YA Weekend: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

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

Warrior WitchWarrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

Mogsy’s Rating: 2 of 5 stars

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 3 of The Malediction Trilogy

Publisher: Angry Robot (May 3, 2016)

Length: 384 pages

Author Information: Website | Twitter

To be fair, this wasn’t all bad. My disappointment probably stems less from my overall feelings for the book itself, and had more to do with how inadequate and unsatisfying I found it to be as a concluding volume—to what started off as such a strong and promising series, I might add. On the one hand, you have endings that are bittersweet, and on the other, there are the kinds of endings that leave a rotten taste in your mouth. To me, this one felt a lot more like the latter. Maybe it was an attempt to be bold and give readers something different, but I thought it was needlessly complicated and cruel, and I can’t help thinking this trilogy and its characters would have been better served with a more traditional happily-ever-after.

But more on that later. First, let me back up a bit here. Warrior Witch picks up right where the previous book Hidden Huntress left off, with Tristan and Cécile continuing their fight against their enemy, trying to save both the humans and the trolls after a deadly magic was unleashed upon their worlds. A great war is coming, and while his people are free, Tristan still has much to do to prove that he is the rightful leader of the trolls. Cécile is doing what she can to support her beloved with her newfound powers, but she too is recovering from learning several shocking revelations about her own family. Both our protagonists may have their debts to pay, but more importantly, the two of them also have a prophecy to fulfill, and it won’t do to underestimate the lengths they will go to do it.

This should have had all the makings of an epic finale. Instead, it turned out to be my least favorite installment of the trilogy. Right away, I knew something was wrong when I could barely reconcile myself to this shaky transition between the beginning of this book and the end of the last one. As I recall, the final few chapters of Hidden Huntress were amazing, setting readers up for this incredible high even when all was said and done. Instead of picking up that momentum, however, Warrior Witch began with a sluggish introduction, and continued with its lackadaisical pacing until well into the second half of the novel. I hate to say it, but there were so many parts of this book where having to read it felt like such a chore. If I hadn’t been so determined to finish the trilogy, I might have been tempted to throw in the towel long before the plot picked up again.

But even as the story got better, I had my issues with the characters. Several times I almost lost my patience with Cécile, whose actions made me feel like the only way she could contribute to the story was by running headlong into danger without a single thought to anyone but herself. While her pluckiness was semi-charming in Hidden Huntress, here it just felt like a bad habit. When it all inevitably goes wrong and she ends up blaming herself, all I could think was, “Yes, I blame you too, Cécile, you fool girl.” The relationship between her and Tristan was also problematic, for I think I actually like them more when they’re apart. So what does that say about their romance? Their love for each other seemed almost like an afterthought in this book, though granted they both had a lot more pressing things on their mind, what with the bad guys coming to kill them and all.

However, the final straw that ultimately went and destroyed the camel’s back was, as I said, the final few chapters. Truthfully, I’m not even all that angry over how it ended because I’m still trying to get over my staggering dismay and bewilderment as to why, WHY, we had to end the series this way. Look, I am not one to always demand a happy ending. In fact, most times I actually prefer it when things don’t end up with perfect outcomes for everyone so that they can all go home and have cake. Bittersweet endings can be really cool when they are done well. Unfortunately that’s not something I can say about this one. After all the build-up of the challenges, the conflicts, the struggles that the characters had to go through over the course of three books, what we ended up with here felt like a kick in the teeth. There was no pleasure tinged with sadness or pain here, just a pure sense of awkwardness that felt extemporaneous and out of place. I found it horribly off-putting, and there’s simply no other way to describe how it felt to be dealt such a blow.

But like I said, it wasn’t all bad. This book and I might have even parted on good terms if it wasn’t for the ending, which I just could not abide. But that’s just my personal take. If you loved the first two books like I did, then you probably should read Warrior Witch. If nothing else, that final epic showdown is well worth the price of admission just to witness how all the human, troll and fae conflicts resolve. Minus those final few chapters (which I’m now going to pretend never happened) it really is a lovely trilogy, as long as you’re prepared for a potentially vexing conclusion. It didn’t work out for me, but it might for you.

2stars

Mogsy 2

More on The BiblioSanctum:
Review of Stolen Songbird (Book 1)
Review of Hidden Huntress (Book 2)

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19 Comments on “YA Weekend: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

  1. That’s too bad! I however need my HEA! I haven’t gotten to this series yet, but now I’ll put it off a bit more. Thanks for the info on the last one. I’ll skip it now, especially since you said book two ends well haha!

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  2. It’s a shame the ending was so disappointing especially when the first book was so good. I wasn’t as big a fan of book two, but I do still want to see how things end up. Not sure I’ll get to this soon as my June pile is out of control, but hopefully I can make time. I’m so curious now!

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  3. This is a bummer as it is a series I’ve been eyeing with interest – now I’m not so sure I want to get started. I hate the whole reckless/idiot heroine thing especially when the author is using it superficially to create tension in the plot and/or ends up twisting it so that whatever action may have been stupid but it just shows how caring and compassionate the heroine is. l’m reading a book like that right now and it’s never a good sign when I’m shouting “Stop being an idiot” at the recording, lol.

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    • Audiobooks like that are especially funny, though yelling at a recording is nowhere near as satisfying as yelling at a book 😀 In truth, I think I could have tolerated the character and her bad decisions, but that ending just made me so angry.

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    • Yeah, now I understand why there were so many mixed reviews, lol! Book one is really good though, very worth it, so I hope you get a chance to give it a try 🙂

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  4. Ha, yeah, this mirrors my thoughts pretty well. I think I wrote a very spoilery review for this one because I wanted to rant a lot. The ending was horrible and as much as I bitch about HEAs in YA fiction sometimes (if they feel forced), I really wish she’d gone with one here. It’s just unbelievable why anyone thought this fiasco was a good idea… Eh.

    And “needlessly complicated and cruel” is a good description for the rest of the plot. Cecile and Tristan were both deeply annoying to me and I couldn’t root for anyone, which is always a sign because I can sympathise with almost anyone usually.

    But I did see a 5-star review of this one, too, and from a blogger who’s usually very critical, so apparently it just wasn’t a book for me (or you) but others might love it.

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    • Ugh, this book and the way it makes me feel… Yeah I remember seeing your rating for the book but skipping the spoilery parts of your review (thanks for the warning!) 🙂 I wanted to rant too, I just hate that ending.

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  5. I just didn’t like this one really – I gave it a 3 which on reflection was probably a bit high. The relationship just was terrible and Cecile was a proper numpty throughout the whole book – got on my last nerve.
    And, bittersweet endings – I think I would have found it more acceptable if hadn’t felt so rushed, a bit like a tacked on ending.
    Lynn 😀

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  6. Ugh, I hate it when an otherwise good series ends poorly. This doesn’t sound like my cup of tea at all. I’ve had the Stolen Songbird on my TBR for a few years, but I don’t think I’ll end up reading it. I’m one of those people who want a happily ever after, especially if I’ve spent several books with the characters in the world…. Unless it’s a horror book. Then I don’t necessarily want a HEA.

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  7. Pingback: Mogsy’s Bookshelf Roundup: Stacking the Shelves & Recent Reads | The BiblioSanctum

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