________________ CM . . . . Volume XX Number 23 . . . . February 14, 2014


Stolen Songbird. (Book I of the Malediction Trilogy).

Danielle L. Jensen.
New York, NY: Strange Chemistry, 2014.
436 pp., trade pbk., $10.99.
ISBN 978-1-908844-96-5.

Grades 8-11 / Ages 13-16.

Review by Laura Dunford.

**** /4

Reviewed from Advance Proof.



It was closer now. Close enough that I could hear the swish, swish of its body sliding over the rocks. I had to hurry, but Tristan was both heavy and unwieldy.

Swish, swish.

Sweat dribbled down my back to join the filth soaking my dress. My heart hammered from terror and exertion, but with a final heave, I reached the mouth of the hole.

"Come on Cecile!" I urged myself on.

Swish, swish.

My narrow shoulders fit easily enough, but Tristan's stuck and every muscle in my body screamed with the effort of turning him sideways and pulling him through.


It was nearly upon us. I pulled hard and we tumbled into the little chamber. I hurriedly dragged him to the far end and covered him with my cloak. Falling to my knees, I tucked the wet fabric around him and gently kissed his forehead. His breathing was ragged and though my own life was very much in jeopardy, my fear was for him. "Please don't die," I whispered. "Don't leave me now, Tristan. Please, if you can hear me at all, fight this. Don't let this be the end." I pressed my mouth to his, feeling the softness of his lips beneath mine. "I love you," I whispered. "I know I shouldn't. I know I'm not supposed to, but I can't seem to help myself."

BAROOOM! The sluag slammed up against the mouth of the hole...

Stolen Songbird is the first of what will be a series of books following the adventures of heroine Cecile de Troyes. In this novel, readers see Cecile kidnapped and brought to the secret and magical world of Trollus in order to be married to the troll prince, Tristan. The King orders this be done in the hopes of fulfilling a prophesy which would free the trolls from a witch's curse which keeps them trapped in Trollus, away from the rest of the world.

      As the story develops, readers learn that breaking a curse is not always a good thing. Cecile discovers that Prince Tristan fears what his father and other powerful trolls will do once released into the non-magical world. Jensen creates a complex society within Trollus which deals not only with trolls but also a societal hierarchy based on the "purity" of a troll's blood and their degree of magic which helps illustrate the basis of Tristan's anxiety.

      Jensen takes her time developing the relationship between Cecile and Tristan, using the psychic emotion bond forged between them at their union as a tool to overcome the barriers of fear and mistrust in each character. Cecile makes a few friends and takes on Tristan's enemies, but these secondary characters are fairly flat.

      Overall, this lengthy fantasy novel offers a lot of adventure, romance and political intrigue. It would suit any voracious young reader looking for an entertaining read with thoughtful substance behind it.

Highly Recommended.

Laura Dunford is a graduate of the Master of Arts in Children's Literature program at the University of British Columbia.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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