Weekend Reads #94 – Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Posted July 29, 2017 by Lillian in Reviews / 0 Comments

Happy Saturday y’all! As you know, I took several weeks off this Spring, but that didn’t mean I quit reading. In fact, today’s review is a book that I read back in February and wrote most of the review prior to all the drama going down. So I’m finally coming back to it. Wintersong was one of my most anticipated reads for 2017, but it didn’t pan out as I wanted it too. Has that ever happened with you?

I received this book via Netgalley, My Book Shelf. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Weekend Reads #94 – Wintersong by S. Jae-JonesWintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne on 2017-02-07
Length: 448 pages
Reviewing eARC, Audiobook from Netgalley, My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 New Release Challenge, Audiobook Challenge 2017, COYER Blackout

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.

Where do I begin? Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones was my most anticipated debut of 2017 and unfortunately it did not live up to the hype in my head. A story inspired by a childhood favorite of mine — Labyrinth — I was just expecting more: more fantasy, more romance, more intrigue and suspense. Don’t get me wrong though this book could really be labeled as a romance and nothing more.

Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood…

Liesl, or Elisabeth, is a young woman who takes a journey of discovery in this book. Somewhere between her childhood and now, she’s lost herself, her passion for music, and her own joy. Instead she pours it all into her baby brother, a child prodigy. She gives of herself over and over again to her family, even her baby sister has been engaged to the boy she thought she loved and would be hers. The older, ugly sister always passed up for her beautiful sister and talented brother. Do you see the self-pity in those words?! This character is a shadow in the beginning and I loved seeing her progression throughout the story.

The Goblin King was once a friend, a playmate of Liesl as a child. But now he is all grown up and come to claim his bride. As love interests goes, I was unimpressed with the Goblin King. He was mysterious and stand-offish, then he would be overbearing and seductive. He was a contradiction that I’m still trying to grasp. But he did not frighten me, even when I thought he should have frightened Liesl. She was his Elisabeth (say that in a German accent and swoon a little please ?).

The book itself could really be split into two sections: the first a maze Underground while Liesl tries to save her sister, the second Liesl’s marriage to the Goblin King. During the first part, I was most reminded of Labyrinth. Liesl is a girl who is trying to save her sister. She’s terrified of the goblins and changelings that inhabit the Underground, but she puts that terror aside to rescue her family. The second part is a romance plain and simple. The Goblin King tries to trap Liesl into staying, he keeps her when she doesn’t want to stay and she slowly withers. I think my biggest issue with this story is the fact that it is labeled young adult. There is nothing young adult about the second part of this book. It had me, a thirty year old, blushing while reading. That’s just wrong on so many levels.

Overall the story was just okay for me. I was both impressed and disappointed in the Goblin King’s world. I did like the tie in to historical fact about the time period, I liked Liesl, and the writing itself is beautiful, prose-like in its quality. However the romantic scenes were a bit much in my opinion for a young adult book. I know I wouldn’t let my teen read it, not until they were at least 17, maybe not even then. So that friends was a let down. If you enjoy fairy tale retellings, historical fiction, and a bit of mystery, you may enjoy this book. It just didn’t work for me.

About S. Jae-Jones

S. Jae-Jones (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the author of Wintersong. (Thomas Dunne, 2016). Before moving to grits country, she was YA fiction editor in New York City. A southern California native, she now lives in North Carolina with her doctor Bear and a stuffed baby harp seal named White-Harp. To learn more about her adventures, please visit her website or come chat with her on Twitter.


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