I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Macmillan on February 7th 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fairy Tales & Folklore, General, Fantasy, Dark Fantasy, Romance, Historical
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“Wintersong is a maze of beauty and darkness, of music and magic and glittering things, all tied together with exquisite writing. This is a world you will want to stay lost in.” —Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author
The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride...
All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.
But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.
Dark, romantic, and powerful, S. Jae-Jones's Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones is exactly the sort of book you want to read on a deep, dark winter night while snow is falling steadily. Once I saw the cover and read the summary for this book, I could not resist reading it. I opened it up on my Kindle and as expected, the pages just kept turning and turning themselves until I had finished the book. Wintersong is quite a gorgeous read, and if you’re a fan of imagery I think you’re going to love it.
S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong follows main character Liesl, a young woman who composes music and loves her family so deeply. Liesl opens the book hanging out in this part of the forest near her home called the Goblin Grove. There, she has promised a boy who is a little bit odd that she will marry him someday. The two play all the time and so, she thinks it is just a game.
Flash forward and Liesl and her family who own an inn are all aflutter. Dad’s friend is this famous musician and he’s come to audition Liesl’s little brother, Josef for an apprenticeship. This could pull their family out of poverty. Meanwhile, Liesl’s sister is about to marry Liesl’s crush, Hans. But then, her sister disappears and is pulled into the world of the Goblin King aka that boy that Liesl promised to marry. And so, it’s up to Liesl to save her sister and sacrifice herself instead.
Liesl makes an admirable protagonist for Wintersong. I mean, she’s not portrayed as a great beauty like her sister. However, she’s got value. She cares more for her family than herself. She loves her sister and brother with all her heart and will do whatever it takes to ensure their safety and happiness. Outside the realm of her family, Liesl has a gift for composition. So, of course this is an overture that we see again and again threaded throughout the story. Her music skills do come into play and have a good reason for being a part of Liesl’s character. I’ll leave it at that.
As for the romantic lead, the Goblin King is not really a whole lot like the Goblin King in Labyrinth, Jareth. He’s a bit more serious. He’s also not the first to take on the role of Goblin King. In fact, you might see him as a bit of a doomed character. Alas, it is up to Liesl to figure out just what his origin story is, while also falling in love with him. Meanwhile, she’s also trying desperately to figure out if there’s any way for her to live and reunite with her family.
Probably the single element besides the music that I liked best about Wintersong was the portrayal of family. Sure, Liesl’s family isn’t perfect. Her dad is an alcoholic. Her mom is, well, she tries, but she’s so practical. Liesl’s grandmother, Constanze gets the whole Goblin thing and tries to protect the family but because she’s old, the family ignores her. The bond between Liesl, Josef and their sister (I am blanking on her name, I think it’s Katya or something, ahhh) is strong. I mean, Liesl is the glue. So, when she disappears into the Goblin Grove and into the Goblin world, it makes sense that her siblings are trying their hardest to hang onto their memories of her and hopefully to save her as she has saved them over and over and over. I truly loved reading this bond.
I loved that the setting in this book was Austria while Mozart was around. Also, I am so so bad on years, but it’s not a time I often get to read about when reading historical fantasy. I loved that this world allows for the existence of people of color as well as gay people. The strong role of music within this book is also not something to be discounted, especially if you enjoy reading books with music as a main theme. I also really enjoyed the doomed feeling of the romance. I think if you’re looking for a darker sort of romance where it doesn’t wrap up so neatly, you’ll be into Wintersong.
Other reviews of Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones:
- Lili’s Reflections – “I enjoyed it immensely.“
- Book Reviews By Di – “a beautifully written book“
- Beauty And The Bookshelf – “I felt disappointment“