For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain—time enough for their nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophecy has spoken of a union that will set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. But if she is to succeed, she must bide her time and find a way to outsmart the clever, fast, and inhumanly strong trolls that hold her captive. But while awaiting the perfect opportunity, Cécile unexpectedly falls for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. Their love gradually changes her perspective, opening her heart to new friends and opening her eyes to the hardships of the enslaved half-troll, half-human creatures of Trollus.
As rebellion brews and the political games of Trollus escalate, Cécile becomes more than a trapped father’s daughter. She becomes a princess, a witch, and the hope of a people—someone who has the power to change Trollus forever.
That. Was. Absolutely. AMAZING!
I’m mentally kicking myself for having put off reading this book for so long. It was such an incredible read, and I can’t believe so few people have heard of it/read it! I definitely think that Stolen Songbird is just as good, if not better, than some of the insanely popular YA fantasy series that get endless hype (like Throne of Glass, ACOTAR, Red Queen, etc… Yup, Stolen Songbird surpasses all of those series!).
It is rare to come across a book that is equal parts character-driven, setting-driven, and plot-driven, but Stolen Songbird manages to be all three! Let’s begin by gushing about the characters in this book, because that’s as good a place to start as any.
Stolen Songbird introduces us to a wonderful cast of characters. Our protagonist, Cécile, is a great one, largely because she is not your typical badass, obnoxiously snarky, not-like-other-girls female lead. She is intelligent and somewhat reserved, but also headstrong and VERY stubborn. I love how Danielle L. Jensen didn’t shy away from writing her as a more feminine character, because sometimes, I like a little femininity. In YA, it’s always about being “tough” and “feisty”, and I like how Cécile was more of a gentle and non-violent character. Sure, she would fight when necessary, but she wasn’t like those crazy female characters who scream bloody murder for no apparent reason.
And Cécile definitely wasn’t the only wonderful character in this book! TRISTAN. Ugh, he was perfect. I absolutely loved his sassiness! He had so many hilarious quotes that I really should have bookmarked and pasted into this review. His quick tongue might have been my favorite thing about him! I loved how he was all dark and mysterious on the outside, but on the inside he was a total teddy bear. I seriously just want to give him a big hug. ❤
The romance between Cécile and Tristan was so well developed and surprisingly non-tropey. Declarations of love came somewhat fast, but since I was rooting so hard for the romance, I didn’t really mind it. I loved how there were perfect little tidbits of romance scattered throughout the book that didn’t disturb the overall plot. Personally, I’m the type of reader that enjoys romantic sub-plots… action and adventure combined with a hint of steaminess is seriously the best combination ever, and that’s exactly what Danielle L. Jensen gives us with this amazing book!
Beyond romantic relationships, the friendships and familial relationships in Stolen Songbird were wonderfully developed as well. I really enjoyed the relationship between Marc and Cécile, for example. They kind of had a brother-sister thing going for them, and it was so adorable!
Though the characters in it were truly spectacular, I think what’s most impressive about this book is the setting and world development. I absolutely despise vague and unoriginal world-building (I mean, who doesn’t), and thankfully, the development of this book’s setting falls into neither of those categories.
The underground city of Trollus was described with stunning imagery, making it so easy to visualize. I could practically see the magic radiating from the world, through the beautifully whimsical orbs of light, the exquisite glass gardens, and the breathtaking underground architecture of the city. The city of Trollus truly blew me away, and when a story’s setting is able to accomplish such a feat, it’s so magical.
Another thing I absolutely loved about the development of this world was that Danielle L. Jensen’s interpretation of trolls was outstandingly unique and entirely original. Jensen rewrote everything I thought I knew about trolls, from their stout, ugly appearances, to their reputations for being rather stupid creatures. Yup, that’s right. In Stolen Songbird, trolls are beautiful AND highly intelligent. How interesting is that? I get so excited whenever an author takes this kind of approach on a well-known mythical species, because it gets so boring reading about the same creatures over and over again. The whole point of fantasy is that anything is possible, and that perhaps the myths and legends we’ve been told might be worth questioning.
There’s not much else to say about Stolen Songbird other than that’s it’s so so fantastic and that you need to read it NOW! With nail-biting action, a transportive setting, complex characters, and a romance you can root for, it’s everything you could ever want in a fantasy book.
Stolen Songbird is an absolutely spectacular start to an underrated YA fantasy trilogy that I’m looking forward to finishing. On to Book 2!