile didn't know, but it still didn't show us everything so we still had to question some things.

All in all, if you like fantasy, specially faerie stories, I say give it a try. I think you will love it! I certainly did!
Profile Image for booknuts_.
761 reviews1,194 followers
February 7, 2016
Originally Read 6/17/14
REREAD: 6/5/15

Original Review found at: www.awesomebooknuts.blogspot.com

Wow..what a story! what superb writing! what an amazing...EVERYTHING! I LOVED IT! A MUST OWN!

The world building was incredible, I felt like I had actually transported to the world of Trollus and walked side-by-side with these characters. The setting was magical and I was sucked in by page 5. The plot was interesting, complex yet it flowed and had good pace. There was mystery, adventure, romance, action, everything that makes an amazing story.

A heroine who's not whiny but who is capable, fierce, believable, and intelligent! Yet she has her faulty moments like we all do which makes her human and relate-able. Cecile is the key to this whole story. A girl literally stolen/kidnapped from her life and taken to the caves of the trolls and is forced to marry the troll prince in order to break the spell/curse brought upon the troll kingdom by a witch, which forces the trolls to NEVER leave their cave kingdom.

Tristan-a swoon-worthy male lead who is everything I love in a male character. Smart, aggressive, passionate, sarcastic and kind. He is the good leader this kingdom needs in order to survive and not repeat the past that made the witch curse them and their kingdom. Yet he has to play his role to his father as the prince and future heir to the kingdom.

The overall story and idea of trolls as new and different and I loved every minute of my time reading this story. Some trolls are hideous and others are not, the workings of the troll kingdom was unique. The side characters were even worth reading about, and who contribute to the plot development. They were not just there to provide a counterpoint to the story and that is what makes this whole story so great. The romance didn't overwhelm the story but had a nice pace to it and the fact that Tristan and Cecile hate each other for a good portion of the story was GREAT it added conflict to the characters story themselves which I love.

Overall I loved this story it was everything I enjoy in story so I will own this in hard copy!

Sexual Content: mild (some kissing)
Language: moderate (PG)
Violence: moderate
Drugs/Alcohol: mild/none
509 reviews2,413 followers
July 5, 2023
07/05/2023 Re-read in 2023 and still had a blast. :)

Want to read this fabulous book? Enter the giveaway on my blog for a SIGNED copy of Stolen Songbird! Open internationally!

Read in February 2014 | 4.5 stars

"They aren't ugly. More like beautiful things that have had the misfortune of being broken."

Stolen Songbird just might be my favorite novel of the year so far (but it's only February--too early to tell), with its magical setting, beautiful writing, truthful characters and engaging story. This one definitely had some irritating moments, but I guess my overall excitement and enjoyment lessened whatever bad things I felt toward the novel.

We begin the story with our heroine Cécile--fierce, accepting and compassionate. She showed a great sense of bravery (physically, emotionally and mentally) by accepting her fate. At the same time, she still fought for freedom, but not at the cost of hurting anyone (whether it be people she loves or doesn't even know). She also cared for the citizens of Trollus who were abused/not given what they deserved, despite them being trolls and not humans.

At the mention of Trollus and its inhabitants, I immediately think about how much I loved the setting and how authentic it was.  We are introduced to Trollus, the home of supposedly monstrous and dangerous trolls--but let me assure you, they are quite kind and accepting. That aside, I am a huge fan of high fantasy novels since they bring us to new, beautiful worlds that we didn't think could exist. Stolen Songbird was no exception. I loved everything from the markets, to the mining shafts, to the palace and everything in between.

The side characters were very interesting as well! We have Marc, the kind one who's always helpful, Anaïs, who was initially a bitch but turned out to be helpful and a bit broken, and many, many others. It was nice that each character had a personality and all contributed to the overall story.

“Watch your tongue, Tristan,” the Duchesse snapped. “Ridiculous expression, that,” Tristan said. “I can't very well observe my own tongue unless I am to sit in front of a mirror, and I can't tolerate such vanity.”

And then, of course, we have our (swoon-worthy) hero, Tristan. At first, he may come off as rude and indifferent, but once we are really introduced to his character, it'll be hard not to fall for him. Being next in line for the throne, you'd think that Tristan would want to follow his father's footsteps and sort of abuse his power. But no! Tristan is gentle (and hilarious) and he really cares about his people, whether or not they are poor or even if they're human.

“I haven't given you a reason to believe I have a single romantic bone in my body.”

But oh, you have, Tristan dearest. The romance (*cough* and angst *cough*) in the novel was exquisite. There was development between both characters and it was really lovely. From victim and captor, to friends, to lovers. I couldn't help but melt a little every time Tristan showed concern or did sweet things--it's making me feel bad that I'm spending Valentine's all alone, lol!

 Truly, I would recommend this one to anyone looking for a good high fantasy that'll give you all. The. Feels.
February 2, 2019

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I'm obsessed with Labyrinth, so when I see a romance cross my path that promises to woo me with similar tales of faeries, goblins, elves, or trolls, I obviously get more excited than a kid on his or her birthday. When the Malediction trilogy went on sale for Kindle a few years ago, I bought every single book, because there was NO WAY, my eternal optimist said, NO WAY this wouldn't be good. My eternal optimist can be an eternal idiot and is responsible for 99.9% of my stupid book-buying decisions, but luckily for me, this particular decision was 100% spot-on.

Cecile is a talented singer who lives in a village with her father and brother. While on her way to go to her mother in the nearby city, to sing on stage, she is kidnapped by a man who has decided to deliver her to the trolls imprisoned in their kingdom under a mountain in exchange for Cecile's weight in goblin gold. Once in the kingdom of Trollus, Cecile finds herself in a truly bizarre society filled with racism, paranoia, and power plays.

