Published by Angry Robot on May 3rd 2016
Warrior Witch by Danielle L Jensen is the final instalment from The Malediction Trilogy that brought to us Stolen Songbird and Hidden Huntress. If you haven’t picked up these books yet please be aware that the following review will contain spoilers.
I must confess from the outset that I had mixed feelings about Warrior Witch and I’ve taken a little longer than normal to reflect before writing this review. Now, let me be clear by saying that I didn’t dislike this book but by the same token I didn’t love it either, I am however pleased that I finished the series. I think this was always going to be a story that would be difficult to conclude. Sometimes you’re so caught up in a story that you can’t see the wood for the trees even though deep down, at the back of your mind, you have concerns about how it could possibly conclude satisfactorily. I think the Malediction Trilogy is one of those series. That probably sounds like a massive spoiler but please trust me when I say it really isn’t!
To give a recap. The Malediction Trilogy brings to us a world of magic, fae and trolls. The trolls in this world have previously been cursed and entombed beneath a mountain and for years have struggled with a prophecy to bring about their release. Finally a human girl, as prophesied, is taken from her world and brought into the world of the trolls. Cecile, the human in question, is bound to the Prince of the trolls (Tristan) and it looks like the prophecy may about to become true. At first Cecile and Tristan dislike each other very much, there is no trust between the two and no instalove you may be pleased to hear. Cecile has been torn from her home, friends and family and brought into a dangerous and sometimes violent world full of trolls and magic. Tristan has his own agenda going on and is guarded and wary with Cecile. Of course, the two eventually begin to form an attachment and so ensues a love story and awakening of understanding. In book two the pair are separated for the majority of the book when Cecile returns to her own world to try to discover the nature of the curse and how it can be reversed. At the end of the Hidden Huntress Cecile finally succeeds in freeing the trolls and whilst I admit that I had a few issues with this book and didn’t enjoy it as much as the first the concluding chapter where the trolls and their magical force was unleashed upon an unsuspecting world certainly promised an exciting finale.
In Warrior Witch there is a lot going on and in fact that aspect to the story kept me reading at quite a fast pace. The action pretty much never stops and there are so many twists and turns that trying to predict anybody’s next move is virtually impossible.
On top of this we have a much greater involvement from the fae, which wasn’t a really big surprise but a happy inclusion nonetheless. The Summer and Winter Courts have issues of their own taking place and in fact the politics of the troll world pretty much pale into insignificance by comparison.
In terms of characters we get to revisit a number of the old favourites such as Marc and the twins and I thought in particular Sabine played a really good role in this instalment and I found myself liking her more and more. Which brings me to Tristan and Cecile who, I couldn’t help feeling fell a little bit short of the mark. I suppose having achieved what they set out to do they both then become overwhelmed with the enormity of what they’ve actually unleashed and what it really meant for everyone else. I guess that both of them have naivety in their corner, coupled with idealism and romantic notions. All of those you could argue can quite often lead to a lack of foresight and also a certain degree of selfishness. Basically, Tristan in seeking a fairer world, and Ceclie in seeking a world with Tristan, pretty much brought about a situation that led to death and destruction for a lot of humans when the trolls and their magic were released. In fairness not all the trolls are dangerous to humans but unfortunately those with the real power are and they very much see humans as pawns in their political games.
Criticisms. Well, I struggled a little bit with liking Cecile in this instalment. She has a tendency to flounce off all the time and whilst I’d like to think of her actions as showing independence and a desire to take action the majority of the time she comes across as thoughtless or immature and ends up making others worry about her safety – usually putting them in danger as a result. Tristan and Cecile spend very little time together in the book and although I didn’t particularly feel that this was a problem, because there was a lot going on, I didn’t really feel a connection between them, or at least I struggled to believe in their relationship or feelings for each other. It just felt colder somehow. On top of this I must admit that I thought their voices sounded very similar and I sometimes almost lost track of whether I was reading from Cecile or Tristan’s point of view until an aspect in the story would bring me up short.
In terms of positives. Well, the story is fast moving, there is plenty of action and no shortage of intrigue and although the ending may not be for everyone I think the author makes a great effort to find a conclusion to the conundrum that Cecile and Tristan’s relationship creates even though that ending is bittersweet.
To be honest I loved the first book in the series for it’s originality and also for the portrayal of the trolls and their world. The second book was less enjoyable for me and I put that down to more time spent in Cecile’s world which simply wasn’t as captivating as the troll’s. I don’t want to be unfair to the author – I think this is an intriguing story I’ve enjoyed reading it and I’m pleased to have completed the series. I also have to admit that I’m not really the target audience for this book, it has a definite YA feel and I think some of the issues I had simply come down to that fact.