Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Title : Hidden Huntress  Author : Danielle L. Jensen  Series : The Malediction Trilogy  Genre : YA, Fantasy  Rating : Five Stars

WARNING – This review will contain spoilers!

Someone throw a bucket of water on me.

If you read my review on book one, Stolen Songbird you’ll be well aware of how much I enjoyed the first edition of this trilogy. The one and only fault I found was how passive Cecile was when being marched down the aisle to marry a complete stranger surrounded by ‘monsters’ or trolls but somehow that one flaw didn’t really bother me because I still really enjoyed that scene and I didn’t find it unrealistic. That was the only minor flaw I could find in the first book, I could nitpick for days and not find anything else that bothered me. That’s why I rated book one a four stars, book two however receives five stars and let me tell you why. I’m going to dot point them 1-5 (or 6 lol) below to make it nice and simple! 

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  1. Danielle L. Jensen wrote Cecile an out, gave her the option to forget the mountain and everything beneath it. Cecile had the opportunity to walk away from it all but she stayed true to her character and somehow maintained her loyalty to both her human friends and troll alike and I loved that. I really enjoyed seeing her become stronger as a character and because the majority of the last book was situated under the mountain it was a nice change to see more of her home and family. She was persistent and determined all throughout and I loved seeing her loyalty and dedication to Tristan as well as everyone else. Her character was just that much stronger but her strength wasn’t unrealistically exaggerated like it often is in books, her strength had limits, required learning and skill.

  2. We were shown more of Cecile’s friendships and relationships with her family and friends and each of these relationships and people were distinctly different from the last. They were very real in their mannerisms and reactions, each of their characters were unique. Her sister shocked me when she first met Tristan with her bravery and brutal honesty. I found their meeting wholly natural, their caution but willingness to accept each other once all that needed saying was said. Chris was really adorable in this book and I felt slightly sorry for him, we found out through Tristan in book one that Chris might have feelings for Cecile and his promise to protect Cecile may have been made because of this but I was glad to see he was not a jealous prick but rather a loyal friend. Sabine was a shock to my system at first, she was portrayed as more delicate friend in book one, her fear of riding etc but she did overcome that to search for Cecile, so I guess I should have seen it coming. Her character was just so much more stronger than I was expecting so her coldness towards Tristan came as a surprise. But it was nice to see them grow to trust each other and work together for Cecile. 
  3. I have to mention before going any further – Cecile’s relationship with her mother was so intriguing. I’ll admit, I didn’t like her from the moment we met her, there was something ‘wrong’ with how cold and self centred she was but somehow Cecile hardly knew her and could acknowledge these flaws but loved her anyway. We’d been told that her mother was an elusive figure in her life but we weren’t given any reasons why. So in this book we got to delve into this further, there were so many little hints all throughout the book about what was happening but we never actually got to put it together until the end! Unless you were smarter than me because I knew something was sus but I totally didn’t put that final plot twist together until the end. I was blown away by the scheming and the absolute evil that was still in Anushka to be able to commit the acts she was committing. From the moment she drugged Cecile I knew there was more to her than we were being told I just couldn’t figure out where she fit. I originally thought that Anushka and Cecile’s mother were in league with each other but no way did I expect them to be one and the same person. It’s actually quite sad if you think about it, Cecile’s mother was murdered and her life stolen by the very same person who pretended to be her mother for years and the very same thing had happened to her mother and on it went for five hundred years! You could imagine my joy when she was beaten at her own game!

  4. Tristan and Cecile ended things on such a tender and emotional peak in book one and I’d known we’d see more of them apart than together in this book so I wasn’t looking forward to this instalment as much (I hate separations, I get all emotional!) I always flick the pages desperately waiting for them to come together again. I pine the whole book for that moment, hanging for them to be together again. But I must admit that it was great that we still got to feel that connection between them through the bond they share but I was left so disappointed when they finally found a way to be together again. Like Tristan, what?! She just set you free, you’ve just seen the sun for the first time and you didn’t kiss her? You didn’t even thank her. ARE YOU INSANE? I don’t know if you noticed but I got a little cranky at him there. It was annoying that every time they took one step forward together they took ten backwards and I found their distance after such an emotional separation in book one was a little odd to me. I know it was explained and was, I guess understandable, I just felt like it was silly. They weren’t appreciating the little wins and the fact that they were together when reality had been they’d struggle to see each other again.