The trolls were imprisoned beneath the mountain by a witch because they were too dangerous and too  powerful to be around humans. To break the curse, they believed that they needed to marry their prince to a human woman. Despite the farcical wedding ceremony to Tristan, said prince, nothing happens, and Cecile finds herself imprisoned in a kingdom filled with bizarre people who either ignore her, threaten her, or else treat her like she's less than dirt.

Enemies-to-lovers romances are my favorites, and so are fake marriages or marriages of convenience. This book has both tropes and even better, it does them well. It was interesting to see how Tristan had his people's interests at heart, and how he spent every step of the way fighting his attraction to Cecile "for her own good." There's also a really rich tapestry of side characters, like Marc, Tristan's best friend who has a mismatched face, Anais, the sister of Marc's dead wife, beautiful as anything but unlikely to wed due to her flawed DNA. And then there's Tristan's evil father, his mother who has his aunt growing on her back like a sentient tumor, and so many other interesting and bizarre people, too.

This is definitely more romance-driven than fantasy-driven but the forbidden romance and the need to escape the mountain are both mired in some very good world-building. The magic system isn't really that clear, as magic is kind of a catch-all here, where trolls can do just about whatever sorts of illusions they please, but I did like the clear divide between human magic and troll magic, and based on some of the reveals in this book, I'm hoping that divide will come into play more in later books.

STOLEN SONGBIRD lives up to its hype. It's a very fun fantasy romance that's a bit reminiscent of darker stories aimed at women, like Phantom of the Opera or Labyrinth. Cinematic in scope, it's got everything from fancy dresses to a dangerous love interest, peppered with a smattering of magic.

Book two, here I come!

4 stars
Profile Image for Nasom.
195 reviews142 followers
October 8, 2018
Full Review

I think this was my first book with trolls and i was not disappointed !!

I went into this book without knowing anything (I probably read the synopsis in the past but I forgot everything I read lol) so it was an interesting ride.

What I liked
- I liked the premise in general. About a human who somehow finds herself in troll land with no escape and is bound to one of them. She learns that she is the key to breaking a curse that has plagued the land for centuries. She then realizes that not all of them are as bad as she thought and now she's conflicted between staying to help them and escaping.

- There are a few tropes I like and this book had two of them! The first is 'enemy-to-lover' and the second is 'bonding of characters'. I love when two characters are bonded! (they can feel each other's emotions, if one dies, it affects the other, etc) Mix that in with people who go from disliking each other to loving each other and you have a winner!!

- I liked reading about the different types of physical appearance of trolls! A few of them look human but alot of them have some sort of deformity.

Why isnt this a 5-star?

idk I just felt like something was missing. Like I enjoyed it but it wasn't something that was spectacular.
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.8k followers
May 21, 2019
After trudging through a glut of mediocre Young Adult fantasies (probably including too many self-published ones), this one hit me, at the time I first read it, like a ton of bricks. I was all, YES! layered personalities! Complex motivations! Non-TSTL (Too Stupid to Live) heroine! 5 stars!!

Looking at this novel again, with the benefit of some hindsight, I'm thinking that maybe I had just read too many self-published and freebie paranormal/fantasy romances on my Kindle and it skewed my views. This is a pretty good book; a lot of readers (especially the ones who like romantic YA fantasy) will love it. But it has its issues, like many (most) paranormal romances.

Stolen Songbird is the story of a young woman, Cécile, who is taken by trolls into their underground kingdom and forced to marry the troll prince. Luckily for Cecile, these are handsome trolls (who knew there was such a thing?), not the stuff of nightmares.

The trolls do have distinct personalities and hidden layers instead of being one-dimensional cardboard characters, all good or all evil. They have hidden motives that only gradually become apparent. Their history is painful and mysterious and probably (it remains to be seen, in the sequels, of course) other-worldly.

Cécile makes some rash and impulsive decisions along the way. That thing I said about her not being TSTL? I kind of take it back. But at least for the most part I could understand and sympathize with why she did what she did, and I thought that on some level it made sense.

The romance is a pretty standard PNR romance. It manages to hit several romance tropes, but if you love that sort of thing anyway, I thought this was pretty well done.

"Malediction" means "a magical word or phrase uttered with the intention of bringing about evil or destruction; a curse." The main curse in this book is the one that keeps the trolls locked in their underground kingdom but, like most things in this book, it looks like there's more to it than meets the eye.

If you like YA fantasies with a strong romantic element, this is a solid one. But I still like The Hollow Kingdom better, another stolen bride book with a great young woman protagonist.
Profile Image for April (Aprilius Maximus).
1,110 reviews6,574 followers
February 13, 2017
WOW. I honestly didn't expect this to capture my heart like it did! There were a couple of little things that made me roll my eyes but overall I LOVED this.
Profile Image for Brittney ~ Reverie and Ink.
260 reviews4,947 followers
March 18, 2017
I put this book off for quite a long time based off the description. Seriously- a book about trolls? Ehhh. I was hesitant.

I'm glad I listened to friends and read this anyway. It was everything I could want from a fantasy. Such a pleasant surprise!

So first off, not all the trolls are ugly. In fact.. several are beautiful. From their descriptions, they sound a bit more like fae (which its possible they are as Tristan mentions Cecile doesn't truly know what they are.) Who knows. The important thing to take away from this paragraph is that there is a troll prince and he is badass, snarky, brooding, and most certainly not ugly.

