Reading Level: Young Adult
Size: 436 pages
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Stand Alone or Series: 1st book in the Malediction Trilogy
Source: eGalley from NetGalley.com
Rating: 5/5 stars
This is the first book in the Malediction Trilogy. I got a copy of this book to review through NetGalley (thanks to Strange Chemistry and NetGalley for providing this review copy). This was a wonderful fantasy novel, I really loved it. It’s full of intrigue, magic, music, adventure, and romance.
A young songstress, Cécile, gets kidnapped and sold to mythical trolls. She never believed that the Trolls still lived under the mountains and now she is forcibly married to a troll prince named Tristan. The Trolls are trapped beneath the mountain due to a curse laid on them by a witch long ago. The Troll king thinks that binding Cécile and Tristan together will finally break the curse. However, Tristan is more than he seems, he is deeply involved in troll politics and has complex plans of his own.
This was a wonderful world with characters that were easy to love and engage with. I devoured this book, it was so hard to put down. There is some wonderful intrigue, magic, adventure, and a sweet romance.
I loved the idea of Trolls trapped beneath the ground living in a magical world. They are trapped there by a curse and only their magic holds the mountain at bay.
Cécile is a wonderful heroine, she is put into a dreadful situation but ends up trying to make the best of it. A lot is thrown at her all at once and she is forced to unravel the complex politics of Troll society quickly in order to survive. She is smart and cunning. Her singing has a power all of it’s own, which I wish had been talked about a bit more. Cécile does learn a bit more about her powers as the story continues.
Tristan is a wonderfully complex character. His father is a tyrant and Tristan walks a fine line in trying to appease his father while enabling his own plan for a more stable Troll society. At first he comes off as cold to Cécile, but as time progresses we learn that Tristan has many different masks that he wears depending on the company he keeps.
Both Cécile and Tristan are in an awkward position. They are bound to each other which allows them to feel each others emotions, by Troll law they are married. Yet, they do not know each other at all. As you can imagine being able to feel whatever your spouse feels makes you a lot more sympathetic to them. To add to the complexity if one of them is hurt or dies, the other suffers the same. This is supposed to give Troll society stable loving marriages, but with Tristan’s political station it adds danger for both Cécile and Tristan.
One of the major political issues (outside of the curse that plagues the Trolls) is the treatment of half-humans and humans as slaves in this Troll society. Rights for humans is a major driver for the story. The curse is another interesting and major plot point, the mystery surrounding the witch who cast the curse is a big one and it need to be solved before Troll magic fails.
Overall this story was beautifully written and incredibly engaging, I absolutely loved it. A couple main plot points are tied up nicely, but the rest of the story is left open and will be further resolved in the next book of the series. The characters are complex and engaging, the romance sweet, the intrigue very well done, I loved this hidden Troll world, and enjoyed the magic throughout. Highly recommended to fantasy fans, I am absolutely dying to read the next book in this series.