Book Review

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

wintersong-by-s-jae-jonesRating: 3/5 owl hoots

Published: February 7 2017

Number of pages: 448

Format: advanced reading copy

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Genre: folklore, fairy tale, dark fantasy, romance

Audience: younger adult

Get it first at: Chapters Indigo

Shelve it at: Goodreads


Nineteen year old Liesl grew up hearing stories about the Goblin King, the Lord of Mischief and Ruler of the Underground. He is also the muse behind her mysterious composition. But when Liesl is burdened with the responsibilities of looking after her family, she must abandon her music and her fantasies for more practical concerns.

Then her dear sister, Kathe is kidnapped by the goblins, and Liesl must venture into the woods to rescue her. Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers a shocking realization: the Goblin King still inspires her musically, physically, and emotionally. Yet when her talent blossoms, Liesl must make an impossible choice after she decides which to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world above.

My Review:

I was provided an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Editing and copying my review is absolutely not permitted.

I was given an ARC at a book preview and one blogger highly recommended this as one of the most anticipated new release that she enjoyed. Last year it was all the buzz on social media and I missed out on all the hype and excitement as people were tweeting and posting about Wintersong. I wasn’t sure how or if I was going to enjoy this as my excitement for fantasy YA (and YA in general) has made a downturn in my life. My reading taste has changed or maybe I’ve outgrown YA, but this book didn’t disappoint me. She was right by saying that it’s a really good story rooted in folklore with music, magic, beauty and darkness, and a passionate romance between goblin and girl; an unlikely pair that turned out better than I thought. Who has heard of a normal girl falling in love with a creepy, long eared, pointed chin goblin? After reading about the Goblin King I was surprised to learn how human he was that in the end he turned out to be an alright guy.

The writing was exquisite, it sounded so poetic and beautiful like music. Just check out these quotes:

The kiss is sweeter than sin and fiercer than temptation. I am not gentle, I am not kind; I am rough and wild and savage.  

“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.” 

That last one was quoted by the Goblin King described as a “tall, elegant stranger” in our world, and a trickster with musical talents in the Underground. He’s seductive, mischievous, but not evil. He is harsh but not cruel last of all to Liesl the heroine of our story. A daughter of an impoverished family taking care of her brother and sister, and always putting her responsibilities first and composing music second. She is described as plain, ordinary, and is often compared to her younger sister Kathe who is beautiful, voluptuous, with sunshine hair and pouty lips. But what Liesl lacks she makes up for with music, a talent she has to hide for her brother Josef to shine through if he wants to start a career as a concert violinist.

It broke my heart to see how much Liesl had to sacrifice to put her family first, but I admire her ferocity, her wildness and bravery of breaking down walls to save her sister from the Underground while challenging all obstacles when face to face with the Goblin King. But his challenges help Liesl grow up from a peasant girl to a new woman who gave her entire to the Goblin King; his sympathy, charm, and demeanor makes him almost humane.

I am the rhythm, he is the melody. I provide the basso continuo, he the improvisation.

This is the best quote to describe their relationship filled with passion, beauty and darkness that comes out of it is a musical composition. I’m not into romances but reading about their wild love affair were the best bits of the story. I was worried that this was going to end as one of those happily ever after’s, but instead it ended bittersweet with their love immortalized as an unfinished sonata. There were also a few surprises we learn about Josef and pieces to the Goblin King’s story; I was a little disappointed that we didn’t learn how he came to be in the Underground. I liked how it began with the sister’s Liesl and Kathe together and their understanding of each other slowly developed; stories on sisterhood always get my attention which is why I’m giving this an extra star. If you love music, magic, and sisters and goblins with a story layered with elements playing with light and dark, life and death, beauty and darkness, then I suggest you give this one a try.


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