The story, in short, starts off fairly fast paced as Cecile is abducted and taken to Trollus, a spelled city under the mountain where trolls live (and can't leave via a magical curse.) She's said to be the one to break said curse by marriage to the troll prince (Tristan.) Of course, nothing is that easy- and things under the mountain grow complex as Cecile realizes Tristan isn't what he seems and there is much more to Trollus than meets the eye.

Overall, this was a lot of fun. The pacing was perfect and the story kept me quite entranced. I definitely had some feels. My only complaint is that Cecile seemed to resign to her fate fairly easily. She wasn't bad for a heroine and she had some great moments..

The world building was pretty cool although some of the magic (especially the bond) seemed to flip flop on the actual rules. It could be that I just misunderstood it but there were quite a few times where the rules that were set "conveniently" didn't apply to the circumstances.

I recommend this as a general fantasy. The whole arranged marriage in books has really let me down lately- but this one was refreshing and unique. It is worth the read.

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Profile Image for Rachel E. Carter.
Author 9 books3,514 followers
January 27, 2023
I would definitely reread in a heartbeat.

Oh, and let me just say Tristan fulfills my sarcastic, hot bad boy quota:

“You look ridiculous walking around the city carrying an empty wineglass. I don't care to be associated with a drunk. Particularly one who damages glassware.”

I loved the general plot line: trolls, girl kidnapped against her will and forced to marry hot bad boy prince, political intrigue, and magic. I think my favorite thing besides Tristan was the setting –I loved that it was so different, it reminded me of the caves in The Host.

I will say I didn’t know where this plot was going. I thought I did but it took a different direction and while that is wonderful for lots of people, I was disappointed. I felt the ending action was a bit lackluster –things happened, but they all just felt really small & I don’t know, I was expecting something really epic because of the awesome premise. Still, I will definitely be reading the sequel because there were lots of plot lines unanswered and a big cliffhanger, plus the world of Trollus is so fascinating in itself & I love all of Tristan & Cecile’s dialogue <3
Profile Image for Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘.
851 reviews3,882 followers
February 15, 2021

What I loved in Stolen Songbird can be summed up by the sentence above. Indeed, what's better than a book which shows the ability to surprise you?

"I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face,” he said, ignoring my question. “Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things."

What you expect : Regular Trolls
What you get : WIN! Absolutely not the ugly and stupid creatures Trolls are known to be.

Now, I know a big amount of readers were annoyed by the fact that the Trolls aren't like we could expect but come on. COME ON. Regular Trolls? They're so fucking lame and stupid. I mean, how in the world could I have been interested in the story if the Trolls were what we're told they are in other fantasy books? How? During what I love to call my "fantasy days", when the only books I read except for the classics I studied in Uni were fantasy books, I met a lot of Trolls, and let me tell you, I never ever felt a spark of interest toward them. Never. The guys are morons big ugly creatures used as villains more often than not, and damn, I grew tired of this shit. The "Special Guy" (yes, guy, because have you noticed that Special Girls aren't that frequent in Fantasy?) must fulfill the World Saving mission he's been asked to? He met fucking Trolls in the journey. And let's the battle begin. Sigh.

Excuse me if I prefer BY FAR the way Trolls are portrayed here : clever, designed to rule the world, filled with magic, not sexist (yes, that's important), and, yes, "handsome", because it seems to be the major problem for a lot of persons. Not for me. Oh, wait. Am I the only one who think that a lack of symmetry can be completely freaky? Okay, Tristan is handsome. And I'm not complaining because let's face it : I don't ship overly beautiful male-leads but come on : a troll like I used to read about in fantasy would have been an awkward love interest, I must admit, because they are STUPID MORONS, remember. Is it bad if I hope that Tristan had more scars, though? Yeah? Well, sue me.

What you expect : A conceited Troll Prince who's going to fall in love at first sight.
What you get : WIN! The incarnation of what I love in male-leads, no less.

Let me tell you, Tristan is THE guy, as he is *take a huge breath* sarcastic, strong-minded, protective but not creepy, sexy, adorable and selfless. He is Ash's material, and I'm weighing my words here. One could say that he's far too perfect, but in my opinion he's not, because he does have flaws. The thing is, his flaws are the kinds that I love. He hides the truth and doesn't give his trust easily? Thanks god he doesn't! He's a master of deception? I ship that. In life and in books, I often find myself hating when people tell stories about themselves, about the way they are, so special, little things, while their acts say otherwise. In my opinion, Tristan shows bravery, the real courage that is to accept to show a sick image of himself to protect those for whom he cares, as Jérôme says. Oh, and he made me laugh. And swoon. And ache.

"The one, the only, as they like to say," Tristan said affably, brushing off his coat where I'd bumped into him.
"Which 'they' would that be?" I asked.
"Oh, you know. Them." He waved a hand in the air, dismissing the question."

Annnnd I'm leaving it at this otherwise my review would only be more and more declarations of love for Tristan, and you don't want to read this, do you?

What you expect : A TSTL heroine with no other purpose that falling in love
What you get : WIN! A brave and funny female-lead we can relate to.

Cécile is full of awesomeness. Oh, look at this : Cécile. I still don't understand why all the names are French in this book but that cracked me up at the beginning, because what is supposed to look exotic feels just ... random to me. But then, I agreed with a friend the other day because as a fantasy reader I'm sometimes appalled by the names which are chosen, Terkana, Urkira, Putrok (I'm totally creating these), so the way they used French names here is somehow refreshing. French's exotic, guys. Or not, buuuut that's another story.

"Oh? And what feelings, pray tell, does this represent?"
I lifted my chin and looked him straight in the eye.
"My feelings for you, dear husband."

