Friday, June 19, 2015

Hidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen: Review


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 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…


"Sometimes what we are looking for is right in front of us, but more often, I think, one must look long and hard, for she will not reveal herself so easily."

Stolen Songbird is one of my favorite books of all time, and I've been waiting for this book like crazy. I devoured it in one day, and then re-read it for a hundred more times or so. I've read reviews about it being nowhere as good as the first book. I still like the first book more, yes. But this is just as great as its companion.

Hidden Huntress picks up several months after the unwilling separation of Cecile and Tristan. Cecile is forced into a dangerous contract. She's coerced to fulfill the prophecy, in a way, by finding and capturing Anushka, the witch who trapped the trolls for several centuries. But the contract is not the only thing she has to worry about. Tristan is trapped in Trollus still, surrounded by his enemies, and must find a way to break free. But as more political games are revealed, things are getting... well, brutal.

Unlike the first book, there's a more equal division of both Cecile and Tristan's perspective. That serves two purposes. One, Tristan is Cecile's, well, companion. They are separated. We get more of his point of view to know about his status. Two, his observation and struggles will serve as a foreshadowing of the upcoming book (which already has a title, by the way). Personally, I have absolutely no problem with that. In fact, it's very fascinating to see deep inside the secretive troll prince's mind. After all, he's a walking, talking contradiction. I kind of miss Cecile's perspective though, because she has a unique way of observing things. I wonder if this will continue in the last installment.

The pace in this book is slower, especially in the first half of the book. Cecile and Tristan are basically separated, with no way to communicate with each other. Cecile doesn't have any progress in finding the witch, and Tristan is forced into labor. According to some of the reviewers, this is one of the reasons why they don't like Hidden Huntress as much as the prequel. While this does create a lot of tension and anticipation in a not-so-good way, I actually don't have much of a problem with it, because we do learn a lot of things that can potentially be vital to the plot of the last book. A certain impostor that angers and saddens me, a power-hungry Duke who wants to enslave everyone, and a cruel, bloodthirsty prince whose desires will never be fulfilled. Not exactly boring material. However, I do understand that the plot for this book hardly develops in the first half of the book. The focus is not very precise. The second half makes up for it though, so I'm okay with it.

Except there's a big problem with the plot. It's not about the slow pace or development. It's about how predictable it is. It's not hard to guess who's the impostor, and who's the witch. It's also easy to guess the King's real intentions and the Duke's nefarious plans. I figured out a lot of things way before they are revealed, which diminishes a lot of fun. However, just because it's predictable doesn't mean it's any less emotion-inducing. There are a lot of exciting spots in the book. Both Cecile and Tristan do face a lot of danger in this book. Those moments give off quite the amount of adrenaline. 

I can't wait for the final book, not after the all-hell-breaks-loose ending. 

Rating: 8/10 

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