YA Weekend: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

A review copy was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

HiddenHuntress-300dpiHidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of The Malediction Trilogy

Publisher: Angry Robot (June 2, 2015)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Angry Robot announced in the summer of 2014 that they were shutting down their Young Adult imprint Strange Chemistry, I was among the many readers saddened by the cancellation of their books and series. But thank goodness for at least the small mercies, like Danielle L. Jensen’s Malediction Trilogy being picked up by the parent company. Stolen Songbird was one of the best YA titles I read last year, and I was looking forward to continuing Cécile’s story in Hidden Huntress.

The sequel picks up shortly after the events of the first book. Cécile has recovered from her harrowing escape from Trollus, but it also means being separated from her love, the troll prince Tristan who is still trapped in the city beneath a mountain, sealed in by a witch’s curse. Determined to save Tristan, Cécile is willing to do anything – even if it means entering into a magically binding deal with the tyrant troll king, who tasks her to break them free by hunting down the elusive Anushka, the one who cast the original curse so long ago.

Meanwhile, Tristan is at his lowest point. He is shunned by his people, and only has few remaining loyal followers at his side. His power-hungry father will stop at nothing to escape their mountain prison and unleash the power of the trolls on the outside world, but Tristan is just as resolved to do all he can to stop him. Neither Tristan nor Cécile were prepared for the extent of the king’s Machiavellian cunning though, or just how far he would go with his manipulations.

On the whole, I actually thought Hidden Huntress was an even better book than its predecessor. This surprised me somewhat, considering some reviewer opinions I’ve seen expressing disappointment that Cécile and Tristan were separated for most of the story, and I thought for sure I would feel the same way. In fact, the opposite turned out to be true. In a case like this, distance apparently does make the heart grow fonder. Because of their magical bond, Cécile and Tristan are able to feel each other’s emotions more deeply than most couples even when they are far apart, creating a very intriguing dynamic. I felt too that the opportunity gave each protagonist the time they needed to fully develop as individuals, something that might not have occurred if they had been together. Tristan, for example, got his chance to really shine, occupying almost if not just as much page time as Cécile. Though I personally didn’t find his chapters as interesting as hers, his mission in Trollus was no less important, and I really appreciated how much of his personality we were able to glean from his perspective.

As much as Cécile and Tristan’s separation pained me, ultimately I believe the decision was worth the benefits to the plot. Sometimes, I find physical romance can take a back seat but the resulting novel ends up being just as satisfying. The story of Hidden Huntress is more sophisticated and even more entertaining than Stolen Songbird, placing a stronger emphasis on the bigger picture and also allowing supporting characters to play larger roles. The city of Trianon is a whole other world, but as a rising opera star following in her mother’s footsteps, Cécile has to tread just as carefully. Genevieve de Troyes was mentioned in the first book and I was very curious to finally meet this woman who has made such an impact on her daughter’s life. Let’s just say she was not what I expected.

I wouldn’t surprise me though, if readers are divided on Hidden Huntress. Danielle L. Jensen made a bold move, and it’ll pay off for some but perhaps not for others. It worked well for me for many reasons, some of which I’ve outlined above, but I also found it important that Ms. Jensen showed what would happen to her characters if they were placed under terrible pressure. Many will probably find some of Cécile’s decisions in this book frustrating, but to me they were an extension of the determined young woman we met in the first book who is loath to give up on something she believes in even if it drives her to extremes. We already had the chance to see the romance spark and develop between her and Tristan in the first book; I was glad to see that this book went further beyond giving readers more of the same, deciding instead to explore the greater mysteries. The page count is probably just a tad higher than I would have been comfortable with, but I got a lot out of it in the end, so I can’t bring myself to complain too much.

Hidden Huntress opens up the world, simply put. It felt bigger and more encompassing, upping the ante for all involved. The pull of the story was irresistible, given how so much more now rests on the success of our protagonists. Everything that the first book set us up for comes to fruition, complete with welcome twists and unexpected surprises. If nothing else, that incredible ending sure has me eager for book three.

4 stars

More of The Malediction Trilogy on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Stolen Songbird (Book 1)

21 Comments on “YA Weekend: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen”

  1. I’m really glad you enjoyed this. I love reading a different perspective, and it’s interesting that the things I didn’t enjoy are what you found worked best. I am dying to see where she’s taking it after that ending!

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    • Yeah, I had a feeling the book was going to work better for me because of the separation, though knowing in advance that T and C weren’t going to be together for a big part of the book prepared me as well, I’m sure 🙂

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  2. Great review. Personally I didn’t really mind Tristan and Cecile being separated for a large portion of the book – yeah, we missed the banter between the two – but I thought getting a vision into Trianon was worth it and in fact I quite like it when we have two separate stories running alongside, plus, like you said, we were still kept in touch with all the emotional impact between the two.
    I felt it was probably a little over long and for me it was a shame that I’d already spotted what was going on – I don’t know why tbh because I don’t really try and second guess a book’s ending usually but once I’d got it in my head I couldn’t shake it and for that reason it then had the effect of making some of the book just unnecessary. I have to say though I love the writing style and I think it finishes on a great note with a perfect set up for No.3 which promises to be really good.
    Lynn 😀

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    • Yes, it was long! Probably my one criticism is that in dragged in bits, but not to the point where it was overly distracting. I admit I didn’t guess the end until the second half. I don’t try to second guess a book’s ending either, but I think I know what you mean – there was a glaringly huge clue thrown in which planted a seed in my head and after that I just couldn’t ignore it anymore.

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  3. I really liked Tristan’s POV too, but I gotta say…I missed the banter between him and Cecile. Marc continues to be too precious for this world, love that guy. Sadly I guessed who Anushka would be at the end of Stolen Songbird and that kinda ruined Cecile’s whole plot line for me. I do agree with you on the world building though, it was very well done. Hopefully the final book (with all the death & drama that will inevitably go down) will be the best book in the series!

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    • I can definitely understand where you’re coming from. Their separation is going to be the point of contention for a lot of reviews, I think. I just found myself very involved in what each of them were up to individually, so it was easier to let go of the missed banter. Admittedly I didn’t guess the ending until the second half of the book, lol. I never try to guess the end, unless the author makes it glaringly obvious. I think that’s what happened, Jensen snuck in a clue maybe thinking it was subtle, but instead it just set off all these alarm bells in my head 😉

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  4. I completely agree with you. Hidden Huntress was an even better than Stolen Songbird. I was also hesitant to read for the same reasons as you, but I didn’t mind that they were separated for some part of the story. And that ending! Can’t wait for the next one.

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  5. I don’t know if the separation is what bothered me, I just felt like everything was too obvious and then I get bored because it is taking Cecile So. Long. To. Realize. 😀 I’m glad you loved it though — it was a good book, I just maybe put Stolen Songbird up on a pedestal!

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  6. I can’t really comment on wanting to read Hidden Huntress because I still haven’t read Stolen Songbird yet… It’s sitting in a literal TBR pile I’ve built of priority books to read this year, and… Bah. Maybe I’ll forget my reading plan and dive into it after I finish my current read. *lol*

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  7. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: New Books, Reading Challenges Update, Books I’ve Read | The BiblioSanctum

  8. Pingback: YA Weekend: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen | The BiblioSanctum

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