So, Cécile. Let's make a little list of what I loved in her, shall we?
• Be careful, because that might astonish you, but the girl has a life she doesn't want to leave behind, and her opinion doesn't change when she meets the magnificent Tristan. I know, I know, how fierce of her, right?
She's never TSTL in my opinion. I mean, yeah, she does make mistakes and knows some instant-jerk reactions, but even if I was worried and mad at some point, never, at any moment, wasn't I able to understand why she reacted in such way. Actually, she reminds me of Megan from The Iron Fey series, and although I realize that a lot of readers didn't like her, I always thought that her mistakes were understandable and above that, fucking realistic. Have you never react without thinking of the consequences because you were upset? Nope? Ha, if that's the case, you're far better than me in a lot of ways.
She's not straight-on bitchy to other women, and she manages to develop girls friends. Fuck YEAH!
• She knows how to defend herself from sarcastic comments *rubs hands*

What you expect : Instalove & Instalust, if you're lucky like that.
What you get : WIN! A realistic, cute and adorable romance.

▶ Indeed I absolutely loved how their feelings gradually increase, without the sudden trust that never fails to annoy me in several YA books, nope. They're bonded together? Correct. Do they trust each other first time they meet? Oh, Fuck no, because you know what? Trust must be earn, as in real life : how amazing is that? Moreover, the "I'm going to let everybody think that I hate you" trope? I'm such a sucker for that shit!

What you expect : A story focused on the main characters
What you get : WIN! Interesting and well-portrayed secondary characters

What you expect : A slow-paced, about 500 pages read
What you get : WIN! Such a page-turner that you wonder how in the world it could really be 500 pages.

To say that the story was captivating would be an understatement : the plot is well-wrapped and the ending brings just the right amount of closure and angst, making you want to read the sequel immediately.

What you expect : Miscommunication driven angst
What you get : FAIL! Miscommunication driven angst

▶ Lack of communication driven angst never fails to piss me off, and Sigh. There was a moment where I was both worried and mad, because while I could understand Cécile's instant-jerk reactions, I was appalled at the same time because never before she let her temper drive her actions. What? I wasn't expecting that, dammit, she didn't make me accustomed to such behavior!

Annnnd that's where I'm feeling unfair because let's face it, if she had made me used to this kind of stupid (sorry, but it WAS stupid) behavior I wouldn't have loved her but she didn't so I did like her and then I felt stabbed in the back. Oh, well. I'm just going to accept that sometimes I'm worse than a spoiled child. There.

Moreover, as much as I appreciate the fact that the secondary characters were multi-layered (Anaïs included), I failed to understand some of their reactions at some point , reactions that I found out of character.

What you expect : Unoriginal plot and world-building
What you get : I can't say that the plot isn't original, it wouldn't be true. However I can't deny either that the world contains many similarities with The Iron fey series. As it is, I can't really complain because hell, I loved this series, but I would feel dishonest if I didn't bring this issue.

• A human MC in a world ruled by magic
• These people can't lie, and their promises are unbreakable, because you're bonded by them
• A hero who isn't who he seems at first, and acts as he hates the heroine to protect her
• The Trolls can be wounded by iron.
• There is a Summer and a Winter Court.

There. The similarities ARE here. Now, did they prevent me from enjoying the story? Of course not. Writers always take inspiration in other works, and that's for the best, if they don't end copying another book's plot and calling it their own. Here it's far from plagiary, therefore I'm completely okay with that.

PS : A friend just told me that some readers thought that the Trolls here might be Fae in disguise. That's a smart theory, which would explain a lot of things. I guess we'll see :)

"Correct again. Remind me to choose you for my team if we ever play charades. I like a stacked team."
Profile Image for ˗ˏˋ lia ˎˊ˗.
306 reviews387 followers
June 24, 2020
“i cannot stop the world from moving. all i can do is be prepared for when it does.”

this book has made me sooo angry, i can’t believe. this review includes a (tagged) spoiler for the plot twist or whatever it was supposed to be, so be aware if you plan on reading this but i really don’t recommend doing so.

let’s begin with one of the very few positive aspects. the idea was honestly great and the story had so much potential, but i was just so fucking frustrated with how underdeveloped everything was, and i’m not exaggerating when i say everything. the characters were super dull and had pretty much no personality whatsoever. every single person (that includes trolls and humans alike) had no significant identity and character traits. oh, except being annoying because that can be applied to all of them.

the world of trollus and trolls pretend to be so incredibly progressive because they, as opposed to the humans in this world apparently, allow girls to go to school and what not, yet “she’s his wife, she is duty-bound to go wherever he wants to go”??? also, they talk about politics as if it were a bad thing lmao, as if it were a thing in the far distance with no points of contact to the people and not their daily lives’ interest, what a joke. they talk about cécile and that she knows nothing about politics and, in consequence, tell her to not get involved in something she has no idea about. during all that, i was sitting here and YELLING that yes, she fucking should get involved because they treat her and talk about her as if she were a second-class person (which she probably also is to them because she’s human and not a troll, oh no!) also, while the word ‘politics’ is constantly mentioned (i should’ve counted because it was mentioned like four times on one page at some point), the book never goes into more detail about what’s actually going on and it’s not developed at all.

there was no build-up of the ‘plot twist’ whatsoever and, at one point halfway through the story, she just suddenly was like but uhhh that’s not how it works, if you ask me. but i might be biased because i like my stories to actually make sense and be structured well enough for the reader to understand certain plot elements.

now to another part that made me so! angry! i am not opposed to insta love if it’s done well, but the one in here was just a whole mess. cécile and tristan talk to each other like once every 50 pages or so but then, completely out of the blue, she is like oh tristan, i love you and i would die for you and whatever, while all he did the previous chapters was talk down to her because she can’t understand him due to her being human and suddenly he’s like oh no, cécile, i don’t want you to get hurt and if you die, i die. what??

while this book was super easy to fly through in the second half, which is the second and last positive thing i have to say about it, and i kept on reading because i wanted to see how it ended, it just made me incredibly mad all the time which i’m sure you’re not even able to tell after me ranting for the past five minutes! i was so fucking frustrated and kept yelling to myself, which is also unintentionally fitting since every! character! in! this! book! is! screaming! and! almost! every! sentence! ends! with! an! exclamation! point! this is how i’ll be sleeping tonight, knowing that i won’t even bother to read the next two installments in the series. and that’s the tea for today.


