Tag: Retellings

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Cover Reveal!

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Cover Reveal!

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Publisher: Parliament House Press Some see it… Some don’t… People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among […]

Book Review: Chasing Odysseus by S.D. Gentill

Book Review: Chasing Odysseus by S.D. Gentill

A thrilling adventure of ancient myth, monsters, sorcerers, sirens, magic and warring gods … the fall of Troy and a desperate chase across the seas in a magical ship… Synopsis provided by Goodreads. Book: Chasing Odysseus Series: Hero Trilogy #1 Author: S.D. Gentill Publication Date: […]

eARC Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

eARC Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Released today, February 6, 2018!

When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. 

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Shadowsong

Series: Wintersong #2
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Page Count: 368
Format: ebook
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Cover Artist: Anna Gorovoy
My Rating: ★★★★★

Shadowsong: A Novel (Wintersong)Shadowsong: A Novel by S. Jae-Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

1) Wintersong: ★★★★★

For anyone who has read (and loved…or disliked) Wintersong, be prepared, because this sequel is probably not what you are expecting. But trust me, if you allow yourself the opportunity, this book can sweep you away in a storm of folklore, complexity, and utter lyrical beauty all on its own.

Just as I had written in my review for Wintersong, the writing in Shadowsong has a way of making me feel raw. These characters, Liesl, Josef, Kathe, the Goblin King, are utterly stripped of their complexity and bared for the entire world to see their soul. The writing quality has surpassed my expectations in this series and made me appreciate Jae-Jones as an author immensely. What I appreciate most is the risk she took to also bare her own soul within these characters.

Madness is a strange word. It encompasses any sort of behavior or thought pattern that deviates from the norm, not just mental illness. I, like Liesl, am a functioning member of society, but our mental illnesses make us mad. They make us arrogant, moody, selfish, and reckless, They make us destructive, to both ourselves and to those we love. We are not easy to love, Liesl and I, and I did not want to face that ugly truth.

In the author note, she also noted that there is content such as: self-harm, addiction, reckless behavior, and suicide ideation. These traits are shared among several members of the cast.

How can I go on when I am haunted by ghosts? I feel him, Sepp. I feel the Goblin King when I play, when I work on the Wedding Night Sonata. The touch of his hand upon my hair. The press of his lips against my cheek. The sound of his voice, whispering my name. There is madness in our bloodline.

Despite this fact, I think this was a wonderful read. I was utterly surprised by the complexity of this duology. From what I gathered in Wintersong, I did not foresee the path in which this plot would traverse. Shadowsong is a mix of retellings between Goblin Market, the story of Hades and Persephone, and the Wild Hunt. Majority of the time, the plot walks a narrow path, dipping toes in both the fantastical and reality, obscuring which is which. I believe the way in which this book is written is figurative to Liesl’s experience as a character. Her constant battle between living in the “real world,” yet, being enticed by the underground and back to her beloved is palpable.

I who had grown up with my grandmother’s stories, I who had been the Goblin King’s bride and walked away knew better than anyone the consequences of crossing the old laws that governed life and death. What was real and what was false was as unreliable as memory, and I lived in the in-between spaces, between the pretty lie and the ugly truth. But I did not speak of it. Could not speak of it.

Liesl’s fears and deliberations are not without merit. She knows, along with those that still hold to the Old Laws, that there are consequences for each and every action. The Old Laws must be appeased. By thwarting them, the Wild Hunt occurs, seeking souls to balance the scales. As the threat draws nearer, Liesl grows more erratic in her deliberations, trying to protect her sister Kathe, repair her relationship with her brother Josef, and learn to live with herself and accept who she is. Acceptance proves to be a main theme throughout this story. Each character struggles with acceptance of a certain truth in their life, but instead, try to ignore it by

I was so focused on being Elisabeth, alone, I had not thought about what it meant to be Elisabeth, entire. And that meant embracing my past as well as uncertain future. I was so determined to not wallow in my misery that I made myself lonely; I pushed away memories and feelings and connections not only to the Goblin King, but myself. I had mourned, but I had not let myself grieve. I had not let myself feel. Don’t think. Feel.

While I wish there had been more appearances from the Goblin King himself, I’m glad there wasn’t. I think that after Liesl’s experience in the underground required this sort of backlash in her character. Her transformation from the Goblin Queen back to Liesl required addressing. No matter how “romantic” her experience in the underground may have been, (although, it was definitely twisted) Liesl experienced much that required more attention. It is in Shadowsong where Liesl truly becomes a woman and owns each part of herself–whole and broken. That is the beauty of this story–learning to accept that we all have attributes, experiences, memories, and influences that make and break our character. It’s how we deal with those points that define who we are. I couldn’t help but feel forced to look inward and evaluate parts of myself I wished to ignore while traversing these pages. It also forced me to consider others and observing these same qualities that makeup people around me.

“Who are you?” I whisper. He nods at me. You know who I am, Elisabeth. “You are the man with music in his soul,” I tell him. “You are the one who showed me a way to myself when I was lost in the woods. My teacher, my playmate, my friend.” I choke a little on the sobs rising from my throat. “You allowed me to forgive myself for being imperfect. For being a sinner. For being me.” If my brother is my grace, then the Goblin King is my mercy.

As I said in my review of Wintersong, this book may not resonate with everyone. In fact, I’m certain it won’t. It’s not the typical YA/NA fantasy for today’s era, and I’m so glad that it’s not. It has potential to truly challenge its reader and forces them to evaluate more than just a fun, light-hearted plot with a shallow romance. No, Shadowsong has a lot to offer.

Vulgarity: Minimal! I only counted 3 words!
Sexual Content: Unlike Wintersong, there is very little regarding this area in this book. While Liesl does think about her times with the Goblin King, she doesn’t go into explicit detail.
Violence: Moderate. Due to the nature and tone of this book, there are definitely some points (including the content warning listed by the author) that are not light topics for discussion. I still believe this is a New Adult Fantasy, and not quite appropriate for Young Adult readers.

View all my reviews

S. JAE-JONE (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog.

Books I Disliked But Love To Discuss!

Books I Disliked But Love To Discuss!

Andddd we’re back with another Top 5 Wednesday! And this one may be filled with a little bit of… Regret? Remorse? Ridicule? I guess we’ll find out… Let’s be honest here, folks, we’re all here to have a little fun and discuss some books! (What’s […]

eARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

eARC Review: The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Released today, December 5, 2017! Orphaned and cast out as a witch by her village, Vasya’s options are few: resign herself to life in a convent, or allow her older sister to make her a match with a Moscovite prince. Both doom her to life […]

Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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.

Book: Wintersong

Series: Wintersong #1

Author: S. Jae-Jones

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

Page Count: 436

Format: Hardcover

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Cover Artist: Anna Gorovoy

My Rating: ★★★★★

Wintersong (Wintersong, #1)Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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.

View all my reviews

eARC Review: Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead

eARC Review: Myths of Mish by Katie Hamstead

Release date May 28, 2017! Hansel and Gretel Herrscher survived the witch in the woods, but the experience has made Hansel paranoid for the past ten years. He sees dark magic at every turn. When Gretel has a marriage arranged to a much older man, […]

Book Review: Princess of Tyrone by Katie Hamstead

Book Review: Princess of Tyrone by Katie Hamstead

Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone. Partial synopsis provided by […]


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