Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted March 1, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Rowena
The Traitor Queen by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #2
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom , The Traitor Queen , The Bridge Kingdom
Publisher: Context Literary Agency
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A queen now in exile as a traitor, Lara has watched Ithicana be conquered by her own father, helpless to do anything to stop the destruction. But when she learns her husband, Aren, has been captured in battle, Lara knows there is only one reason her father is keeping him alive: as bait for his traitorous daughter.

And it is bait she fully intends to take.

Risking her life to the Tempest Seas, Lara returns to Ithicana with a plan not only to free its king, but for liberating the Bridge Kingdom from her father’s clutches using his own weapons: the sisters whose lives she spared. But not only is the palace inescapable, there are more players in the game than Lara ever realized, enemies and allies switching sides in the fight for crowns, kingdoms, and bridges. But her greatest adversary of all might be the very man she’s trying to free – the husband she betrayed.

With everything she loves in jeopardy, Lara must decide who – and what – she is fighting for: her kingdom, her husband, or herself.

The Traitor Queen is the second book in the Bridge Kingdom series by Danielle L. Jensen and it was another emotionally charged, action-packed story that I was invested in from beginning to end. My heart hurt at every turn for Lara in this book. From her broken romance with her husband to the trust she broke with the people of Ithicana, lots of stuff was going on and Lara was determined to do what she can for the people whose trust she broke and fix whatever she could fix.

This book starts off and Lara’s husband Aren has been captured by her father and she becomes even more enraged than she was before. She starts plotting to figure out how to get Aren free and how to make her father pay for everything that he’s put her and her sisters through, not to mention the people of their home country. She’s got a lot of atoning to do and she’s got to work quickly because who knows what her Dad’s got up his evil sleeves. So she’s got her work cut out for her and her first order of business was gathering her forces on both Aren’s side and her own side.

This book was jam-packed with action from beginning to end. On top of the action, there’s a lot of soul-searching from the guilt that Lara feels on her part in where Aren’s country is right now. After the ending of The Bridge Kingdom, I was really curious to see where Lara and Aren would end up. Seeing Lara strive to make things right, seeing her take what she felt she deserved, and then to see her crew come to her defense made me cry a lot. I felt her pain, her guilt, her love for everyone around her and I thought Danielle L. Jensen handled the telling of her and Aren’s story so well.

This wasn’t an easy story to read at all but I loved it. There were times that I got mad even though I knew that everyone was feeling exactly how they should have felt considering what they knew to be true. There were times when I got so frustrated with Aren because his emotions were all over the place and even though I knew he had a right to feel what he was feeling, I was still mad as hell at him. LOL. I finished this book and immediately had to discuss it with Ames and Holly because I was so filled up with every emotion. This was a damn great story and I am so looking forward to wherever Jensen takes us next. I’m so curious about so many things in this world so I can’t wait for more. Do I recommend it? Hella.

Final Rating

4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted January 21, 2021 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Joint Review: The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Ames and Rowena
The Bridge Kingdom by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1
Also in this series: The Bridge Kingdom, The Traitor Queen, The Bridge Kingdom , The Traitor Queen , The Traitor Queen
Publisher: Context Literary Agency
Publication Date: June 9, 2020
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Third Person
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 356
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2021 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: five-stars

What if you fell in love with the one person you'd sworn to destroy?

Lara has only one thought for her husband on their wedding day: I will bring your kingdom to its knees. A princess trained from childhood to be a lethal spy, Lara knows that the Bridge Kingdom represents both legendary evil - and legendary promise. The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom controls all trade and travel between lands, allowing its ruler to enrich himself and deprive his enemies, including Lara's homeland. So when she is sent as a bride under the guise of fulfilling a treaty of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture the defenses of the impenetrable Bridge Kingdom.

But as she infiltrates her new home - a lush paradise surrounded by tempest seas - and comes to know her new husband, Aren, Lara begins to question where the true evil resides. Around her, she sees a kingdom fighting for survival, and in Aren, a man fiercely protective of his people. As her mission drives her to deeper understanding of the fight to possess the bridge, Lara finds the simmering attraction between her and Aren impossible to ignore. Her goal nearly within reach, Lara will have to decide her own fate: Will she be the destroyer of a king or the savior of her people?

