Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen

Warrior Witch (The Malediction Trilogy #3) by Danielle L. Jensen
Published on May 3rd, 2016 by Angry Robot.

Links: Goodreads.

Source: publisher via NetGalley. Thank you Angry Robot for providing me with an e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: YA fantasy.

My rating:

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.

zmaj-desno

This is the review for the final instalment of The Malediction Trilogy. I really liked the first part, though I never reviewed it, but I do have the review for Hidden Huntress if you want to check it out. Hint: I wasn’t too impressed by it. This post is divided into two parts: the first probably contains spoilers for Stolen Songbird and Hidden Huntress but not for Warrior Witch, while the second is absolutely full of them because I want to rant a bit. So stop reading at the “spoilers ahoy” mark if you don’t wish to know… pretty much everything there is to know about this book.

The non-spoilery part

Warrior Witch wasn’t a particularly satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. As I said, Hidden Huntress left a lot to be desired, mainly because it suffered from second book syndrome. But this one just exploded right there in my face and took no prisoners. 

I thought the first third of the novel was a bit slow. It featured a lot of anxiety between Tristan and Cécile, their bond was tested and whatnot. I also thought some of the decisions they made were spectacularly bad, but who am I to judge? Cécile is seventeen, after all, and not a war general but a farm-girl-turned-opera-singer-turned-troll-princess. Tristan should have known better, though, he’s spent his life preparing just for this moment. I felt like their chemistry was flat, too, despite the fact that their relationship progressed in some ways.

I was also still having trouble with reconciling “trolls” with the humanoid, rather handsome individuals who populated this book. For me, trolls are like those creatures from The Hobbit, all grey and stupid and huge – not sexy. 

The focus on the intrigue was too heavy for my taste, I had trouble keeping track of all the players and their numerous, convoluted schemes, especially since I didn’t remember Hidden Huntress well enough. Maybe a bit of repetition at the beginning of the book wouldn’t have gone amiss – I felt like I should have re-read the first two parts prior to starting this one, but I just wasn’t invested enough. *sigh*

I was honestly surprised by the body count of this novel! I know war takes its toll but here it just seemed so senseless (not that war makes a lot of sense otherwise…). At the same time, the story worked hard on being very dramatic to the point of making me roll my eyes from time to time: “… I prayed that if he managed to reach the Duke, that he’d fail in his quest. Because if Angoulême was killed, Roland would be free to do what he wanted. And all the world would burn.” – dun, dun, dun!

Eh. Now to the fun part! :)

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Spoilers, ahoy!

The ending. The ending, people! What happened there? Okay, so it might be that I have a problem with it because I’m not a believer in all things spiritual – I don’t believe in an afterlife. I don’t think my soul will pass into another, more beautiful place where it will spend the rest of the eternity. So if you’ve read this book, you’ll understand why the ending left me cold.

The last part of the book was very unusual in itself. I’m apparently pre-conditioned to expect a happily ever after for the teenage pair, which is weird because I always complain about this when I see it, but Tristan and Cécile got theirs – just, you know, after she died. And of course she had his child. Because why else would a seventeen-year-old want to survive the departure of her teenage husband? I really thought we were past the “boy leaves girl, girl becomes catatonic” stage (what with a whole decade passing since Twilight), but apparently not. Ugh.

And really, I have to say this again: the senseless slaughter? So unnecessary. Humans were just troll playthings here. Even Cécile, who is human, was given special powers in order to be able to compete on this supernatural battlefield. Why are you hating on humans? 

Oooohhh and one more thing (I’ll stop after this, I promise): Roland’s madness. How convenient that Cécile was able to cure his “defect” by removing iron (a poison) from his body, huh? The only character with a seriously warped personality in this book gets “cured” by a teenage witch who pulls the “corruption” out of him. Ah, simplistic resolutions. 

No, wait, one more: I still don’t like Cécile’s singing. It’s like every time she gets stuck and doesn’t know what to do, she sings her heart out and it magically solves everything. I’m not a huge fan of musicals – and I think that if this was ever made into a movie, I’d be fast-forwarding the songs because come on. Okay, so I know music can be therapeutic and I like music – I just fail to see how it can be helpful on the battlefield if you get what I mean.

End of spoilers.

zmaj-desno

As you can see, this hit all the wrong buttons for me. I’m sad, I’m always sad when I dislike a series that showed so much promise at the beginning. But not everyone shares my opinion: check out Jolien’s glowing review if you want some balance.

zmaj-levo 

Have you read this series? What did you think?

Do trolls seem appealing to you? Or are you more particular with your choice of supernatural love interests?

I’d love to hear from you! :)

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  • I didn’t read too deeply because I have this one coming up too, especially when I saw that the rating was not favorable and I want fresh eyes going in. I have to say though, this book is getting pummeled by all my reviewer friends who have read it. I’m so worried now!

    • Maybe you’ll like it better? If you check Jolien’s review I linked to, you’ll see she’s one of those people who absolutely loved it. I’ll be looking out for your review, I wonder what you’ll make of it. It just pushed all the wrong buttons for me.

