Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Publication date: February 7, 2017
Source/format: e-ARC from publisher
Synopsis (from goodreads.com):
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.
M Y T H O U G H T S
Nineteen-year-old Elisabeth (Liesl) Vogler has always been the protector of her younger siblings Käthe and Josef. She helps out her parents in a Bavarian Inn. Although she is the oldest, Käthe is prettier. Liesl creates music with her brother but because she is a girl, it is frowned down upon. During an audition, Käthe is kidnapped.
Liesl plays by the Lord of Mischief's rules and tries to save Käthe but the The Goblin King makes it quite difficult. Through a labyrinth of rounds, Liesl tries to outsmart The Goblin King but finds out it's a lose-lose situation. In an exchange for Käthe's freedom and to save the world from eternal winter, Liesl makes the sacrifice to take Käthe's place. A life for a life. A hand in marriage. However, that's not the only thing Liesl sacrificed.
Liesl puts her family before her. Her sacrifice is for the greater good. Unlike her sister who is fickle and a dreamer, Liesl is quick thinking, determined and is selfless. The Goblin King is very mysterious. Although he cares fondly about Liesl, he doesn't play by any rules. He doesn't make any promises because after all he is the Lord of Mischief. He is a very interesting and complex character and I would love to know more about his backstory. Twig and Thistle are quite the pairing. Both are attendants of Liesl when she is in the Underworld. They are blunt but they mean well. However, you can never fully trust goblins.
Wintersong is a dark yet lyrical fantasy novel. It's beautifully written. S. Jae-Jones writes a novel showcasing the power of love, music, the soul and freewill. You can hear the transcendent music resonate throughout the novel. S. Jae-Jones does a fantastic job creating a world which reminds me a little a bit of the The Labyrinth, "Little Red Riding Hood" and the Greek myth about Persephone. German folklore of the "Der Erlkönig" is also woven into this novel. I can even hear "Mein Herr" from Cabaret.
Wintersong teeters on the cusp of being Young Adult and New Adult. I would suggest teens 16 years and older to pick up this novel due to the sexual content in this book. I found that Liesl lusted after The Goblin King throughout the book which I fond very awkward and slightly disturbing. She pines for him all the time and cannot refrain herself. The pacing of the novel slowed down toward the second half of the book.
Wintersong is exquisite in every sense and it's definitely a book to read slowly and savor. If you're looking for a quick read, you might want to skip this one. If you're a reader who loves gorgeously written prose, this is a book for you! I highly suggest this novel to those who are entranced by Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Caraval and The Star-Touched Queen.
For a magical experience, listen to the Edward Scissorhands soundtrack when reading Wintersong. It will give you goosebumps!