Review: Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen

Title: Hidden Huntress (Malediction Trilogy, 2)
Author: Danielle L. Jensen
Genre: Swords and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Angry Robot Books (4th June 2015)
Blurb:

SOMETIMES, ONE MUST ACCOMPLISH THE IMPOSSIBLE

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 is not beyond the reach of the king’s power, or his mainpulation.

Cécile now lives with her mother in Trianon and graces the opera stage every night. By day she searches for Anushka, the witch who has eluded the trolls for five hundred years. Whether she succeeds or fails, the costs of 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. Cécile might not just be the hunter – she might also be the hunted.

Book II of the Malediction Trilogy, this is the stunning sequel to the acclaimed STOLEN SONGBIRD.

Rating: **** (4 stars)
Review:

HIDDEN HUNTRESS by Danielle L. Jensen is the second book in the Malediction Trilogy. Cécile has escaped the darkness of Trollus and is beyond the reach of its inhabitants, both good and bad. She has moved to live with her mother in Trianon and has started to fulfil her childhood dreams. However, she misses and worries about her friends in Trollus, so she decides to search for Anushka and find out more about the curse that keeps the trolls trapped.

This is just what I wanted from a follow up book to the fantastic STOLEN SONGBIRD (review). It was a really engrossing read, and there was a lot going on but I didn’t ever feel overwhelmed. Once I started reading I found that I just devoured chapters almost without realising it. I really liked the way both Cécile and Tristan grew through this book as individuals. I wanted to know what was going to happen next. I will say that I thought Tristan and Cécile were older than they are – I’m not sure why I felt they were early twenties rather than late teens, but I did and when Tristan’s age was mentioned it shocked me – but I can’t say it really added (or took away) anything from the story.

The events of HIDDEN HUNTRESS take place months after the events of STOLEN SONGBIRD, with Cécile ensconced in Trianon under the direction of her mother. As such the plot of the book focuses on the fallout of the events at the end of STOLEN SONGBIRD, with Cécile trying to do what no one has done before and locate the witch Anushka. I thought Jensen handled the search of Anushka and the revelations that involved very well. I found it to be an interesting read, and although I wasn’t surprised I did think Jensen did a great job at keeping the suspense going. I also thought that Jensen handled the events within Trollus brilliantly, and it was an interesting contrast to the search for Anushka.

The blurb may focus on Cécile, but the book itself focuses equally on both Cécile and Tristan with the beginning of each chapter indicating on who it is focusing. The dual first person narrative also worked well for me, as I enjoyed getting to see the different plot threads up close and through different perspectives. I think this really helped to carry the story forward, and to keep me turning the pages.

I thought Cécile was a really compelling character, and I liked the fact that she didn’t hide her emotions. She seemed very grown up, and was very sure of her feelings even when tested. I also thought she was very brave in this chapter, even when faced with difficult choices. I really enjoyed the way Jensen wrote her friendships with Sabine and Chris, they seemed really close. Tristan seemed less remote than he did in STOLEN SONGBIRD, and as such I felt it was a lot easier to empathise with him. There were a lot of secondary characters in this book, both familiar and note, and I think on the whole Jensen did a good job making them believable.

Overall I think HIDDEN HUNTRESS is a brilliant addition to the Malediction Trilogy; it is a really strong second book, and it pulls the story to new dramatic heights, leading me to be looking forward to the final book. If you have enjoyed the previous book then I highly recommend that you continue on the series with this book.

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