Series Review: The Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen

collage of the malediction trilogy covers by danielle l. jensen, negative book review

This is basically a romance story between a human witch and a troll prince. Imagine a 17/18 century setting in which there is a big mountain inhabited by a kingdom of trolls. Some centuries ago a which cursed them thus they cannot leave the mountain.

Cécile de Troyes dreams of becoming a singer. Her dreams are destroyed when she is kidnapped and taken under the mountain to marry the troll prince and break the curse.

The Malediction Trilogy consists of:

  1. Stolen Songbird
  2. Hidden Huntress
  3. Warrior Witch

I don’t know why I picked up this book… I guess the fact that this is marketed as a book about trolls is what made me want to read it. I think I am kind of tired of reading about fey. I was disappointed in my assumption, as I soon correctly guessed this book is indeed about fey, it’s just that in this world they are called trolls. Well…! Strike one! Let’s move on… I’m not going to give up, I thought, let’s give this a go!

Our main character is kidnapped and at first, as one would expect, all the thinks about is escaping. Great! Who wouldn’t! Except, lo and behold, in what feels like a second, she falls for the troll she is forced to marry and she proceeds to try to figure out how to free them. But seriously, one minute she is plotting her escape and the next she’s a lovesick puppy. Why? How? What? Instalove or Stockholm syndrome, call it whatever you want, it’s just so passé… Strike two!

She instantly forgets all the terrifying stories she heard about these trolls throughout her childhood. But OK, this I can forgive, as not all trolls are bad and there are some badly treated half-trolls half-humans also trapped under the mountain.

The troll prince is presented as a brat, a prince with a pompous façade with hidden depths, which I just don’t feel… Also, one particular characteristic of the trolls is that because of inbreeding (which, I assume, would naturally occur given the circumstances) some of them have mental or physical deficiencies. So, fine, OK, I get that too. Beauty and the Beast reimagined? This has potential! But no, Tristan is beautiful and perfect both in body and mind. Strike three! (all three strikes in book one and yet I continue with the series, and more, I finish it)

I was mildly bored throughout and annoyed but I wanted to see how this curse will be broken. I mean Cécile has no clue, she was raised on a farm and she trained to be a singer. But somehow she finds out she’s a witch and she starts doing magic. Another ‘out of the blue’ moment. She barely trains. She knows nothing! Yet, because that’s how the plot was imagined, she does it! How original!

I finished this trilogy some weeks ago and looking back I dislike it even more. I’ll say dislike, hate is such a strong word!

So, the story is told in first-person by alternating POV chapters between Cecile and Tristan. So, they are married and bonded which means they can literally feel what the other is feeling. Bonding 2.0, ergo the endless and unnecessary inner monologues of what is the other one feeling throughout three books felt like having my hair being pulled out one hair at a time.

I also need to mention that this book should have been a standalone novel. It was completely unnecessary to stretch this plot so thin. Not much happened apart from the ‘stimulating’ inner monologues. The amount of repetition which went into these books is amazing. I imagine this PR/marketing meeting where it was decided that these books have to have a minimum of 300 pages. Just to give an example from one page:

‘Muddy footprints marred the surface of the ice, and there were signs that several trolls had tarried here for some time: remnants of meals, a discarded wineskin, and the less than pleasant smell of urine. ’

And the fourth paragraph after:

‘Where the traders’ markings had once been were now arrows slapped onto the stone in red paint, and even without them, there were obvious sings of traffic. Boot prints and discarded bits of food. Smells that were a different sort of rank that what the sluag left behind.’

One huge flaw in any book, in my opinion, is when the author gives all the explanations to you on a silver platter. Nothing is left for the reader to imagine. Imagining and figuring out things on your own is what makes a great book. When everything is handed to you the whole thing feels second-hand.

It’s like there’s this great plot twist we’ve been anticipating and after it happened someone tells you step-by-step why it happened like it did, adding that this was the plan all along (khm, Tristan, the great mastermind!). It’s just flat! I want the excitement leading up to the plot twist! I want to speculate too! I want to muse about what might happen! And I want to be surprised! Duh! Is that so much to ask?

Overall I saw the plot twists a mile away and there was a whole lot of build-up to nothing. The overarching conflict and ending after a 200+ page build up is resolved in ONE MEASLY PARAGRAPH! Shock horror!

The ending is the crème de la crème! The cherry on the pie! In a way, it gave me the same feel as the ending of Erika Johansen’s The Queen of the Tearling trilogy. I felt extremely disappointed! I expected at least a happy ending which we did not get, immediately. Instead, we got this ‘whatever’ ending which then was fixed to be a happy ending. Why?

I DO NOT recommend this trilogy!

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