Author: S. Jae-Jones
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Imprint: Thomas Dunne
Date published: February 7, 2017
Page Count: 310
A digital copy of the book was kindly provided by the publisher through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.
Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
After finishing this book, I had to take a few days to actually process what I had read and how I felt about it all, and this was not entirely due to the fact that I was very sick at the time. I will address all of the reasons behind this in the paragraphs below.
I would first like to point out that the writing was quite beautiful, and that although I am not musically educated, I was able to enjoy all of the musical theory and terminology used in this book. If someone had described this book in such a way to me, however, I am not sure whether I would have picked it up, because I would feel intimidated, and as if I would be unable to understand the book due to never having studied musical theory.
Jae-Jones integrated this musical terminology and theory in such a way that I found it enjoyable, and if anything, it made me wish that I had studied maybe just a little bit of music theory while in school, and also that I had a soundtrack to go along with this book!
The novel overall, was a magical experience, and I really loved the world which I was thrust into while reading Wintersong, the beautiful aspects as well as the horrific ones. Whenever it comes to books about the Fae, or goblins, or such things, I find that both sides (good and evil, beautiful and ugly) should be explored equally, and Jae-Jones did just that.
Wintersong‘s characters felt very real (the humans acting as one would expect them to, and the non-humans as one would expect non-humans to act). They also varied in the manner in which they made their choices, depending on whether they were more emotional, or rational characters. The relationships between characters was also believable; Liesl’s relationship with each of her family members varied, which I found great, and her relationship with the Goblin King also felt very much based on reality, despite the otherworldly setting in which their interactions played out.
Liesl and the Goblin King’s relationship did not feel forced, and was realistic in that there were ups and downs, as well as mixed feelings. Their chemistry was nearly tangible from the first moment they interact in the book. Some of the more heated scenes, however, felt a little cut short, and after finishing the book, I found out that this was due to the fact that Wintersong was initially meant to be an adult novel, containing quite a bit of sexual content. Although, while this explained why those scenes felt a off, it did not fix the scenes themselves, and I feel as if maybe they should have been more revised.
Lastly, without writing any spoilers, I would just like to say that this book did not end as I had expected, and that it left with a mix of feelings which I feel are now (days later, still unresolved). Perhaps if the book had been allowed to remain an adult novel, I would not have been as surprised by the ending as I was, and that my feelings toward Wintersong would have been more straightforward.
I would recommend this book for those looking for a darker fantasy read, and those who enjoy a dash of horror in a book which is a mix of both fairytale, and historical.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. Jae-Jones (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the author of WINTERSONG (Thomas Dunne 2017). When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.
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