→ 2 stars
Profile Image for Ash.
382 reviews39 followers
November 9, 2017
JUNE 2015 Yep, rereading another 2015 read....I just bought the sequel and that gives me a totally legit reason to reread this so soon :)
The first time I read it, I rated it 4 stars....reading this a second time, I've realized I was wrong to do so...now its 5. My first review still stands, I can't add much to it, really.

This book really is something else. I loved the idea of it all, and I loved the main characters, and even some of the secondary characters...although, of course, some of those royally pissed me off at times. I love Tristan and Cecile and I definitely don't regret it. There is a lot a books, that have the whole 'love/hate' thing going on, but somehow, this one is set apart. I love it! I really love how this was written. I think this may be added to the "Favorites of 2015" list.

On to the next one! I know a lot of my friends decided it was far beneath this one, but of course, I won't pass judgement until i've read it for myself.


MARCH 2015I am just going to sit here.......and cry my damn eyes out over that ending...............omg. this book.........I wasnt sure what to think of it at first....the first chapter or 2 were like...."what is this nonsense....?" but then I was like "I need this to never freaking end".
I loved the characters. Tristan was....idk, I didnt like him the first time we met him, I thought he was an immature little boy....but he grew on me, and during his chapters you really get to understand what is going on, and his reasoning for doing and saying the stuff he does. Yep. it wasn't love at first 'line' but it definitely didn't stay that way for long.
I dont have much to say, except that this was an excellent book, and I'd been wanting to read it for quite some time before I actually bought it. I am glad I did! I only regret reading it so soon because I have months to wait for the sequel that I really really really need, right this second.
March 19, 2015

*Still 5 Wonderful Stars*

I was terrified. It was not like the terror of running from a wolf, always knowing you can turn and fight. It was not like the sense of drowning, where there is a chance to flee to the surface. From this darkness and this place, there was no escape. I could neither run nor hide, and no one can fight the dark. All there was left for me to do was die.

Okaaaaayyyy so.....a book about trolls? Really? I mean, come on. In what way could this possibly be appealing? And, even if it did appeal to my senses, how could a troll possibly be hotter than the sun our dear Cecile so desperately misses? I can't answer these questions with coherent and well thought out answers, but I can assure you of one thing: Tristan. Was. Hot. This story? It was beyond addicting. Every single one of these characters had a way of getting under my skin that mirrored only my favorite stories, and that is very rarely an occurrence for me.

"They aren't ugly." I bit my lip, trying to find the right words. "More like beautiful things that have had the misfortune of being broken." Tristan turned his face back to me. I saw the sorrow in his eyes and felt it in my heart. "Why are you always so unhappy?" I asked.
"I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face," he said, ignoring my question. "Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things."
"Do you think trolls are evil?" I asked.
"Do you?" His eyes searched mine as though he might find the answer there.
"No," I said. "I don't."
He exhaled softly, reaching up and stroking my cheek with one hand. "From your lips I can almost believe it's true."

It's quite simple, really...Cecile is stolen from everything she has ever known, dragged 'leagues' downward to the passed over and only rarely mentioned city of Trollus where all the Trolls are trapped because of a curse some witch cast on them a long time ago. And how might they break this curse, you ask? Well, it is foretold that if a daughter of sun (who sings) and a son of night (prince) are brought together in marriage, that the curse will be lifted. Or so they think...

"I wish I was not what I am." His voice was twisted with anguish. "I wish I was not who I am. I wish I had met you in different circumstances, in a place far away from here, where there is no magic, politics, and deception. Somewhere where things could be different between us. I wish I was someone else."

Cecile doesn't want to be a troll's wife and she doesn't want to sleep in the same bed as her newly (forced) betrothed. So she does what any good wife would do: She plots. She plots and researches and waits for her moment to escape. She waits to capitalize on the mistakes of the city around her and, most importantly, her husband. But this is probably the largest problem with her whole plan: He can feel her. Every emotion. Every flinch of pain. He can feel if she's becoming deceptive or if she's hiding something...but can he ever really know?

"That was only part of it." I barely heard him speak his voice was so quiet. "I was afraid...I am afraid of loving you, knowing that someday you will go and leave me here."

Trolls can't lie, but humans can. Oh sure, they can deceive. They can mislead. They can lead someone off the edge of a cliff or push them off themselves, but they can't directly lie. Thus making for one of the biggest problems for our romantic duo throughout the whole story. Even hate at first sight can lead to something when you see them for what they truly are. Forced together when neither of them wanted each other, they form a bond they never anticipated. They forged an understanding. They had a common thread that linked them and, ultimately, bonded them.

"Ha ha," Tristan snorted. "How dreadfully clever. And speaking of clever, is this to be your bid for escape?" He contemplated my clothing. "In a dressing gown and bare feet? Now tell me, if I go put on nightclothes and slippers, might I join you, or is this a solo adventure?"