This book came highly recommended by Holly so Ames and I chose to read it together this month and to say that it was a really great recommendation is putting it mildly. This book packed a really great punch and kicked off this series beautifully.

So this story is about Princess Lara of Miridrina who travels to the kingdom of Ithicana to fulfill her country’s part of the peace treaty with the late King of Ithicana. She is to marry King Aren of Ithicana but she is also putting into action, a plan that her father, the King of Miridrina, has been plotting for the last fifteen years. A plan that depends on Lara to make happen.

When Lara gets to Ithicana, she is not a fan of the King, his sister, or the people and she is deadset on the plan she was sent in for but the longer she’s there, the more she realizes that there are holes in what she grew up learning about Ithicana, it’s King and the people. The closer she gets to her husband, the more torn she is.

Lara’s journey is not an easy one because falling in love with her husband and her new home was not in the plan at all.

Rowena: Alright Ames, we’re kicking off 2021 on a great note, wouldn’t you agree? What did you think of this one?

Ames: I definitely agree- yay for us picking up our buddy reviews again! And second, thank you to Holly for recommending this series. I was in a bit of a slump so although this took me a minute to get into, once I was I couldn’t put it down. I was completely caught up in Lara’s story and you know what? I don’t even like spies or spy tropes. LOL But I liked Lara and I thought the author did an excellent job showing the struggle Lara was faced with. And the world-building was so easy to get into. It wasn’t heavy or difficult to follow at all.

What did you think?

Rowena: I think the same. It took me a little bit before I was fully invested in Lara’s journey but once the story took off, I was all in. I had a little bit of anxiety going on because like you, I’m not the biggest fan of spies or the spy trope but I thought Danielle L. Jensen handled everything well. Her writing style was really easy to follow and I finished this book, then immediately had to start the next book because I was that invested in what was going on.

I will say something that Holly brought up after I finished reading this one. I would have been royally pissed off if I had read this book back before book 2 was released. I don’t think I would have been able to stand not being able to continue the story after I was done with this one. This one ended on a sort of cliffhanger, do you think?

Ames: This is the exact reason why I let series build up before reading all the books close together. LOL, I could not have imagined waiting any time at all to see what happened with Lara! I jumped immediately into the next book. haha

I don’t want to be too spoilery but this book – there was one scene in particular where I was like “Nooooooooo!!!” and sure enough, it bit Lara in the ass. I was annoyed with Lara’s reticence in telling Aren how she felt. I understand that she was basically brainwashed by her father and his men regarding the Ithicanians but yeah, I was annoyed with Lara and how long she took to make up her mind. However, I understand WHY. I just didn’t like it. LOL.

Rowena: Haha, I know exactly what you’re talking about because I was screaming the same. That totally bit Lara in the ass and all I have to say for that is if she had opened her mouth, and trusted her husband (who had proven himself time and time again to her) with the truth, her ass would have been fine. But noooooo….haha.

I thought it took her far too long to come clean about everything and when she finally does, I was heavy sighing all over the place because girl…it was too little too late.

This book was super engaging and I couldn’t read it fast enough. From almost the beginning to the end, I could not get enough. I was wrapped up in everything that was going on and when the ending was coming and things were really coming together, I dreaded getting to the end. I didn’t want it to end. I was so invested in the romance between Aren and Lara, Lara getting to know the people of Ithicana and seeing her come to care for everyone. I think the weakest part of the story was that ending, which I thought was abrupt but I’m glad that I had the next book ready to go because I jumped right into the next book when I finished this one.

I’m so glad that we decided to give Danielle L. Jensen a try, I really enjoyed this one and can’t wait for the next book in this series. I’m giving this a 4.5 out of 5, what about you?

Ames: I’m glad this book defeated my reading slump. It was super engaging and really, I can’t stress this enough, for a fantasy book the world-building was incredibly easy to get into. That’s huge for me because these days I lose interest so easily. I am giving The Bridge Kingdom 4.25 out of 5. And for potential readers out there, make sure you buy book 1 and book 2 so you don’t have to wait! LOL!

