We’re so excited to be on the blog tour for Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones today!! I was so excited when I read the summary of this book and couldn’t wait to read it!Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Published by Macmillan on February 7th 2017
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, General, Historical, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
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.
When I picked this book up, I had already heard some pretty amazing things about it, so I had high hopes!
I have to admit that I have incredibly mixed feelings about this book right now, even days after finishing it.
Elizabeth… or Liesl as her friends and family call her has always been the plain one in the family… the responsible one taking care of her younger brother and sister and putting her hopes and dreams to the side to make sure they are happy. Kathe is everything she is not… beautiful and curvy and fun and her brother Josef is a musical genius and his talent lies in the violin. Liesl herself is an accomplished composer but only Josef knows… and the Goblin King.
Everyone has heard the tales of The Goblin King. He’s the Lord of Mischief and Ruler of the Underground and as Liesl quickly realizes, he’s also the boy she played with in the woods near her home when she was younger. When Kathe is taken by the Goblin King to the Underground, Liesl will do anything for her freedom… even sacrifice herself. There is a reason that the Goblin King has been trying to get Liesl to agree to marrying him, and there is a price to Liesl if she says yes.
Like I said, my feelings were really mixed about this… on the one hand, I really loved the story-telling. The writing is just gorgeous and the magical and fantastical aspects were really interesting but not so complex that they were hard to follow. There are goblins and changelings and deal-making and magic throughout and I was so intrigued by all of it.
I think where my mixed feelings come for this is with the pacing of the story, and the retelling itself. It’s my understanding that the bones of this story come from Labyrinth, which I have never seen, so I didn’t have that to use as any kind of guide to what was coming but you could tell that it was a retelling because there were elements from other stories as well. I felt that the beginning had a bit of a slow start so struggled to really immerse myself, and then suddenly a ton of things were happening and it was kind of hard to keep up with all the twists.
I was also kind of meh about the romance here. Jae-Jones does a great job building the tension between these two but it sort of just kind of fizzled for me when they were finally together. We had this great build-up for them, but then it just did nothing for me. I wanted more passion, and less of the miscommunication and arguing that seemed to be what we got most of. There are a couple somewhat sexy scenes in this one though that definitely place this read in the upper YA age range, but I wasn’t as convinced that there was this amazing connection between them. I also feel like we didn’t really get to know much about The Goblin King. I never felt like we heard much about his story and his history and why he was so sure that Liesl had to be his wife.
Which brings me to the end of this book… this so did not work for me. I felt like once Liesl was down in the Underground, they are just sort of living life and composing music and eating dinner together and blah blah blah… I just didn’t get the point… what part of the story was I supposed to be invested in here, and then suddenly, Liesl has to make a decision that will change everything and then the story is done. And when it was done, my immediate reaction was … THIS IS IT? Where is the rest of the story? Why does this feel unfinished? Is there a sequel and when is it coming?
So yes, overall, I wanted to love this more than I did… but there were parts that were just wonderfully done and if you’re on the fence about picking it up, I suggest giving it a try. With beautiful writing and fantastic world-building I’m excited about the closure that I hope book 2 will give me!
2/15: Pandora’s Books – Review
2/23: Fiction Fare – Review
3 Finished Copies of WINTERSONG (US Only)