On the outside they loathe one another. They walk through the city's streets and ignore one another until absolutely necessary and even then share minimal exchanges unless venom is spitting through their teeth. But they can't hide what's on the inside: The pain. The turmoil. The misery. The longing. The secret 'you aren't so bad' thoughts. No, it's all fun and games until you realize you are starting to befriend and care for the other person. And when you have enemies hidden in plain sight within the city, you can't afford to show that you're falling for her, not when your carefully planned ruse could so easily crumble-Or when she could so easily be used to bring you to your knees....we wouldn't want that...would we?

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Tristan was by far my favorite character, that much was certain. But it's not often I can say I loved the female lead almost as much-Cecile was strong-willed, stubborn and she made mistakes. Costly mistakes. But because of these mistakes, we got to know both her and Tristan on a deeper level. We got to see my favorite thing about any story-I've only said about one hundred times that I love seeing a desperate male lead saving the damsel in distress in the fashion that he could lose his life in exchange-and I haven't gotten to see that in action for a long long time....not in such a dramatic fashion, anyway. In short-I loved how every perilous situation was handled in this book. The author didn't shy from the nasty things or the bloody things and, no, there wasn't necessarily an abundance of those either, but all in all I loved seeing it play out and the desperation and love that was brought forth in these situations. Seeing Tristan and Cecile fall for one another both warmed and broke my heart....because they can only be used as pawns against one another...did I mention I loved that?

Dying was an easy thing to accomplish, effortless in its agony. It was living that was hard, requiring endless toil and labor, and for all one's efforts, it could be stolen in an instant.

Normally I would touch on what my complaints were for the story, but I really didn't have any. Like...at all. I really enjoyed this and found it was very difficult to put down at any cost. This was everything I love in a story and then some. Very rarely do action and peril meet my standards alongside the romance within the same story. I never would have guessed that a book such as this would become an instant favorite of mine, but it has and I can't seem to find the words to explain just how great this book was. It was addicting, heartbreaking, hopeful, fun, action-packed, and sweet. I fell in love with the world and what they were trying to do-the lies, the deception-all for the greater good. I am obsessed with these characters and can't wait to see how their story continues. My only hope is that it isn't too long of a wait before I can see what becomes of these wonderful characters with so much to lose.

"This all seems like a dream now, but like every dream, eventually you must wake."


*Buddy read with my wonderful friend, Kat (back in October 2014 lol)*

*Sorry-my review was more factual than fun, and I hate that-but I'm so tired...and it shows.*

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Mizuki.
3,000 reviews1,210 followers
December 8, 2018
1.5 stars.

I once had high expectation for this book, yet despite all the glowing reviews on GR-- Stolen Songbird reads just like every other cookie cutter YA fantasy novel with plenty of done-to-death cliches:

(1) A cookie cutter heroine, who is supposed to be 'strong willed' and 'brave' but instead acting like a child by angering powerful foes and walking right into dangerous places despite clear warnings from everyone else. Even her talent at singing or her relationship with her family (included one estranged mother) is *never* being handled with any care by the author.

(2) Said heroine is kidnapped by the ugly looking trolls and is forced to marry their prince! But don't you worry! The prince just happens to be unearthly handsome, despite having a pair of deformed/bad looking parents! How convenient.

(3) Trust me...the 'romance' between the main couple is as bad as the one between Edward and Bella in Twilight.

(4) People praise this book for the lack of insta-love in the story, but all I can say is, finely written love-at-first-sight is still better than bad 'slow burnt' romance.

Plus, don't tell me the romance in this book isn't insta-love! The main couple have met each other for...weeks? A month? And what had they done in their time together outside of meaninglessly quarreling and mistrusting one another? Still by the end of the story they are in fucking love!? Are you kidding me?

(5) The heroine was kidnapped to the underground city of the trolls. You ask: what has she been doing in the troll's palace this whole time? Gathering up useful information? Trying to find a way to escape? Well, she gets pretty dresses, she gets to party with the noble trolls, she gets a few servants to wait on her, she fights with the troll prince whom she is forced into marrying, over the pettiest of things. *sighs*

(6) When a mean-spirited troll noble tells the heroine her 'husband' is seeing some other girl behind her back, guess how she reacts!?

...she runs right off to a maze filled with man-eating wraiths out of anger.


(7) This what-is-his-name handsome troll prince, didn't bother to inform the heroine what is going to happen before he binds her to him (life and mind) with magic.

I'm sorry, but being tricked into getting emotionally bound with some complete stranger without any warning really isn't the foundation of good partnership or romance, for crying out loud.

*double facepalms*

(8) The world building is entirely choppy and shabby:

There is a curse (from a witch) waiting to be lifted! There are power struggle between the prince and his father! There are conflicts between the pure blood trolls and the mixed blood ones! Last but not least, there is a group of rebels hidden somewhere because, you know, you can't write a YA without some rebel groups here or there these days! But none of the elements mentioned above is ever being properly explored and developed, we are only told these things are in the story, that's it.

This book is just so bad, I won't even continue reading the sequels.
341 reviews111 followers
May 14, 2016
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU book!
You pushed all the right buttons.

Let me make you a list of all the buttons hereby pushed.

A heroine who's not whiny. Or overly concerned with her looks or all the silly fripperies with which most YA heroines are sadly affected.

A swoon-worthy male lead.

Side characters who are actually worth reading about, and who contribute to the plot development. They are not just there to provide a counterpoint to the MCs' awesomeness.

A peculiar alternate world, well described but without as much as a scrap of infodump. The world building is a bit imperfect, but who cares.

A relationship that builds at the right pace, with the parties actually speaking, interacting and getting to know each other before making gooey eyes. They don't even do the gooey-eye thing.