    On a side note – I loved seeing them work a different society together, under the mountain they were unable to ‘be together’ in public because of the human stigma the trolls have. So it was refreshing to see Tristan learn to work through this human society and see both Cecile and Tristan navigating the social upper class together and scheming together this time around.

  5. The whole plot for this book was interesting. How had Anushka managed to live way past the normal moral lifespan? How were the Regent’s able to hide their intentions to help the trolls enemy when they’d promised the trolls to help find her? So many questions and so many hints, just enough to tickle at the back of your brain but not enough to have you knowing before Jensen wanted you too. I really enjoyed the whole twist this instalment gave the reader, book one was very beauty and the beast to me but book two surprised me. It was a whole other ball game.
  6.  Now I’m adding a sixth thing. I just cannot ignore this scene. The sex scene. Okay I’ll admit, I loved it. I personally don’t mind when an author has the guts to give you a sultry scene, in fact I LOVE IT. Cecile and Tristan’s scene was so natural and beautiful in its simplicity. In book one when we saw Cecile and Tristan have a passion filled moment on the boat I got really excited because that was the moment I realised that Jensen was not shy about the sex stuff. I think YA tip toes around it too much when reality is we’re mainly a teen/adult audience so probably want more of it! So in Hidden Huntress when we finally got the sex scene I was legit jumping and squealing with delight and I just love how it happened. Sharing their scars and opening up to one another finally.

Wow, I’ve gone on for ages on this review! Honestly, I know I’ll remember something else I wanted to mention in my review but for now those are my jambled thoughts on this amazing book.

I’m impatiently waiting for the third and final book Warrior Witch to arrive on my doorstep before I go to Hong Kong. I’ve got a 10 hour flight and I’m fully prepared to read it in one sitting!!

I can’t wait to see what they come up against now that the trolls are free and all the monsters with them. Bring on book three!!

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

 
xoxo Book Dragon Ash
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Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Title : Stolen Songbird  Author : Danielle L. Jensen Series : The Malediction Trilogy  Genre : YA, Fantasy  Rating : Four Stars

I know we all say, never judge a book by its cover but lets all be honest here. Secretly we all do. So I’ll admit, for me, this cover didn’t do much to inspire. Don’t get me wrong, the cover is good but I must admit, it had me on edge thinking this book might be a waist of my time. I don’t say that to be rude (that’s just not my style) but compared to other titles published over the last 5 years the cover seemed to be very dated so I just assumed this was written by some new, unproven and upcoming author that might not have the most experienced designers on hand. 

But I was so very wrong. This book is so catchy I crave to know more.

Not only that but the cover ties in with elements of the book so well and now that I’ve read it, it all makes so much sense. 

I finished this book in two days, unable to take my eyes away from the magical pages. Danielle L. Jensen has managed to create a world that is interesting, intriguing, confusing, ugly, beautiful and frightening and I love it. I will stop right here and point out that the story line is – inward cringe can’t believe I’m saying this – typical. That is not to say anything bad about the book, it is unique and believable and so well written that you feel every word on the page as if it was you BUT, it is your typical beauty fell in love with the beast type of story. That didn’t bother me in the slightest though, I knew Tristan and Cecile were destined to fall in love and I kind of liked that predictability. It gave you something to look forward to!

What I liked about Stolen Songbird was that it jumped right into the story, straight away we met the characters, got their backgrounds and then were thrown into the midst of the story. There was no annoyingly prolonged introductions and we got to get right down to the dirty right away. YES. I love that. I absolutely detest it when authors drag out the inevitable to the point where its unbearable or just plan over the top. This was the absolute opposite. 

SPOILERS ARE COMING – BE WARNED!!!