Final Rating

Ames: 4.25 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

The Bridge Kingdom


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Review: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted August 7, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Warrior Witch by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #3
Also in this series: Stolen Songbird , Hidden Huntress
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen.

Cécile and Tristan have accomplished the impossible, but their greatest challenge remains: defeating the evil they have unleashed upon the world.

As they scramble for a way to protect the people of the Isle and liberate the trolls from their tyrant king, Cécile and Tristan must battle those who’d see them dead. To win, they will risk everything. And everyone.

But it might not be enough. Both Cécile and Tristan have debts, and they will be forced to pay them at a cost far greater than they had ever imagined.

Warrior Witch is the final book in the Malediction Trilogy by Danielle L. Jensen, which follows Cécile as she goes from prisoner of the Trolls to their savior, to possibly the one responsible for the fall of all mankind. The trilogy should be read in order.

Cécile was kidnapped on her 17th birthday and taken to Trollus, a cursed city under Forsaken Mountain, where she was bonded to the Prince of the Trolls, Tristan. A prophecy foretold that she would be the one to break the curse holding them in the city, and it was correct. Now that she’s set the Trolls free, she has another problem – they’re determined to go to war with the humans, so they once again rule all the lands. Cécile and Tristan will need a fool-proof plan to defeat his uncle and save mankind.

This book is called Warrior Witch, so I had certain expectations about how Cécile would grow and change in this novel. Sadly, none of them came to pass.

First, let me start with what I liked about this book. The world-building, politics and intrigues throughout the entire series were well done. It was easy to fall into this world and become attached to the characters (with some exceptions). I absolutely felt like I was there with them. The interpersonal relationships and friendships that develop are also wonderful. Plus, Jensen excels at writing multilayered characters and situations. Nothing is as it seems at first glance. I loved the constant twists and turns of the plot and character motivations. I loved Sabine, Paul and Fred (Cécile’s human friends and family), as well as Marc, Zoe and Elise, the Twins and Tips (those we met in Trollus). They were the best part of this novel. Even most of the villains were multifaceted, never doing things for the expected reasons, or having secondary motivations that almost made them sympathetic characters despite their actions.

While all of that was wonderful and definitely worth reading the book (and entire series) for, I really came to dislike Cécile. It’s hard not to go back to the first book, Stolen Songbird, when thinking about her. Cécile’s journey started so far from where it ended in terms of loss and life, and her overall character growth. I love it when a character grows in strength and changes for the better over the course of a series, especially a heroine. Sadly, I don’t think Cécile changed for the better over the course of this series, nor do I think she grew stronger.

At the start of the trilogy, Cécile was a 17-year-old sheltered girl who grew up on a farm. She’d been book/tutor educated, but had little life experience. Obviously she gained life experience over the course of the series, but I don’t think she truly learned anything. She continued to make the same decisions for the same reasons over and over again. In fact, I think she went from making mistakes out of ignorance to making them out of a sense of malice toward others. Where she did things that put others in danger out of ignorance in previous books, she did them simply to be cruel in this one (ex: being petty and getting human guards killed just because she was feeling mean). She was so cavalier about dabbling in black magic, and such a martyr about it, that I actively came to dislike her as the series wore on.

I also really struggled with the ending.

View Spoiler »

Though this book is called Warrior Witch, I don’t believe Cécile was a warrior, but rather a survivor who was willing to do whatever she must, whether morally right or not. While that may have worked when she was a prisoner, it made her very unlikable once she broke the curse and was dealing with the consequences of her actions.

As for the romance, I never fully bought into the connection between Cécile and Tristan. I think Tristan cared a bit more for Cécile than she did for him, but even then, I never came to believe they wanted to be together. It felt like the only reason they stayed with one another was because of the bond. They weren’t kind to each other, didn’t hold one another’s confidences and in fact spent the majority of the books apart.