Oh, and have I already said a swoon-worthy male lead?
I have to make a little room for him in my (too crowded) collection of fictional boyfriends.

Profile Image for Cindy ✩☽♔.
1,098 reviews806 followers
September 1, 2018
“Dying was an easy thing to accomplish, effortless in its agony. It was living that was hard, requiring endless toil and labor, and for all one's efforts, it could be stolen in an instant.”

Like I had mentioned, I stayed up until 3 am just to finish reading this book in one sitting. So, safe to say, I love it.

This book truly is a unique gem among YA Fantasy. No insta-love or love triangle, no Mary Sue or Marty Stu protagonists. The story is well-paced, with plenty of action, moments of love, friendship and misunderstandings, all underscored by a revolution set to change the course of their world.

The Relationships
Tristian & Cecile
"You are wrinkling my dresses," I said. "Zoe and Elise will waste their entire day pressing them."
"And then they can hang them somewhere else," he snapped.
"You're creating an enormous amount of unnecessary work."
"It is the role of the aristocracy to create work," he said, kicking the pile of gowns. "Necessary or otherwise. Without us, who knows what would happen to productivity."
I rolled my eyes and climbed out of bed. Catching the corner of a sheet, I set to making the bed.
"What are you doing?" Tristian shouted.
"What does it look like I'm doing?"
"Ladies do not make their own beds! It shows initiative, which is broadly considered unladylike!"
My temper rising, I whirled about. "Dear me," I shouted. "I must have forgotten that my new purpose in life is to create work." Jerking all the blankets off the bed, I threw them on the floor. The pillows followed next, and I proceeded to run around the room taking all the cushions off the chairs and tossing them about the room. The last I deliberately aim at Tristian's head. It froze midair. "You are making quite the mess of my room."
"Our room!" I shouted back.

Not sure why not I honestly found this scene so hilarious. It was honestly one of my favorites. Especially the when Cecile shouted that it was their room. For me, it was the first step toward them realizing they'd be in this together.
"Most people would have given up a long time ago - just curled up in a corner and waited to die, but you've lived every day. I don't think I've ever met anyone so tenaciously optimistic." Carefully, as if he feared I might still swat his hand away, he reached out and brushed a slimy lock of hair away from my face. "I want you to stay Cecile, but I'm afraid staying will only bring you misery."
“Being around you was the sweetest torture. I wanted to touch you, hold you, kiss you. I wanted all of you.” His shoulders slumped. “But I was afraid of what would happen if I gave in my desire. If I let myself love you.”
“I was afraid... I am afraid of loving you, knowing that someday you will go and leave me here.”

The tricky thing about these two, throughout the story, is though they undoubtedly love each other for a large part of the story there is this a wall. Or line neither is willing to cross for fear of being hurt by the other. Only after they lay all their cards on the table do they fully embrace their love for each other, and it was beautiful to see that finally happen.
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I love these two. They were a slow burn, but oh so worth it. The ending had me so torn up.
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But I know these two will pervail!

*More detailed review to come*
Profile Image for Selene.
618 reviews135 followers
March 12, 2020
So this is what a book hangover feels like... Danielle L. Jensen I just want to thank you for putting this into the world!

I stumbled upon this book because of Regan from Peruse Project. I added this book to read eight months ago and I've been kicking myself for the last three days for not picking it up sooner.

I had to force myself to put this book down a few times in order to savour every piece of it. I could have easily blown through this novel in a day but I just knew the shattered mess I was going to be when it was over. I need all the books immediately! I don't think I've been this invested in a books plot, characters, or world building since Harry Potter!
Profile Image for Gavin.
886 reviews398 followers
January 29, 2018
I felt like this was a decent YA fantasy romance. It definitely had a few flaws but, for the most part, the characters were likeable and the world was a fun one. It actually reminded me a lot of A Court of Thorns and Roses but with more likeable characters and a slightly more simplistic storytelling style!

Cécile de Troyes is due to leave her quiet village and join her famous singer mother in the big city when she is abducted by a local village wastrel and sold to a bunch of Trolls who live under a mountain in the area! The Trolls think they can break the curse binding them to their underground city by marrying Cécile to their prince.

The story itself was fun enough. The troll prince, Tristan, was no more happy with the idea of marrying Cécile than she was with marrying him! His evil Troll father was the one behind the abduction plot so it made both Tristan and Cécile easy to root for. I did quite like them as a couple so that aspect of the story definitely worked for me.

The Trolls were really just regular Fey in all but name. A few of the Troll aristocracy had deformities of one form or another but a lot of them, like Tristan, were just regular supermodel hot! They had some cool magic and the tense political situation and tension in their city created by the way the full-blood Trolls treated the humans (who they loathed but needed in order to trade for stuff like food) and the half-blood Trolls (who they enslaved and used as workhorses and servants) added an extra dimension to the story.

The big flaw of this story for me was that it was all comfortably familiar stuff if one has already read a ton of Beauty and the Beast retellings and Fey romance stories. Which I definitely have! That said, this was still quite enjoyable despite its lack of originality.

I did feel like the ending was a little weak but up until then the whole story had been fun and engaging.

The only other thing I can really moan about was the way Jensen managed to ruin, Marc, who initially had been a fantastic and likeable character but as soon as the going got tough he did something I found pretty repulsive and afterwards Jensen tried to sweep the whole thing under the rug and forget about it which did not work for me. It was a pity as it ruined his character for me and until then he had been the strongest of the secondary characters.

All in all this was a fun YA fantasy romance and I'll definitely be reading the sequel.

Rating: 3.5 stars I'm rounding up to 4 stars as this was quite engaging. The weak ending and the Marc stuff cst the book half a star in my official rating!

