Warrior Witch by Danielle L. Jensen
Book Three of The Malediction Trilogy
Publisher: Angry Robot
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Rating: 1 star
Source: eARC from the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads):
The thrilling conclusion to the breakout Malediction Trilogy by Goodreads Choice finalist Danielle L. Jensen.
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.
What I Liked:
Initial reaction, upon finishing this book: I wish I had never started this series. I don't think I have EVER said that about a series before. This series was a complete downhill rollercoaster - from amazing (book one) to horrible (book two) to so terrible I want to block it from my memory (book three). I feel bad because I requested this book from the publisher! But at the same time... I'm well and truly hurt right now. My thanks to Angry Robot, but, ah, I'm sorry too?
Like Stolen Songbird and Hidden Huntress, Warrior Witch is a Pili-Pushed recommendation! It's going to count for the month of March. To see the my Pili-Pushed reviews, click on the "Pili Pushed" tag (at the bottom of my blog).
What I Did Not Like:
Issues I had with this book:
- The first half (maybe a little more) is boring as h*ll. Gosh I struggled with this book overall, but a significant part of this was due to how boring the first half was. I was either bemoaning how boring it was, or how much of a dumb*ss Cécile was (whoops?). Of course, boredom is subjective.
- Cécile is actually a stupid and terrible person. Check out my Goodreads updates for this book, if you get a chance. You'll see that I struggled with her from start to finish of this book. I also hated her in Hidden Huntress - weird how I was just fine with her in Stolen Songbird. She wasn't that bad, at the time.
I have so many problems with our heroine. The author writes her in a way that she wants to seem independent and tough and bad*ss, but it seems so forced. Cécile is constantly coming up with her own (dumb) plans, and she's constantly ignoring voices of reason (i.e. smarter people than her). Where does it lead her? Well, in one instance, a whoooole bunch of people die. In another instance, she endangers Tristan. In another, she selfishly decides to do XYZ and her human family is left wondering if she is even alive. Cécile placates her own self by saying that she is "going to save everyone" and she "wants to be doing stuff", basically she wants to be a bad*ss, but she is a danger to herself and everyone else.
What makes me even MORE angry is that she's so self-righteous with it! Like she's actually saving th world - her, the human, against powerful trolls, fae, and magic she doesn't understand. Cécile is seventeen and a HUMAN. I think the author forgets this part A LOT. There is no logical way (logical within this fantasy realm) that Cécile is SO much more powerful than everyone else (or has the ability to seem really powerful) - even with her ability to make potions (or whatever "witch" qualities the author gave her). I don't understand! It makes no sense! In any case, Cécile thinks she's God, and better than everyone else. So frustrating!
AND THEN she blames everything on everyone else. Actually, let me back up. We go from bouts of self-pity and martyrdom (woe is me, I've lead to the death of these people - honey, yes you did), to omg Tristan THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT. Um... girl. You killed Anushka. You lead to a bunch of humans dying when YOUR plan failed. Not Tristan's. Not anyone else's. You want to come up with DUMB, immature plans to "help"? Face the consequences.
- Tristan and Cécile seemed to have no relationship. How in the world did I ever fall for these two?! There was no love between them. They were hardly together in this book, and when they were, it seemed like Cécile was mad at Tristan (for nothing that was his fault), or blaming him (same story), or defying him just so she could seem bad*ss. There was one "swoony" (read: not swoony) scene - that's the scene that the author tweeted about, as "racy". Oh please. It was all of three sentences long and it was not racy (or swoony) at all. It seemed rushed and not articulated well. Also, it was one of those scenes where the two characters were like, well, we might die so... let's have sex!
I didn't feel their love. Tristan clearly cared very much for Cécile, but Cécile... I don't know what to say about her. She's selfish (but acts like she's a martyr), and I am not convinced of her feelings for Tristan. She never seemed grounded in anything except getting into the worst possible situations, making everything infinitely worse, blaming literally everyone (all the while throwing the nastiest pity parties), and trying to act like she was some kind of bad*ss female protagonist (this felt fake and forced and NO).
- Parts of the ending felt like a cop-out. Ever heard of deus ex machina? Well.
- To be honest, I'm not even sure how the ending worked. I really don't understand how some things just magically... stopped. Or how a human girl (child, I should say) was able to do certain... things. It makes no logical sense. And I'm not quite sure why and how things just... stopped.
- I've barely scratched the surface on the ending - it was HORRIBLE (and not a HEA). Hands-down the worst part of this book was the very very end, after all was said and done in terms of the war and Roland and blah blah blah. POSSIBLE SPOILER: if you like HEAs, don't read this series. The ending gutted me. I was already having so much trouble with the book - the series - and then the ending happened. It was not good. It was not happy. The last couple of sentences were an author's cop-out to have some semblance of a "happy ending", but the ending was NOT happy.
Don't get me wrong, not every book or series needs to have a happy ending. But I personally like them, and I will sure as h*ll take away stars if the ending of a book (ESPECIALLY a conclusion novel) isn't a happy one, and for cruel reasons too. That being sad, you (whoever is reading this review) might think the ending is lovely and beautiful and perfect! Not me.
Maybe I was too invested - I really wanted the ending to redeem the series for me. It was cruel, one of the cruelest endings. And the sad thing? I'm saying it's cruel but the ending is NOT what you think. Trust me, it's worse. Authors, take note: please don't end your trilogies like this.
I am so disappointed in this book. And the series, to be honest. I loved Stolen Songbird. I had issues with Hidden Huntress, and most of those issues were with Cécile. I'm incredibly disappointed that so many of those Cécile issues that I had in book two carried over into this book. And I am so emotionally gutted from the ending of this book. This book could have gotten a decent rating with the Cécile issues if the ending hadn't been so... brutal.
Would I Recommend It:
Even with all of that being said, I would never discourage someone who had read Stolen Songbird (and possibly Hidden Huntress as well) from continuing the series (unless you really trust me/my opinion, in which I'm flattered!). But if you have not started this series... maybe ask for spoilers before you do. Or, you know, just don't. Don't start the series. Don't put yourself through this misery. I literally cannot remember the last time I hated a series so much (especially after LOVING the first book! It was so incredibly amazing!). There are better fantasy series out there! Try Jodi Meadows' The Orphan Queen/The Mirror King, or Sherry Thomas' Elemental trilogy, or Robin LaFevers' His Fair Assassins trilogy.
1 star -> but I would give it 0 stars if I could. Overall series rating: 2 stars (the first book was really good). I seriously wish I had never started this series though. I think I need therapy. Or maybe several extremely sexy/swoony adult romance novels with low drama and a guaranteed HEAs? Anything to help me recover. I just want to forget I ever started this series!
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