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.
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.
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! :)
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.
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.
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! :)