Hidden Huntress is the second book in the Malediction trilogy, picking up where Stolen Songbird left off. Cécile is now free of Trollus and returned to Trianon. What she is not free of, however, is the compulsion to find a way to free the trolls from under the mountain. For this she must find the witch Anoushka who has been in hiding for centuries and could be anywhere. Now living with her mother and working at the opera house, Cecile is dedicating every second of her spare time to finding the witch and understanding her own budding powers as a witch. Her friends are few both on stage and when the curtain has fallen: her childhood friend Sabine argues against her attachment to Tristan and warns her of the danger of finding a way to free the Trolls from under the mountain. After all, she argues, they must have been locked there for a reason. But Cecile can only fight the compulsion so much and the will of King Thibault is strong and tugs at her forcing her to carry on looking, barely eating or sleeping or existing in between rehearsal and performance.
Meanwhile, in Trollus, Tristan is having to face the consequences of the botched rebellion against his father: Anais is dead, the twins separated and in the mines, Marc more distant than ever and he has lost the trust of many of the half-bloods. Not only that but he can hardly use his magic bound in iron as he is. Worst of all, he can sense Cecile’s distress as she tries desperately to find a way to free his people, something that Tristan does not want to see happen for he fears what his kin is capable of and how much destruction his brother would wreck on the humans. Still he tries to help his people from within, still trying to convince his father to let him build the stone tree to hold the mountain up above them instead of the magic that has done it so far. But he has much to make up for before his old allies will trust him again and see in him the potential King they once saw.
Unlike the first book, Hidden Huntress offers two POVs, Cecile and Tristan, alternating in between Trollus and Trianon. It offers a whole new perspective to the story and Jensen does a very good job of using the bond that links the two to still intertwine their story lines. Their love and depth of interaction are not diminished for their separation and we feel for them at every step of the story, wanting, much as they do, to see them reunited one way or another.
Hidden Huntress is everything I wanted, probably even more. It’s everything that it needed to be to become a worthy successor of Stolen Songbird. Cecile is everything I wanted her to be: strong and brave, yet still just as kind and sensitive as she was in the first book. She is devoured by the need to find Anoushka and she is also coming to terms with the fact that she, too, is a witch. Her powers draw her into a downward spiral where she has to make the kinds of choices she didn’t want to: but for her who is so desperate to unearth the truth, power is alluring and calls to her in ways it never had before. Tristan is at a turning point in his life: will he rise from the ashes of the fallen rebellion, or will he bend under the will of his father? He needs to find his strength inwards, come to terms with decisions he has made regarding the rebellion and prior to that. He has to become the leader that his friends have always known he could be. But separated from Cecile his heart aches, and his own word given to the half -bloods is threatening to send him over the edge into exhaustion and maybe death.
Jensen’s writing is as magical as in Stolen Songbird and she paints a vivid image of the opera world that Cecile moves in, with its stages, costumes, and colourful characters. Similarly, returning to Trollus is always a pleasure, with its beautiful palaces and strangeness. It’s one of those books that will keep you turning page after page as the story unfolds and you crave to find out what comes next. It’s a tale of love and adventure, of betrayal and strength. It’s a story that will change the world, no matter how it ends.