Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy, #1) by Danielle L. Jensen

17926775Expected publication: April 1st 2014 by Strange Chemistry

The whole story takes place in a fucking cave! What is it with authors these days? Are they too lazy to think about world-building, do they lack imagination? Don’t get me wrong, I love the concept of trolls instead of fey as central characters; I even love the premise of Trollus in this book hidden under a mountain because of a human witch’s curse. But at least explain the human world outside of it! Why of all things do the Trolls have French names and a mix of Anglo-French titles of nobility if in fact they are supernatural beings in Norse mythology and Scandinavian folklore? I would have expected something different than encountering humanlike trolls with names like Dowager Duchesse d’Angoulême. As a matter of fact I was looking forward to something akin to the dwarves from The Hobbit with Thorin Oakenshield as the male protagonist.

I was so heavily disappointed because instead of a rough-around-the-edges character like Thorin Oakenshield of course the Prince of Trolls and heir to the throne is a special snowflake: he is the big hope for the Troll nation under the mountain to be freed of the curse, he will be more powerful than his father the king once he reaches his 18th birthday, more powerful than every troll who ever lived. He is one of the few who is not deformed or mentally insane like hundreds of other noble trolls (because of their inbreeding). He is so fucking handsome, gentle, intelligent, brave, etc. etc. etc. and is the leader of resistance fighting for the end of slavery. He is the epitome of perfection.

In freeing thousands from servitude, I will be gaining many powerful enemies. I have no doubt the attempts on my life will come often and regularly. But the benefits of the many are worth the risks to myself.

The Trolls remain quite unexplained. What happened to them and how could they survive under a mountain for centuries without sunlight? Nothing grows under the mountain; rose bushes are made of glass and illuminated by magic. Apparently there are human dealers who come into the city through a mysterious labyrinth bringing food, clothing, and news from the outside. But for a city consisting of thousands of people (there is the mention of thousands of slaves sometimes during the story) you would need truckloads of food coming in every day to feed them all.
Even the magic of the trolls is not explained. What can they do with it apart from lighting up the cave, heating up a room and keeping a mountain from falling on their heads?

Apart from the cave we know almost nothing about the world Cécile comes from. What political system rules in the human world? What kind of society does our human farm girl who sings opera originates from? Cecile is a country girl dreaming of singing like her mother on the big stage. She is neither a Mary Sue nor a special snowflake character but I couldn’t relate to her at all. She is lying a lot and oh my God the snooping! Leave her alone and she opens doors to rooms, listening in on private conversations, prying in bureaus for hidden documents. Not admirable at all! She makes some pretty stupid decisions along the way. She acts rashly, never thinking what consequences her actions might bring not only for her but for others.

“A ward against eavesdroppers,” Zoé snapped. “You nearly got my sister killed once today – I don’t want her sent into the labyrinth because you can’t keep your fool mouth shut.”
“No one can hear us,” I snapped back. “Besides, who would want to listen in on me anyway.”
She strode over to the wall, pulled aside a tapestry and pointed at a hole neatly drilled in the wall. “This wasn’t here yesterday.”

Or when she is jumping into the river from a bridge because she wanted to escape, almost killing herself and her lady’s maid in the process; going to “visit” the gold mines because she needed to have a reason for fighting against slavery, for a second time endangering her lady’s maid (who by the way is a slave herself) and putting her friends into danger.

Tristan had explained the half-bloods’ situation, but I hadn’t really understood until I’d spent a night in their shoes.

Now she can “feel” how little those in power valued the lives of the half-bloods. You don’t say, girl!

But now that I’d had time to think about it and stew in a pot of worry, I realized that while getting caught might not hurt me, it would hurt those with whom I’d gotten involved. .

It might have been good to think about this before she went into a mine for 12 hours. But even now after her experience and her new-found sympathy for the hard lives of the half-bloods slaving in the mines she is still not willing to help.

And knowing what I did now, being able to close my eyes and remember faces and names …. It made me willing to risk my own life to help them. But to help, I needed to know more.

*Facepalm*

The story was very long and to be honest I skipped a lot after reading the first half. There is for a change no insta-love, love triangle or other typical YA misconceptions but still I felt like there was a lot missing and I simply could not immerse myself into the story fully.

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