Goodreads Score: 5 out of 5
Plot Blurb: Cecile de Troyes lives a simple country life, training to be a singer and hopefully join her mother one day in the big city and become as famous performer. On the eve of her 17th birthday, she is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain that overlooks her valley to be traded to the trolls that have been secretly residing in the dark for hundreds of years. And to make matters worse, they engage her to the troll prince named Tristan and expect her to fulfill a prophecy to free them. She learns that there is more to the trolls than scary nightmares, and she is swiftly drawn into the political games and intrigue of the court to which she now belongs.
My Reaction: May I just start out by saying that this book is far and away my favorite read in a LONG time. I became so immersed in this one. The writing was great - easy to read and flowed perfectly with some nice imagery and above all, amazing dialogue. There is nothing better than a book where the dialogue just flies off the page! And Jensen has this down... I mean to tell you... the characters here come alive as soon as you hear them speak to one another in a way that is entrancing.
So let's move on to the characters themselves. I found Cecile wonderfully complex. Normally I am incredibly put off by singers in books - I think it is hard to translate a person with an extra-gifted talent like this in writing. It comes off as needless and silly - but somehow Jensen seemed to make it work. I didn't get pissed at Cecile for her talent, because it was inserted at the right times and in the right placed. And how clever of her to title the book songbird? When it's songbirds who used to warn miners when to go above ground and here we have Cecile whom everyone believes will be their key to freedom above ground... see what she did there? Nice touch, Ms. Jensen.
But I digress. Cecile is as normal as you or I. She is a normal girl that wants normal things and has cool dreams that she hopes to see through. When she's put in a horrible situation, she reacts in much the same way I would. She tries to escape and reluctantly falls in love with this troll prince that is as equally complex. Tristan is a strong character that knows what he wants and doesn't plan to let her get in the way of his plans. But they both grow and change throughout the novel. So much so that their actions from the beginning to the end of the novel are incredibly different. They felt incredibly human to me. Their romance is incredibly real, in many ways.
Can we talk a moment about the romantic notion of bonding in this book? To share your innate feelings with the person you marry? I practically giggled aloud when I read that on the page, knowing that when two people pretend to hate each other, but can feel the truth of things, it was bound to get interesting. And Holy God did I nearly have a meltdown on more than one occasion. I may or may not have thrown my fancy Bose headphones at the wall (causing them to burst apart into several pieces, but that's a different story. Pretty sure my husband thinks I'm crazy now).
Now, I'm not stupid. I know there are elements of cheese in this one. But sometimes a little cliche is just what you need to get a story really going. You have to sprinkle that shit in there like it's flakes of gold. Too much and you'll ruin it, but just enough makes it sparkle and shine. Were there some overreactions? Sure. Were there some predictable makeup scenes? Absolutely. Was this book almost like a romance novel in the guise of a fantasy? You bet your blog-reading ass it was! And I loved every damn minute of it!
And that ending!!! Omg I was sobbing for about 20 minute. I definitely feel like I cried myself to sleep. But it wasn't horrible - don't let the crying throw you off! Anybody that knows me knows that I don't do ridiculous endings (aka when everyone dies). Unless you're Shakespeare, don't come at me with a story where the main character dies. I'm not having any of it. This was more of a "whyyyyy" crying with a little bit of "holy hell I need to read the next one" thrown in there.
So should you read this one? Have you even been paying attention?!? OF COURSE YOU SHOULD! If you haven't already, go pick this one up, or order it from Amazon, or check it out from your library... if you and I have similar taste in books and you haven't read this one, then you should do yourself a favor. Trust me. Yes, it's that good.