Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones #BookReview

Title: Wintersong
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: February 7th 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Romance

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

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.

Labyrinth and Legend(young Tom Cruise & unicorns) were two movies on my watch 500 times list as a kid. I’ve always loved that eerie, fantastical feeling those movies captured and likely when Bowie passed away I saw Labyrinth in the theater so it’s fresh in my mind.

Wintersong definitely captures so many things that I loved about Labyrinth itself. There were even parts in the book that reminded of particular scenes….

The peach

The Ball

The Chase

Even though I saw the similarities, I also felt like this story stood on it’s own. I loved the writing, it felt very lyrical. Being that so much of the story is rooted in music, it makes sense. Also the story continues on after the rescue. I started to see more stories interwoven in like Hades and Persephone or Beauty and the Beast. It really felt like it was multiple stories in one book even though they flowed into one another. The book felt rich, vivid and imaginative.

I loved the music tie-in. It really gave the story it’s uniqueness as the characters experience their emotions through their songs. I liked how it was the key to so many things.

Liesl is the daughter of a musician but often overlooked as she takes on the role of protective older sister. She has Josef, her brother who she considers the other half of her musical soul and who she has rested her hopes on that she herself has given up. Kathe, her younger sister, the beauty she wishes she had. She wants to make sure she marries well and again gives up the love she wishes she had so her sister can take it. So when Kathe is taken to the underground, it’s no question that Liesl will follow to save her. I really enjoyed her character the first two parts of the book but when it came to the third. I often found myself frustrated with her. She just kept tearing herself apart and taking everything that the Goblin King did as a negative. I understand that she is lost and trying to find her way in this new existence of putting herself first but sometimes I wanted to shake her and just be like. Play your music! The second part of the story is probably where she experiences the most growth.

I loved the Goblin King. I wanted to your name Jareth? He was mysterious, clever and everything you would want from a Goblin King. It’s interesting to see Elisabeth peel back his layers to find what is actually underneath. As more and more of his lore comes to light you really see what he was before.

I really loved the story and even the bittersweet end, that felt like it was the only direction the story could go. Although Elisabeth mentions something that gives me hope. Her song is not finished.

S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the author of Wintersong, forthcoming from Thomas Dunne in February 2017.

Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for ten years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.

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