  • Jolien @ The Fictional Reader

    Oh no, so sad you didn’t like it! I actually really did. I guess that shows how different we all are! I do agree with you on Roland’s aspect from the spoilery part. I do love those political intrigues, which may explain why I enjoyed this book quite a lot. Great review Kaja, you really brought up some interesting bits I hadn’t thought about while reading it!

    • I know, I saw your review and it made me really excited about the book! :) I’m always sad when I dislike books like this one, it had so much potential!

      And yeah, if political intrigues are interesting to you, you’d have less of a problem with the whole plot. It was too convoluted for me! :)

  • I did read the first one! But I actually didn’t like it from the very beginning so kind of decided not to pursue. eeek. It honestly sounds like I’m not missing out on much.🙈🙊 It’s really hard to find finales that are totally satisfying, right??!? And the over-dramaticness sounds reeeally tedious. Ergerhgh.

    • Eh, you’re right, you’re not missing out on anything important here. I thought the first book had potential but it just fizzled out. *sigh* I hate it when this happens, you have to invest time in a series, even if you get the books as ARCs.

      Oh and concerning the comment from your site (sorry for answering here): I work as a literary translator, I have an amazing job. I have a tab up here on my blog where I have a list of all the books I translated. :)

  • Oh no! I loved the first one so much, and then Hidden Huntress slipped a bit. Oof, I’m still excited to read Warrior Witch, but at least I’ve been warned. Maybe I can keep rereading Stolen Songbird as a standalone. ;)

    • I saw some reviews that were the exact opposite of mine, the reviewers felt it was the best possible conclusion of the series. I mean, it pushed all the wrong buttons for me but you might find it to your liking! :)

  • Yep, unfortunately there seems to be a consensus on this trilogy: good start, bluh middle, horrible end. It’s a shame, but at least that’s one book on my shelf I can safely skip. :)

    And wow on that “happy ending.” Like, seriously? She was going to commit suicide if the kid weren’t there? I’m a heaven/hell believer, but wha? This might actually be worse than the time-travel/immortal love plot where they’re separated, but will be together in a couple of centuries after the other one is, you know, actually born. Weirdness.

    • You know, I saw some reviews claiming this was the best possible conclusion to the series. So you never know. You might love it?

      I don’t think she would have necessarily committed suicide if she wasn’t pregnant but she had no will to live, had to be force fed by her family and didn’t respond to anything that happened. Have you read the Twilight books? Where Edward leaves Bella “for her own good” and she goes all numb and the time just passes without her notice and she basically turns into a zombie? Yeah.

      • Ah, that kind of response! I read the first two Twilight books way, way back, but I have a vague memory of this from New Moon. Where she basically decides to cease being a functional and productive member of society? Despite zombies being popular now (at least the Walking Dead kind), I can’t think of a single book where the catatonic response to a breakup worked for me.

        • Yep, that’s the one. Zombies of all kinds are the worst but I somehow dislike emotional ones more than the brain-eating ones.

  • Aww…I am so sorry to hear this. :( It’s always disappointing when a series you love has an unsatisfactory finale. Nonetheless, thanks for taking the time to share this and, as always, fabulous review! <3

    • Yep, I always feel cheated of my time. But I’ve seen reviews where people were really satisfied with the ending, so I might be the odd one here.
      I sometimes hesitate before writing bad reviews but I feel like they need to exist, just as much as the good ones. Balance, you know. :)

  • Oh. Oh no. Hahaha. I remember you commenting on one of my posts that you were having a lot of trouble with this one…at this point I’m not sure if I’ll continue the series. I do still have an ARC of the second book that I feel I should review, but honestly I may just let sleeping dogs lie (because I read it ages ago and didn’t enjoy it).

    Good point about the trolls’ appearance. I feel like it almost would’ve worked better had Jensen made them unattractive, like traditional trolls. Definitely would have added an element of the unexpected.

    It really bothers me when there’s an unnecessarily high body count in books, it just seems like overkill. It’s the warfare equivalent of saying a broody YA hero has “deep green eyes” like a hundred times, you know? Sorry this one wasn’t a better reading experience for you, Kaja! :(

    • Eh, you know what, give it a try. It might work for you? :) I mean, it OBVIOUSLY pushed all the wrong buttons for me. But if you didn’t like the second book, you might want to stay clear, unless you’re on a series-finishing crusade like I am and want to cross it off your list. :) I didn’t like Hidden Huntress much but I still felt compelled to finish the trilogy (and thank God it’s a trilogy, not a longer series, whew!).

      Oooh, an “ugly” love interest would be a breath of fresh air. I know there are some books out there that feature traditionally unattractive protagonists but you don’t see them often in popular YA fantasy.

      Yep, the body count seemed like an attempt to turn up the dramatic tension of the book – and it failed spectacularly. There are better ways of showing there’s bad shit going on than killing thousands of people – and especially if these people are just no-name humans like in this case. Eh.