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Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.
Reviewed from ARC provided by Angry Robot Books.
Narrative: First Person
Sometimes, one must accomplish the impossible.
There are a lot (ALOT) of YA fairytale re-imaginings out there at the moment, and I’ll be honest, as much as I love the fairytale feel, reading the same storyline repeatedly is getting a little snore. So, whilst suffering my ‘reboot fatigue’, The Malediction Trilogy is hitting the ground running in my little world. All the fairytale feel, with a totally fresh and original story line!
Hidden Huntress is the second instalment in Malediction, in which we see our gorgeous Troll/Witch couple separated and in their own worlds: Cécile is in Trianon singing her Songbird heart out whilst looking for a way to break Trollus’ curse, whilst Tristan is still stuck underground, shackled and tortured for being a traitor, and generally despised by all those who were once allies. A fairly ominous start, but things can only get better, right? right?!
Did it suffer Second Book Syndrome? No, it really didn’t. In fact, I would say, on a whole Hidden Huntress is the better of the two books. Separating Cécile and Tristan was actually a master-stroke in keeping this series interesting. As it was, by the last quarter of Songbird, unless there was something to keep the love birds apart, the rest of the series would’ve just be Troll baby making (or trying to maintain the non-troll baby-making tension) and a lot more courtly backstabbing.
Now there is still courtly backstabbing, but we have the whole new world of Trianon to explore and we get to see how the two survive apart whilst still bonded. Trollus is a very small world to explore, and the characters within are quite limited, so Huntress gives Cécile a chance to really question if setting Trollus free is the right thing to do whilst in her world and surrounded by the people she is potentially enslaving. It also shows the lengths those of the outside world are willing to go to keep the Trolls underground, and why.
One of the big improvements was the POV changes. When I read Stolen Songbird, I did comment on the sporadic and irregular use of POV changes between Tristan and Cécile; they felt a bit jarring and strangely intrusive. However, in Huntress this has resolved itself by keeping Tristan and Cécile’s narratives on a fairly even footing (I haven’t counted pages, but it definitely felt on a much more even keel), and I was happy to hear Tristan’s voice instead of wanting him to ‘back the hell off!’ Cécile’s book. This also gives a chance for Tristan’s character to evolve and develop at a much more pleasing rate than in Songbird. Cécile is still as fiery as hell, but it was also nice to see her trying to question, and then reconcile her feelings for Tristan in the midst of the many nay-sayers.
The mystery of Anushka was fairly easy to solve from early on in the book, but Jensen was able to use her characters to keep the tension alive, even when it was quite evident what the solution was. And really, this is a character driven book, so even though to me it’s is quite obvious, I was still on the edge of my seat with brow furrowed, hoping the characters didn’t fall into the traps being set. It’s a problem often encountered with first person mystery plots, so I have tried to keep in mind that these characters aren’t omnipotent, and sometimes, they can be blinded to the conspicuous by many different factors. If the characters don’t see the clues, nor does the reader; but if the solution was sprung at the end with no forewarning, than that would also be considered a slight, so I guess I am mostly forgiving in this circumstance!
Possibly, the only other nit I have is with the how the character Marc was handled. A huge ‘oh!’ was sprung right near the beginning, and then he’s not heard from again.. But, that’s the delight of multi-part books, there’s always hope (and I’m kind of hoping, he joins the evil side in books three… I think he’d make a great spurned villain.. hoo..)
I am really enjoying the series and I am looking forward to Warrior Witch in 2016!
Harcopy Worthy? Indeedy.
My Hidden Huntress Playlist
Possession – Sarah McLachlan
Uncharted – Sarah Bareilis
Running up That Hill – Kate Bush (please excuse the 80’s interpretive dance, I know, I know..)
Lakme – Leo Delibes
and for the sap 5000 edition:
Iris – Goo Goo Dolls