A prequel to the USA Today bestseller and Goodreads Choice finalist Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy). 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.
The Broken Ones (The Malediction Trilogy #0.6)Featured
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.
There is a revolution underfoot (seems like maybe two), each one supporting one of the sons of the King who rules with an iron fist. They are both in the closet/not clearly out, as this would be treason. Penelope’s younger sister, Anais, was betrothed to the elder son, Tristan, and it is mentioned that this was broken but not why. Anais is still in love with Tristan, but his feelings towards her are less clear. Tristan’s right-hand man, who has been helping with the revolution, Marc is disfigured but powerful. Marc and Penelope have been secretly in love with the other for years- but their friendship has led both to disguise their feelings. Penelope, without powers, is doomed to live a short life. If she were to bond with anyone (a marriage-type ceremony controlled by the King), it is likely that they would die when she died (although not everyone does, most do die when their bonded does). Penelope’s father, the Duke, is behind the other planned revolution with Roland, the King’s young and mean son, which he controls.
Just after Penelope finally admits her feelings to Marc, her father wants to use them to his twisted ends, and forces her to get closer to Marc in order to root out his secrets/what he knows about the rebellion. Penelope doesn’t want to do it, but it seems to be the only thing keeping her father from ending her life. It’s a sad tale, as she is fighting stereotypes, her father, and her own feelings. The viewpoints alternate between Penelope and Marc. Overall, I really enjoyed the love story but wish I had more background to understand this alternate world- it certainly made me want to read the trilogy!
This is a well written book with a beautiful love story that will be a must for people who love the Malediction Trilogy. Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.