Happy Thursday! I hope the sun is shining where you are today. We have had a gorgeous, sunny week here in Oregon. It does the soul good to soak up some sun, right? I can't imagine living somewhere without sun, but that is exactly the case in today's book. Stolen Songbird is all about trolls. These trolls aren't the hideous creatures you expect. Some of them are exceedingly good looking, and they are magical. Unfortunately, the trolls were cursed five hundred years ago by a witch. Their city was crushed by a mountain and the only thing that saved it was the trolls and their magic. Now the trolls are trapped in the city under the mountain, unable to see the sun and venture outside of the mountain. They have a new hope, a prophecy speaks of a girl with red hair and a voice like a songbird who when bound to Prince Tristan will break the curse. I was blown away by the world building in Stolen Songbird, and I loved getting to know the trolls. This is definitely the type of original and creative book I crave. I am pleased to be a part of the Stolen Songbird Tour! I have debut author Danielle Jensen here to tell you more about the mountain in her book. First, let me introduce you to Danielle:
Danielle was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. At the insistence of the left side of her brain, she graduated in 2003 from the University of Calgary with a bachelor’s degree in finance. But the right side of her brain has ever been mutinous; and in 2010, it sent her back to school to complete an entirely impractical English literature degree at Mount Royal University and to pursue publication. Much to her satisfaction, the right side shows no sign of relinquishing its domination. Find Danielle on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Please welcome Danielle to Rainy Day Ramblings!
Forsaken Mountain loomed menacingly above us. Its glittering southern slope was sheer as a knife slice through butter, the broken half a crumbled slide of rock stretching down to the ocean. – STOLEN SONGBIRD
Before he went, he set the ponderous book on a table for me. I started at the beginning, the morning of the Fall. Just before noon, all of Trollus was alerted of their impending doom by the echoing crack of thunder. As countless tons of rock spilled down the valley, tens of thousands of trolls lifted their hands and magic to protect themselves and, in doing so, created a collective shield that protected the city as the rock blocked out the sky. – STOLEN SONGBIRD
Those of you who’ve been following my blog tour posts and interviews are very well aware of the fact that STOLEN SONGBIRD was inspired by a dream I had about a city buried in rubble. Those of you who’ve really been paying attention will know that Forsaken Mountain was inspired by a real mountain in the Canadian Rockies, but also that I’ve been cagey about the details. Well, it’s past time my reticence ended.
(click on photo for credits)
In 1903, 82 million tons of rock collapsed from the summit of Turtle Mountain and buried a portion of the town of Frank, which did (and still does) reside in the valley below. An estimated 90 people were killed, and it remains the deadliest rockslide in Canadian history. This lovely video clip gives a pretty spectacular look at what the rockslide looks like today.
(Source: The Government of Alberta)
I’ve driven past this historical site more times than I can count on my way to go camping or snowboarding, so it’s no surprise that it popped into my mind when I considered how my imaginary city might have been buried in rubble. Of course, because STOLEN SONGBIRD is a fantasy novel, I took a few liberties with the truth. Forsaken Mountain is BIGGER. It is next to the ocean, not landlocked. And it is mined for gold, not coal. That said, I hope this post helps give readers a nice visual idea of what I imagined the setting of STOLEN SONGBIRD to look like, and hopefully a greater appreciation for what the trolls’ magic is capable of.
Interesting stuff, Danielle! I always love the real life inspiration behind stories. There is nothing more frightening sometimes than the power of nature. Your experience reminds me of my visit as a young girl to Quake Lake in Montana. An earthquake struck in the night, burying twenty eight campers under a landslide which blocked the river and formed the lake, which still stands today.
A huge thanks to Danielle for stopping by today. Be sure to catch her on the rest of her tour. I am excited to be able to offer you all a chance to win a copy of Stolen Songbird thanks to the wonderful folks over at Strange Chemistry. If you haven't picked up a book by Strange Chemistry, I highly recommend you do so. I am a big fan of their titles. You can always expect something unique. Anyway, to enter the giveaway fill out the Rafflecopter after reading the Contest Policies. This is open to U.S. residents only. Good Luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
Here is my review:
Stolen Songbird(Malediction #1) by Danielle Jensen
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.
Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.
But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.
As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.
Paperback, 469 pages
Published April 1st 2014 by Strange Chemistry
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Four Stars: Amazing world building and exciting new ideas on trolls!
Cecile is busily planning her farewell party. Tomorrow, she is leaving her small farming village to move to the city. Cecile has big plans to become a famous singer like her mother. At seventeen, Cecile has her whole life ahead of her. Unfortunately, her future comes crashing down when she is abducted on her way home by a young man from her town. Luc whisks her away to the hidden city of Trollus. Under a mountain, the trolls have been trapped for five centuries. A witch's curse brought the mountain crashing down on their glorious city. The only thing preventing the mountain from completely crushing the trolls and their city is their magic. A prophecy predicts the curse can be broken if a red headed girl with a singing voice is bonded to Prince Tristan. Luc believes that Cecile is the girl the trolls are looking for so he kidnaps her in exchange for gold. Now Cecile is to be wed to a troll and spend her days hidden from the sun, unless she can find a way to escape. Will Cecile ever see the sun again?