Despite my issues with Cécile and the romance, I still enjoyed this series and I would recommend it. As a fantasy series, it works very well. As a fantasy romance, not so much. Still, the world and secondary characters were well worth the read.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The Malediction Trilogy

three-half-stars


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Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted August 4, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #2
Also in this series: Stolen Songbird , Warrior Witch
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: June 2, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

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…

Hidden Huntress (The Malediction Trilogy #2) by Danielle L. Jensen picks up shortly after Stolen Songbird ends. I believe this trilogy needs to be read in order. Cécile has escape Trollus and is now living in Trianon, performing at her mother’s opera house while she searches for the witch responsible for cursing Trollus. In the meantime, Tristan is still in Trollus plotting to overthrow his father and free the half-blood trolls.

I enjoyed Stolen Songbird and I immediately jumped into Hidden Huntress because I was anxious to see where the story would go. I found the pace quite a bit slower in this novel and Cécile got on my nerves more. In the first book I felt like she made a lot of bad decisions out of desperation. Here, her bad decisions felt more deliberate. She wanted what she wanted, damn the consequences.

I enjoyed the world and really love the politics and intrigues of the trolls. I also thought Tristan grew quite a bit in this novel. I figured out early who the villain was, and I admit I was impatient for the characters to work it out.

In this book and the previous I really struggled with the romance. I never really felt a connection between Tristan and Cécile outside the metaphysical bond that was forced on them. Their declarations of love didn’t really work for me, and nothing I read here solidified their connection for me. Tristan’s mistrust and Cécile’s insecurities frustrated me.

I liked it enough to start the third book immediately, but it’s not a book I think I’ll ever re-read.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

The Malediction Trilogy

three-half-stars


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Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen

Posted August 3, 2020 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. JensenReviewer: Holly
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen
Narrator: Eric Michael Summerer, Erin Moon
Series: The Malediction Trilogy #1
Also in this series: Hidden Huntress , Warrior Witch
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 469
Length: 14 hours and 30 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Goodreads Challenge, Holly's 2020 Goodreads Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the mountain. When Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she realises that the trolls are relying on her to break the curse.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind: escape. But the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time…

But the more time she spends with the trolls, the more she understands their plight. There is a rebellion brewing. And she just might be the one the trolls were looking for...

Stolen Songbird is the first book in Danielle L. Jensen‘s The Malediction Trilogy. I’m not generally a fan of YA novels, but I read and enjoyed Jensen’s The Bridge Kingdom series, so I figured I’d give this one a try. This is the first book in a trilogy, so it ended with something of a cliffhanger.

Cécile grew up on a farm with her siblings and her father, but she was promised to her mother on her 17th birthday. Her mother is a famous opera singer, and she plans to groom Cécile to follow in her footsteps. On the day before she’s supposed to leave for the city, she’s kidnapped and taken below the Forsaken Mountain to the cursed city of Trollus.

Five hundred years ago a witch cursed the Trolls to live forever Under the Mountain. They are bound to their city until the curse is broken. A new prophecy names Cécile as the one who can break the curse. She’s immediately bonded to the Troll Prince, Tristan. Now she only has one goal in mind..to escape Trollus and free herself. But nothing is as it seems in Trollus, mostly especially not her new husband…

Stolen Songbird is a well-written, very engaging novel. I really enjoyed the court politics and intrigues, and I loved getting to know the city. The secondary characters were wonderful, and I loved how nuanced they were.

I found Cécile to be rather impetuous and the way she and Tristan treated each other for much of the novel was frustrating, but I can’t say I blame either of them for acting the way they did. Tristan had lived his entire life hiding his true intentions, and Cécile had been stolen away from everything she ever knew. Their bonding meant they could sense the other’s emotions, and if one died the other was likely to die as well. I think this worked against the romance. I never really believed they had a true love connection. They spent little time together getting to know one another, and they never really came to trust each other. It felt like the only reason they were “in love” at the end was because they were forced to through the bonding. I’d have liked to see that play out a little different.

Still, I enjoyed the novel as a whole and I immediately picked up the second book. The politics, intrigue, hidden (and some not so hidden) monsters all made for lovely tale.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Malediction Trilogy

four-stars


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