Audiobook Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer, Erin Moon
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #1
Published by Audible Studios on February 27, 2015
Length: 14 hours 30 minutes
Trolls are said to love gold. They are said to live underground and hate humans, perhaps even eat them. They are said to be evil. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and sold to the trolls, she finds out that there is truth in the rumours, but there is also so much more to trolls than she could have imagined.Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus, the city she hadn't even known existed under Forsaken Mountain: escape. But the trolls are inhumanly strong. And fast. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.But something strange happens while she's waiting - she begins to fall in love with the handsome, thoughtful troll prince that she has been bonded and married to. 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 from Goshawk's Hollow. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch.
In Stolen Songbird, there is a race of individuals, trolls, that have been cursed to remain confined to their city, Trollus, below the Forsaken Mounts. A witch cast this curse 5 centuries ago, so the humans above rely on rumors and folklore for knowledge of trolls. And lets just say, there is nothing very favorable known or mentioned about either trolls or Trollus. I mean, they are trolls, they live underground, and have been cursed to stay there for 500+ years. The witch likely did the human race a favor.
So, imagine the horror when Cécile is abducted, ripped from her current life, to be sold to the trolls. It would be frightening enough to be taken from your current life by force, but then to be taken to a strange underground city, lacking all of the natural beauty and sun and stars of your world, to be sold to these fearsome creatures would be an even worse nightmare. And to top it off, they expect her to marry one, their prince. When little girls dream of growing up to become a princess, it is usually not via marring an underground troll prince.
I really enjoyed this one. It is a a sweet story of a girl growing up via necessity as well as discovering the secrets of the fabled trolls of Trollus. Cécile was a farmer’s daughter in her life above ground. It was simple, but not a bad life. Initially, she focuses on getting free of this nightmare, but as she spends more time amongst the trolls, she starts to see more to them. She starts to get involved, starts to care about more than just her own escape. And she also starts to fall in love.
I love stories, particularly YA books that are aimed at younger audiences, that present the reader with a prejudiced view of a population, and then turns it on its head, shows the characters and the reader that you really shouldn’t judge a race or group of people based on nothing but essentially rumors. That there is more depth to people and that who they are can’t be boiled down to match biased views of them. I think this is too often a problem in the real world, racism and prejudices are a problem and fictional examples that defy it, show you that you that people are people everywhere are good. Most people in this world are good people, we shouldn’t let the visible bad examples define what we think of entire populations. While I don’t know that this was a message that was strongly intended by the author or not, it is one that can certainly be taken away as Cécile starts to see the trolls as the individuals they are, some good, some bad, instead of just lumping them all together as “evil trolls”.
For the audiobook narration, overall I enjoyed it and thought it was well done. Most all of the character voices were very good. I did however find the narrator’s pronunciation of the names someone what jarring. They were all heavily accented, but since nothing else in the story was the contrast just didn’t seem to work as well for me. This is rather minor and did not deter my listening or enjoyment of the story. I think narrators typically check character pronunciations with the author, so they were probably intended to be pronounced this way, I just think I might have liked it better if they were pronounced only slightly accented. It almost felt exaggerated since nothing else was accented. Overall though, this is a book that lends itself well to audiobook and the narration was good.