Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
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.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Series: Wintersong #1
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Page Count: 436
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
Cover Artist: Anna Gorovoy
My Rating: ★★★★★
I was not a child of beauty; I was a child of the queer, the strange, and the wild.
Wintersong is not a story that everyone will appreciate. I say that because of the style in which it is written. Its prose are beautifully artistic, but may not resonate with every reader because of the depth of conversation to which it addresses. Instead of a story being handed to the reader on a silver platter–no questions to ask, no thoughts or feelings to decipher, no reflection to behold–it is a story which challenges innermost thoughts with notes, images, feelings–not words. And I loved it.
If there is one word to describe this book, it would be raw. Raw experiences. Raw emotions. Rawness on all accounts.
It hurt. Hearing my music like this, played in the hands of someone who understood me so completely—in a way, not even my brother had known—hurt. My music was elegant, transcendent, ethereal, and I could not bear to behold its beauty. I longed to pull it back beneath my skin, to hide it away in the shadows where it properly belonged, safe where no one could judge it for its flaws.
It has been a while since I have read a character with such developed inner-monologue and outer-dialogue. We travel through the labyrinth of thoughts, wishes, hopes, and dreams Liesl embodies. We see her make difficult decisions, for selfish and selfless purposes. We see her transform from the unremarkable and “plain” girl Leisl, into the woman Elisabeth. We see her understand what it means to sacrifice for another.
I do solemnly swear that I accept your sacrifice, the gift of your life, selflessly and selfishly given.
Leisl, (and Elisabeth’s) relationship with the Goblin King is tumultuous, bewitching, and real; besides the fact that he’s a Goblin King…It glimpses upon the passage from maiden to matronhood and the trials of what marital union call of a person. I love the dark alluring character and mystery of Der Erlkönig and the Goblin King, as they are two halves to a whole.
The Goblin King had his tricks, but I had my stubbornness. We would see who prevailed in the end.
Wintersong had a Phantom Of The Opera feel to it: an enticing and elusive man wants a girl for her music, not to mention her soul. Because of the dark undertones and mature nature of the story, I personally wouldn’t recommend this book for young adults, along with the fact that there are some descriptive sexual scenes. I tend to be more conservative, but I’d say this book is for eighteen and up.
My one and only issue with this book was that it was a bit drawn out in the middle. The book is almost divided into two separate stories, and once the second story took center stage, the pace began to lag. I understand why it was drawn out, because it takes a person time to sort out their feelings, to grow and to understand themselves and others at a deeper level. I think this aspect may turn some people away from the book. However, I found it to be all more realistic and relatable. I appreciated that Jae-Jones didn’t force her characters to miraculously change overnight, and allowed them to change naturally and upon their own accord.
Hands down, 5 stars. This may be a new favorite. I appreciated how much the reader could take away from this story, and it wasn’t strictly written for entertainment purposes. There is a heart behind its words, pulsing and humming with life and thought. I am highly anticipating it’s companion read, to be published in 2018.