Audio Note: Most of the book was narrated by Erin Moon who read the Cécile POV's and I thought she did an good job. The other bits were read by Eric Michael Summerer, who did the few bits of the book from Tristan's POV and I feel like he was also a good narrator.
Profile Image for Georgia ♥ .
420 reviews1,119 followers
December 14, 2014
Almost 4 Magic, Lies and the Price of Freedom Stars

Sometimes one must do the unthinkable.

Trapped for centuries under a mountain.
Creatures of immense power and cruelty. Terribly beautiful. Trolls. Their name strikes fear in the hearts of men. Prisoners to a witch's curse, they trade in favors and they never lie. They manipulate the truth in millions ways possible. Humans are slaves to them. Amusement. Means to an end. Even half bloods, their own blood, they consider servants. They are awaiting for their chance to break free and reign the world once again in terror...

Beauty is supposed to be good and kind, and to discover it otherwise, is like a betrayal of trust. A violation of the nature of things.


Tristan, the future King of Trollus, leader of a secret opposition bonds with a young girl, kidnapped from the outside world, because the prophesy says that she will set them free. This girl is Cécile, with dreams and desires, innocent, thrust into the ruthless world of Trolls, where magic and power rules and nothing is at it seems.


Well-constructed, fast and intriguing this story has so much potential that blew my mind! Rich mythology and engaging characters, emotions and action. This only the beginning that's why I am giving it only 4 stars. I NEED MORE! Romance, certainly and passion, less politics, more magic and action. I liked the world-building, with touches of Fae mythology and how the story progressed made sense. I need the next one, YESTERDAY!!
Profile Image for Viktoria Winter.
107 reviews440 followers
July 21, 2017
“I wish I was not who I am. I wish I had met you in different circumstances, in a place far away from here, where there was no magic, politics and deception. Somewhere where things could be different between us. I wish I was someone else. But I am what and who I am, and all the wishes in the world will not change that.”

The narrator, a young village girl named Cécile, was taught ever since her childhood to sing as beautifully as her mother once did. Her teachers were brutal but efficient, and eventually she sang with such strength that her talents would soon land her outside of her rural hometown and into great fame and fortune. But on the eve of her birthday, as she rides home without a chaperone, she is kidnapped by a neighbor and taken beneath the mountains as tribute for the trolls who had been seeking her. A witch’s curse imprisoned the trolls so that they could never be above ground again, but with the arranged proposal between our heroine and the Prince Tristan of Trollus, many believed the curse would break and set them free. However, when the curse remains in place, Cécile is left with one thing on her mind: escape Trollus or be killed alongside her betrothed.

I truly wanted to enjoy this story, especially because I know many who loved it, and the premise seemed wonderful, but sadly that is not what happened.

As I’ve mentioned, the heroine is kidnaped not too far into the story (first few chapters) and taken beneath the earth. This was my first uneasy sign of how the rest of the book would fall through, because while not every heroine comes written with blades and military training, this one didn't have the strength of mind or willpower to at least try to flee from her captor. She must’ve fallen a dozen times in her attempted plight, and at one point she even concedes to just walk behind him because she knows she is screwed. About ten more chapters later she sees her captor bartering his wares in the goblin market, and instead of being outraged she is relieved and hopes to find comfort from him. I understand they’re the only humans in the realm, but really? He is the reason you’re there in the first place. Why try to ally with him? You can gather by now the pattern in which this character will continue.

Then we have the supposed love interest— Prince Tristan of Trollus. Coincidentally everyone else in the realm has some sort of deformity to show their troll status but Tristan looks human right down to the color of his eyes. He is arrogant and brooding, two traits I loath, and although the perspective shits with each chapter between him and Cécile, I still couldn't understand where his sudden affection for her came from. One chapter they’re screaming at each other, and the next he is secretly in love with her. “But Alas! She cannot know for she will be endangered so I shall continue being a giant asshole to her.” Or something along those lines. And when she started to reciprocate the feelings I wanted to just stop reading then and there because the romance makes absolutely no sense and if anything felt a bit like a Stockholm Syndrome scenario. The only relationship throughout the entire novel that I did enjoy was between Cécile and Tristan’s cousin and closest friend, Marc. But that all changed when our heroine did something brash, got her love interest in vital danger, and was blamed for nearly killing the Prince in the only moment I was rooting for her— while she was trying to finally escape. Upon Tristan’s injured state, Marc is so enraged that he attempts to physically hit Cécile but cannot, not because he knows he damn well shouldn’t, but because of an oath he pledged never to harm her. So instead, he asks the nearest guard to do it for him. (What the literal fuck.) At least that guard has the sense not to, but don’t worry; she forgives Marc regardless.

And perhaps it was just me, but the way in which the trolls were described disturbed me a bit. For me, it was a little too many digs at deformities (yes, even for a fantasy series about trolls) and I was uncomfortable by how many times disfigured people were referenced as monsters and disgusting creatures. I know the author must not have wanted it to come off that way, but personally I felt that it did and I would rather their descriptors had been written differently.

Where the plot is concerned, I felt that too was another flop of a concept that had a wonderful premise and build up. It was very vague and a lot of the scenes I found were mundane, and every once in a while I had to force myself not to skim over a whole section because it either didn't make sense or had no relevance to the immediate plot. That could also just be a reflection on the writing style as well. I wasn’t much of a fan of either.

I would not recommend this book although I understand that many people felt differently about it, so perhaps you will as well. I won’t be reading the rest of this series because I don’t have high hopes but I do have a million books on my TBR pile that I’d like to get to instead. Hopefully my next read will be better!
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