The only thing that really got me, the only thing that had me thinking uh that’s not a normal reaction was when Cecile was told she was going to be married off to a Prince. Her immediate reaction was somewhat normal, annoyed, angry and scared but then she just sat down, let herself be washed, polished and made up, shoved in a dress and ushered down the aisle. No kicking, screaming, punching, biting, cursing, crying, wailing, nothing. I found that a touch odd myself but perhaps people react differently in different situations. But all that said, it was still in character to Cecile, at the time she was more timid than a fighter anyway and I didn’t find that scene annoying or fake, her reaction just unexpected. I actually really enjoyed the scene despite all the above things. It’s unusual to get what you secretly desire in a book so soon and I loved being given what I wanted right away. I read each page like a greedy little child with a bucket of ice-cream. I’m weird I know, who wants to be kidnapped, shoved underground where nightmares hide, forced into marriage to a stranger and then held as a hostage with no hope of escape? Me. I love stories where we all know they will eventually fall in love.

Everything after that point was realistic to me, their tentative peace, slow relationship building, the friendships developing between all the characters and their personalities each unique.

3d8f12851929cc112e3c7acc75be4da6I found the bonding between Tristan and Cecile really interesting, that was something I hadn’t really read about before. I love it when an author creates something new for me! When Tristan saves Cecile form the flesh eating monsters and nearly dies and then again when he is running through the same cave’s trying to get Cecile out of the mountain and to help, to save her life I was flipping the pages holding my breath. I found those scenes so real, so emotional and with the time it took to build their relationship from mistrust, unsteady alliance and then love, I was captivated by the depth of their emotions for one another. And can I just say, it was completely crazy, a totally love blind decision on Tristan’s part to start a riot all to save Cecile, dooming many to their deaths for the sole reason to save her? And I lapped every second of it up – I have serious issues guys – it was intoxicating and I just want to see more of that crazy love stuff!

All throughout this book I sat there reading thinking that there is so many connections between the trolls and the fae. I felt like there were so many similarities between the two, magic, strength, healing, viciousness but what made me think, there’s more to this than we are being told was when the naming thing got dropped. I immediately began to believe that they were not trolls but rather fae. – I’ve already begun book two and I can’t remember if we found out the yes or no answer to this in book one or two, naughty blogger I am didn’t note it down so I’ll get into that in my review of book two 🙂 

The fact that such powerful beings could be cursed to a tiny section of the world was interesting, the power it would have taken from the witch would have been astronomical so I’m interested to see how that comes to light in the next book. I really want to know more about the curse, how it came to pass. Especially since we found out that a witch couldn’t have brought the mountain down upon them, only a troll could. So who brought it down? And what made the witch then curse them to an existence underground?!

I must admit, when Anais was first introduced I immediately took a dislike to her, but who didn’t? I think we were supposed to! But when Marc told Cecile not to judge her so easily without knowing her I immediately felt bad. We knew Marc was so caring and trustworthy that I found myself questioning my earlier assumptions. Then in those final scenes I couldn’t believe all the injustice’s she endured. A cold father, a hopeless one sided love, misunderstood by everyone and a health condition that made her unfit for a union she most wanted and then a death she didn’t deserve after her and Cecile had just begun to build a friendship by staying true to her devotion to Tristan and their cause. It was insanely unjust and I couldn’t believe that she ended the way she did. I felt a huge amount of respect for her character in her final moments and I was so very glad that Tristan gave her the thanks and goodbye she deserved.

I loved this book, I’ve already almost finished the second and I can’t wait to do my review on that. I’m definitely a Danielle L. Jenson fan girl now. This book was a superbly written, thoroughly descriptive, wholly realistic and very emotive book. I highly recommend this book if you want a addictive, busy, unique read that is full of brilliant characters, scheming Princes and passionate encounters. This book truly has everything in it.

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

 
xoxo Book Dragon Ash

 

 

 

 

Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Title : Crooked Kingdom  Author : Leigh Bardugo  Genre : Fantasy, YA  Rating : 5 Stars

I really do not know where to start. I’m literally nibbling at my lips trying to figure out how to put my thousands of jumbled emotions from this book together!

I think I’ll just start with, WOAH.

Before I get started I must say, I don’t try to do spoiler free reviews for books past the first in a series, if it happens great but I kinda think, why would you read the review for the second book if you haven’t read the first? So if you haven’t read the first book, here’s a link to my spoiler free review if you want to check it out.

With that in mind, it’s reviewing time!

