However, I had already said goodbye to my favorite characters last year, when the trilogy came to an end with Warrior Witch. I had no idea that a year from then, I would come back to its world one more time, back to where it all started ... back to Trollus.
And readers, it was perfect.
The Broken Ones is the prequel novel to the epic The Malediction Trilogy. It takes place only a couple of years before the events of Stolen Songbird and this time, it tells the ill-fated love story between Marc and Pénélope. I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced at seeing my favorite characters come back to life once more, back to the time where they had not been touched by the true hardships of a brutal war between trolls, half-trolls, and humans. But from all the delightful things that came from being back in Trollus, what I absolutely loved the most was getting to meet Pénélope for the first time.
If you have read The Malediction Trilogy (something I highly suggest you do for this book contains minor spoilers from the trilogy), you would know that Pénélope is Marc's dead wife, and one of the character's beloved sister. We don't get to meet her in the trilogy, but we do learn from Marc that she was a gentle troll who had the misfortune of being born with an affliction in her blood. She had weak magic and even the tiniest wound was fatal to her, but her heart and will to outlive her sealed fate was admirable, enough to leave a lasting impression. However, I did not truly get how important she was to the cause, to the revolution the Troll prince, Tristan de Montigny, was leading against the monarchy of Trollus. She's a quiet force that made a huge difference in the events that follow in the trilogy. A true heroine, and one we finally get to appreciate in all its glory in this novel.
I highly enjoyed being in Pénélope's point of view and getting to know her in such a deep level, but being able to read this book in Marc's POV as well was terrific. This is a character I was already in love with, but there had always been a wall between him and us readers ... until now. I get him, I truly get him now. Things I questioned about him at the end of the trilogy are finally clear and my heart weeps for him. For him AND Pénélope. Such a tragic romance! Such cruel fate! I am deeply sorry for their suffering, but I'm also glad to have witnessed their love story.
The Broken Ones is a heartbreaking read, one that fans of the trilogy know can only end with gut-wrenching pain, but it is certainly well worth the tears. Despite knowing how it would all end, I was pleasantly surprised for how much there was still left to explore about the hidden city of Trollus and its dangerous politics. This is the chance to meet the antagonists before they set things into motion, to see beyond the veil and discover their true intentions before they catch the characters off guard in The Malediction Trilogy. It's our chance to read more about my beloved Prince Tristan, Anaïs, the twins Vincent&Victoria, and even meet new characters. One last chance to walk the streets of the beautiful city of Trollus and appreciate everything that we come to love in Stolen Songbird. This novel is now incredibly precious to me, and one I will cherish forever.
Gorgeously written and incredibly bittersweet, The Broken Ones is the perfect prequel I didn't know my heart needed. Danielle L. Jensen expertly comes back to the beginning, and she certainly doesn't miss a beat.