I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #2
Published by Angry Robot on June 2, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, YA
Beneath the mountain, the king’s reign of tyranny is absolute; the one troll with the capacity to challenge him is imprisoned for treason. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus, but she learns all too quickly that she is not beyond the reach of the king’s power. Or his manipulation.
Recovered from her injuries, she now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. But by day she searches for the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs to those she cares about will be high.
To find Anushka, she must delve into magic that is both dark and deadly. But the witch is a clever creature. And Cécile might not just be the hunter. She might also be the hunted…
I wish I was starting this review with a different sentence, but truth be told, I was disappointed with Hidden Huntress. It was bound to be difficult, living up to the epic loveliness that is Stolen Songbird, but I had high hopes.
I would advise a quick re-read of Stolen Songbird, or at least a re-fresh because there were pieces I couldn’t quite remember at first that impacted my comprehension at the start. For one, who is Chris and why does Cecile trust him so much? Why is she living with her mother, who I recall abandoned her when she was younger? Confusion aside, Hidden Huntress begins with Cecile in Trianon, working the opera circuit and looking for Anushka to break the curse on Tristan and the trolls.
I found the pacing for most of the story to be a bit off kilter, with perhaps 3/4 of the book proceeding quite slowly as Cecile tries to find out more details. And while Tristan’s POV is also explored within Trollus, the pacing there is quite pokey too, as Tristan is trying to regain some footing with half-breeds and his friends.
This leads to one of my other qualms — the high stakes don’t seem particularly Everest-esque. While our first scene with Tristan is quite tense and sad, his father actually lets him run around and rendezvous with potential allies. It just seemed like the king had given up at this point, despite his threats. And though Cecile is driven by a promise to the king, she never seems in too much danger. View Spoiler »Perhaps this was because I predicted Anushka early on and knew that there would be a looong game played between the two. « Hide Spoiler
There were aspects I did enjoy, from Cecile playing with dark magic to her and Tristan sharing their snark. It was also refreshing to see Cecile struggle with what to do — break the curse and let out the trolls, or not? This would absolutely weigh on someone, and I appreciated that Cecile didn’t take her decisions lightly. Also, there’s a satisfying chapter that was well overdue. :D
Ultimately though, on the whole, Hidden Huntress didn’t grab me and pull me along. Without the spark and misunderstanding between our two MCs for most of the story, we’re left to wander looking for something that will move the plot forward. Hidden Huntress doesn’t exactly capture the charm of its predecessor, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t have some charms of its own. I for one still look forward to see how this trilogy plays out!
Have you read Hidden Huntress yet? What other series have you read where the romance was a big reason you enjoyed the first book?