I just realised, I’ve never done a review for the Grisha Trilogy! So I will be making efforts to amend this very soon. BUT if you have read Bardugo’s previous books you’ll have noticed the astounding growth she has made from book one till now. It’s truly amazing and I’m so enjoying seeing her authors signature’s grow and develop within her books. Crooked Kingdom is by far her best book with Six of Crows easily owning second place. Her other books I enjoyed but this series I loved. 

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If you read my review of Six of Crows you’ll know how I loved that this duology follows  ‘the bad guys’ instead of the ‘hero’s’. I think that in itself gives the book enough merit for you to be reading. How many times can we be told of the hero winning before we get tired of it? Well this was it for me. I really just don’t know how I’m going to pick up another book without craving more bad. I don’t know if I should be grateful to Bardugo for opening my eyes to this other world of delicious naughtiness or distressed that my view on every other novel henceforth is going to be jaundiced.

The character’s in Six of Crows were interesting and intriguing but in Crooked Kingdom we saw them go to new heights. This book had a lot of theme’s going on and a lot of events happening that you were never board and always learning more as the plot thickens BUT by some miracle we were able to learn so much about each of the crew. Kaz still remained an enigma but we got to delve deeper into his past and find some answers to the many questions I know we all had and I found myself trying to think like him all throughout the book but failing miserably, his brainwave is on another level. How he gets to the conclusions and schemes he does I have honestly no idea. I really began to love Inje in this book, don’t get me wrong I loved her before but now? I’m in her thrall. I can’t move past the sincerity and kindness she has that somehow totally contrasts to the Wraith side of her. Normally something like that would not come across as flawless and natural as it did and I think it was a massive feat to have the dual sides of Inje melt seamlessly together. I wasn’t sure if I liked Nina in the first book, don’t kill me, but at the end of the Ice Court break in I loved her. In this book, we got to see more of that kickass Grisha chick that was so interesting in those final pages of Six of Crows. Matthias, Jesper and Wylan, all of them grew in leaps and bounds (I’m only shortening the info here because I don’t want to bore you with my love for them for too long) their relationships with the others became stronger and their secrets by god, their secrets. How can one book contain so much secrecy without keeping you totally confused and in the dark? I don’t know how but it worked. – side note, Jesper’s father is just the cutest. I love that he was brought in and reminded you that the people we were reading about were still teenagers. I’d almost forgotten, almost.

There was honestly too much plot wise going on for me to be able to succinctly include it all in one paragraph or even the whole review I’m writing. I’ve never read a book that just does not stop. Scene after scene with action and drama and emotion. It was absolutely mind blowing and boggling. The thought and detail that went into the planning of this book, every touch of information we were given was specifically timed to perfection and gave you just enough not to know the endgame and how this might play out.

I found my heart leaping with every tentative touch or glance between Kaz and Inje, every cheeky flirtatious exchange between Nina and Matthias and every shy and unsure moment between Jasper and Wylan. I really loved the depth of their relationships, they felt real and tangible. 

I’m going to jump from here right to the ending.

The ending – yes, it was beautiful, yes it was touching and yes it was the perfect ending to the duology. BUT I was so upset.

There’s a trend I’ve noticed lately, authors have this annoying habit of culling their characters to make the novel more realistic, entice their readers, be daring whatever the reason, I just which we didn’t keep loosing the good ones! Kill Jan Van Eck for heaven’s sake not Matthias. I really really liked Matthias. His demise was executed tastefully and really in line with his characters growth throughout the novel but the scene were we lost him had me sobbing right along with Nina. I felt every word on that page and it felt so real. It broke my heart and I hate ending a novel on a bittersweet note. I guess that’s my dreamers mindset coming out in me, happily ever afters and all.

Despite this, the ending was really quite unique, it wasn’t finished as such but painted enough of a picture for you to know how it would end. Inje and Kaz bringing Katterdam to its knees,  Jesper and Wylan showing the world that their weaknesses don’t make them lesser than anyone else and Nina staying true to herself and Matthias.

I feel like I’m not doing this masterpiece enough justice but I’m just not sure I’ll ever be able to cover every inch of it.

If you did enjoy this review, please do remember to give it a star and don’t forget to hit follow if you’d like to keep updated for when I post new rambling blogs!

I also have a YouTube  channel if you’d like to check it out because of course, every little bit helps!

Thank you for reading!

Till next time,

 
xoxo Book Dragon Ash