So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato
Stolen Songbird, while clearly good, was also boring. Boring because of the length of the novel. There were points where I drifted off or times when I had to re-read the scene because I was just bored. This book could have been condensed to 2/3rds the size and would have been a LOT more enjoyable. As it is, what could have been an excellent read was merely good.
The book opens with a music lesson and us getting to know about how talented Cecile is. She is kidnapped on the day of her birthday and brought to the Trollus kingdom, a kingdom everybody thought was lost. A kingdom that has been trapped by a curse, a kingdom of which most of the inhabitants haven’t had a glance of the outside in centuries. A kingdom she might have the power to save for it has been prophesied that when a daughter of sun and prince of night unite, the curse will be broken.
Cecile was a pretty good female lead. Instead of being all fierce and trying to find a way out and look for hope in places it doesn’t exist, she has a break down. Now this isn’t considered an admirable characteristic but I did admire her for crying. I admired her for the way she mourned the loss of her future and the loss of any choice she had over her life. It was a realistic reaction. She had realized there would be no escape for her and after a couple days of moping she lifted her head and decided to make the best of the situation. She immersed herself in the community and learned more about the treatment of the half-bloods and so she found herself amidst a revolution. And no. She didn’t jump in and decide to revolt because she isn’t stupid. Thank god for that. She had to see for herself, she needed to know what she would be sacrificing her life for and seeing that she was married to one of them, she couldn’t just jump head first into the revolution. One of my favorite things about her was her manipulation skills. She was CLEVER. She finds loopholes, she finds people’s weaknesses and uses that to her own advantage. Most of all, she isn’t perfect. She is talented yes, but her talents cannot really help her out of the situation she was in, she has to use the good ole guess and check method and in the end, you cannot help but admire her.
Tristan on the other hand was meh. The only thing I liked about him was how he gave Cecile the opportunity to make her own choices. He gave up his own happiness to ensure that she would have a choice. However, he also lied, kept her in the dark for the most part and well I just didn’t care about him. The bits we got from his POV made his voice sound so similar to Cecile’s that at one point I thought I was reading from Cecile’s point of view until I realized I wasn’t. He may have been strong and driven but he did nothing for me, it was instead his cousin Marc that grabbed my attention.
Marc Marc Marc. Why couldn’t he have been the love interest? He was, hands down, my favorite character. He is imperfect, heartbroken and loyal to a fault. He also has a moral compass but because of his loyalty to his own cousin and the rest of the trolls, it’s hard for him to speak up. He is a good guy and all around intriguing. Something about him just draws you in.
The rest of the secondary characters were pretty well developed as well and I enjoyed reading about them and learning their stories.
The romance, as you might have guessed, did not work for me. Had Marc been the love interest, things would have been more interesting but as it is, I had to watch two pretty people (yes pretty people syndrome) dance around each other trying to figure out their feelings. There was plenty of angst and I sensed some insta-love. I didn’t think the romance was developed well enough. This could have been because I went in expecting a love-hate relationship but instead got a relationship that developed too quickly for my tastes. I never really sensed a proper disdain that should have been present given the circumstances. Cecile caught on the jealousy bug pretty quick and Tristan at some point confessed that it had been a case of insta-lust for him.
The idea of a bonding should have bothered me (overused in many cases) but it didn’t. The author pulled it off very well and I found the idea to be very original because it offers one thing the whole soul-mate thing doesn’t. It offers choice. Which to me is really important.
Moving on to the world building; it pains me to say that it was not as fantastic as it could have been. Or perhaps I couldn’t appreciate it because of the painful length of the novel. It was good. Well done even. I found myself feeling claustrophobic because of the darkness and being buried within a mountain but the problem is that in spite of all that, I never became starry eyed because of the world building. In a fantasy, I believe that the world building is one of the most important factors and if it doesn’t impress you, well then you’re in for a painfully long time. Moreover, I was extremely disappointed by the idea of trolls this book presented. It’s fairly easy to guess what these trolls actually are and well, I watched Frozen not so long ago so yes, perhaps I was expecting little ugly green trolls and yes evil isn’t always ugly (as Tristan pointed out) BUT the trolls in this book seemed so painfully human for the most part. The only major differences were that they were super powerful, had magic and weren’t as delicate. Where is the originality in that? Sure, it’s different, but to me that different was not an advantage.
Can I point out that this book was fricking long because I don’t think I can emphasize that enough. It’s like the motif of my review. That this book was long. So long that my eyes glazed, that I procrastinated while reading, that my eyes skimmed over scenes, that I had to re-read some of the important ones to make sure I wasn’t missing anything. Which made it really hard to enjoy the plot. It also felt like the plot had been stretched thin. There were a lot of scenes where nothing major was happening and the climax of this book didn’t happen until nearly the end. For the most part I was stuck in a world of politics in which I was not fully invested. The book had its moments but they were few and far in between (seeing that this book was so long).
The ending was when the book picked up, that’s when I really got involved with the characters and what was happening. Relationships grew stronger and the plot reached its peak. The book ended on a very interesting note. It could be called a cliff-hanger but it’s so full of hope that all I want is the next book.
I’d recommend this book just so you can read the sequel, which I am pretty sure will be awesome. This book, it seemed to me, was more of a peak into what this world the author has developed could hold for us and I am looking forward to seeing what happens next.