Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Dunne for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: February 7th, 2016
Synopsis: 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 childhood fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.
But when her sister Kathe 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 Kathe 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 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 is one of my favorite movies, so when I read the synopsis and realized that Wintersong is based on it, I was so excited. While there were parts of it I liked though, there were other things I was disappointed in. Let’s start with Liesl. I liked how she wasn’t your stereotypical beauty, but her “plainness” was brought up much too often. I also didn’t understand the attraction she felt for the Goblin King, even as he was holding her sister captive. I did like the relationships she had with her sister, Kathe, and her brother Josef though. They were complicated and very believable. As for the Goblin King, well, apart from being handsome and having a mysterious obsession for Liesl, I never felt like I actually got to know him. I thought the romance between Liesl and him never grew past the awkward stage, and I never truly became emotionally invested in them as a couple. While I quickly breezed through the first half of the story, I found the pace slowed considerably after that. The world-building however was exquisitely detailed and I loved how the author made music such a big part of it. The ending was bittersweet, yet perfectly capped what was also a bittersweet story. While Wintersong didn’t quite live up to the hype for me, S. Jae-Jones has a lyrical way of writing and I’ll definitely be looking out for her next book. Because of some fairly steamy sexual scenes, I’d recommend this for older teens and adults.