Hidden Huntress is the second book of The Malediction Trilogy. While I wasn’t in love with Stolen Songbird the first time I read it, I enjoyed it a lot the second time around – in a nutshell, human girl is stolen by the trolls and married to their young prince in the hopes that their bond will release the trolls from a spell that has kept them locked underground for centuries. Unfortunately, said human girl isn’t “the one,” and complications ensue. You should read it first and this review will contain spoilers, so in the immortal words of my favorite Goblin King, Jareth from Labyrinth, “Turn back, Sarah. Turn back before it’s too late. . .”
Cecile escaped the confines of Trollus, but she left Tristan and her friends behind. She can feel in the back of her mind that Tristan is in pain, but with the new decrees that won’t allow humans past the river gate, she can’t know exactly how bad things are for everyone she cares about. The guilt she feels steals the pleasure of finally singing for admiring crowds in Trianon. She has tasked herself with finding the witch who laid the curse on the trolls, but what chance does she have for success when all those compelled by the King couldn’t locate her in 500 years?
Hidden Huntress was a strong follow up to Stolen Songbird, and I actually thought it was the better book. The political intrigue in Trollus just never stops, and the turn of events following Cecile’s escape is hard hitting and heartbreaking for anyone who had a favorite troll in the first book. Cecile’s life is equally a game of chess; she must maneuver between old friendships and her new love, all while fending off the overbearing machinations of her selfish mother. There are wheels within wheels in this one, and many times they resulted in unexpected but ultimately pleasant surprises. This book centers on identifying Anushka, the witch responsible for the blood curse on Trollus, and many readers will spot her fairly early in the story. It will take a while for Cecile to find her, though, and I found that frustrating because Cecile is suppose to be smarter than that. I found it added a layer of tension every time Cecile unwittingly interacted with the character, but I wasn’t sure the author intended for me to puzzle things out so easily because there were several weak attempts at misdirection. Some readers will be disappointed that it was so easy to guess her identity and her end game. Another disappointment is the lack of Marcus time in this book, and while his absence is excusable, he was a favorite, so fingers crossed he gets more play in the third book. The ending was explosive and resolved a big conflict that had been hanging around since the beginning, so I found it satisfactory. It isn’t exactly a cliffhanger, but it will leave readers desperate for the third book. I was also pleased with the continued devotion between Tristan and Cecile, which despite their separation, was still believable and well developed. Like Stolen Songbird, this book tends to draw situations out for too long, but the ending was more rewarding and I was having enough fun that it wasn’t as irritating as it was in the first book. I think fans will ultimately be pleased with this continuation, and I’m glad I gave it a chance despite my lukewarm feelings about Stolen Songbird. I will certainly be looking for the third book.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.