What I Liked:
I am always eager to experience something new and different especially when it comes to paranormal entities. So I was delighted to find a book all about trolls. Now you might think you know trolls: the huge, hideous, sun fearing, human eating creatures of nightmares, but I can assure you, the trolls in Stolen Songbird are not the trolls you are accustomed to. Ms. Jensen has completely reimagined and refashioned trolls. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring her ideas on trolls. If you are on the hunt for something refreshing and creative, definitely check out Stolen Songbird.
The world building is top notch. I liked exploring the hidden city of Trollus and learning more about the curse and the lives of the trolls hidden away from the sun. The trolls have spent the last five hundred years buried under a mountain after a witch cursed them and brought a landslide of rocks crashing down on their city. The trolls with their magic held off the rocks with sheer determination. For five hundred years, they have been building reinforcements to help hold off the mountain. Trapped under tons of rock, the trolls have been searching for the witch who cursed them. Only a few humans can come in and out of Trollus, bound by magic the humans are prevented from revealing the trolls to the outside world. The humans bring in food and trade with the trolls. Parts of Trollus are beautiful and wondrous, while other elements are dark and deadly. The worst being the giant, flesh eating creatures known as sluags, which are essentially enormous slugs that hunt and kill hapless trolls and humans in the tunnels under the mountain. I was thoroughly impressed with Ms. Jensen's world building.
I loved Cecile and I grew to admire her strength, courage and determination. When Cecile is kidnapped, she is terrified especially when she is confronted with some of the more grotesque and hideous trolls. Upon entry into the city, she is immediately married to Prince Tristan in hopes of ending the curse. Even though Cecile is scared, she never gives up. She holds on to the hope that she will somehow find a way to escape. As time goes on, she adapts to her city and takes up the cause of the abused and mistreated half bloods. The half bloods are half human and half troll and they are relegated to servants. If they anger their masters or become useless they are fed to the sluags. Cecile begins to examine their lives and vows she will find a way to help free them. Cecile is impressive with her courage and her resolve.
Prince Tristan at first meeting comes across as a spoiled and rude, but he has many layers. Once his secrets are revealed, one can see that he is genuinely a kind and likable person who is out to do the right thing even if that means sacrificing himself and his future. I enjoyed his sarcastic, flippant quips, he made me laugh, and I grew to love and admire him as well.
The romance took me a bit by surprise. In the beginning Tristan and Cecile are forced together and they can't stand one another. Over time, they learn to work together and soon they form a hesitant friendship that blossoms into something more. I loved their devotion and altruistic behavior especially when it came to saving each other. I appreciated that this is a slow building romance that refrains from love triangles and all the ridiculousness that we have grown to hate in YA literature.
- This is a complex and exciting story. There are many different threads and lots to explore in this wondrously dark and dangerous world. I was most impressed with the creativity and complexity of the story. Ms. Jensen with her debut novel proves that she is an author to watch, and I will certainly be continuing this series.
And The Not So Much:
After a riveting and exciting climax, the book ends on a cliffhanger. I was bit disappointed that after all the buildup and tension that I was left with so many loose threads and unanswered questions. I was hoping for a bit more resolution after the long journey. I still know very little about the witch, the curse, and the fate of the trolls, the romance and the city. It will be a long wait until the next book!
The author utilizes dual narratives between Cecile and Tristan to tell the story. Tristan's point of view is weak in comparison to Cecile as his voice is used much less. I struggled a bit getting inside his head and I wished that there had been a better balance between the two.
The romance builds nice and slowly through the first half of the book which was pleasing, but my one slight hesitation was that it felt like someone suddenly flipped a switch and it moved into overdrive.
Once Tristan and Cecile are bonded, they are connected mentally and physically. They can sense each other's thoughts, and if one is killed the other will die. I struggled a bit with this bond because it seemed like it came and went when it was convenient. I was under the impression that once they were bonded they would always be connected mentally, but at times, it seemed like they had no clue as to where the other one was or what they were thinking. I found these inconsistencies with the bond a bit confusing.
I thought the whole revelation regarding Cecile and her abilities could have been introduced a bit better. In the beginning, there is one scene that indicates that Cecile might have some magical abilities which are then forgotten. Suddenly toward the end of the book, there is a big reveal about Cecile and her grandmother that comes out of nowhere, especially regarding the grandma. I felt this aspect of the book needed a bit more development.
- Overall, the pacing of the book is good, but there were a couple of times where it dragged just a tiny bit. Not a big deal because it builds to a fast a furious finish. Just be patient with this one, it pays off.
Stolen Songbird was a most impressive debut. I loved the world building and the refashioning of trolls. This is a book that blends fantasy, magic, a hidden world, betrayal, loyalty, romance and witches and trolls. I was blown away by the creativity and the detail. Ms. Jensen is definitely an author to watch. If you are looking for something refreshing and original, don't miss Stolen Songbird.
"Beauty can be created, knowledge learned, but talent can neither be purchased nor taught." "Ladies do not make their own beds! IT shows initiative, which is broadly considered most unladylike."
"I think it is our nature to believe evil always has an ugly face."
"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,m it could be stolen in an instant."
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.