The Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen science fiction and fantasy book and audiobook reviewsThe Broken Ones by Danielle L. Jensen

This is a prequel novel to Danielle Jensen‘s MALEDICTION TRILOGY, which is comprised of Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress and Warrior Witch. A lot of people like to read books series in chronological order, but I would highly recommend not doing that here, as The Broken Ones (2017) well and truly assumes you’ve already read the original trilogy.

Beneath the Forsaken Mountain is the city of Trollus, ruled over by a tyrannical king and his son Tristan. But unbeknownst to only but a few, Tristan and his closest circle of friends are plotting a coup to overthrow his cruel father and establish a kinder, fairer system.

But they’re beset by danger and intrigue on all sides. Marc is Tristan’s best friend and right-hand man, though for most of his life he’s been in love with Pénélope, the daughter of the scheming Duke d’Angoulême. And when Pénélope accidentally ruins the chances of her sister becoming the next queen of Trollus, she’s tasked with finding evidence that Marc is involved in the movement against the crown.

So the two lovers struggle to negotiate the complex politics that surround them, knowing that they’re balancing their own desire for happiness against the greater good of Trollus.

Malediction Trilogy (3 Book Series) by Danielle L. JensenThe Broken Ones is a good read that provides some context to the original story, though — as I said — it’s not something that should be read without first having the trilogy under your belt. Concepts such as “bonding” and “half-bloods” go completely unexplained, and even as someone who had read the trilogy a while back I had trouble remembering the specifics.

A little exposition wouldn’t have gone amiss, especially when it comes to the rules of magic that govern Trollus, or characters such as the queen. She’s actually a Siamese twin, and it took me a couple of pages to remember that (which made her scenes extremely confusing at first).

The book also includes a short story called “The Songbird’s Overture” which introduces Cecile (the protagonist of the trilogy) at age fourteen, her life on the farm with her family, and the meeting with her mother that sets up her life in Stolen Songbird.

Altogether, it’s an interesting companion to Jensen’s series. Pénélope’s shadow looms large in the trilogy, so it was nice to get some insight into who she actually was, and The Broken Ones provides more background detail on life in Trollus before Cecile’s story begins.

Published in 2017. Prequel to the USA Today bestselling and Goodreads Choice finalist Stolen Songbird. Below Forsaken Mountain, a plot is being hatched to overthrow the tyrant king of Trollus, and Marc is the right-hand man of its leader.  His involvement is information more than one troll would kill to possess, which is why he must keep it a secret from everyone, even the girl he loves. After accidentally ruining her sister’s chance to become queen, Pénélope is given one last opportunity by her father, the Duke d’Angoulême, to make herself useful: she must find proof that the boy she’s in love with is conspiring against the crown. If she fails, her life will be forfeit. Marc and Pénélope must navigate the complex politics of Trollus, where powers on all sides are intent on using them as pawns, forcing them to risk everything for a chance at a life together. Except being together may turn out to be the greatest risk of all.


  • Rebecca Fisher

    REBECCA FISHER, with us since January 2008, earned a Masters degree in literature at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Her thesis included a comparison of how C.S. Lewis and Philip Pullman each use the idea of mankind’s Fall from Grace to structure the worldviews presented in their fantasy series. Rebecca is a firm believer that fantasy books written for children can be just as meaningful, well-written and enjoyable as those for adults, and in some cases, even more so. Rebecca lives in New Zealand. She is the winner of the 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best SFF Fan Writer.

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