Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Rating: 3.5 stars!
Well, it seems like we have a pattern, don’t we? I know, I’ve recently bombarded my TBR list with lots and lots of retellings and reimaginings. Blame it on A Court of Thorns and Roses, which was the start of my downward spiral (see my review here, if you wanna). Anyway. Wintersong by S.Jae-Jones is a novel inspired by Labyrinth wherein Liesl, an innkeeper’s daughter, ventures deep into the Underground to seek the Goblin King who stole her sister away. Although I’ve never seen Labyrinth, the spirited-away/Hades-Persephone concept intrigued me so much that I wasted no time in getting my hands on this book.
Gotta be honest, there were a lot of good parts and some not-so good ones.
First off, I love how the author set the mood of the story: seemingly idyll, with creepy undertones just lurking beneath the surface. I’m a big fan of fairy tales set in little European towns, of village squares and dark forests. It’s the setting that first won my heart in the first place and it was actually enough for me to keep reading. I love the lore behind the story— of the Goblin King and his little minions coming to whisk unsuspecting girls away during the long days of winter. I found Liesl quite endearing, too. I know a lot of people didn’t like her for being too whiny, but I think whiny beats Mary Sue any day. As the eldest of three, she had to grow up faster than her siblings and I get that. I love how she struggled with her complex relationships within her family, especially with her siblings. She’s protective of her brother, but she’s pretty envious of her sister, Kathe.
Liesl’s life changes when Kathe is spirited away to become the Goblin King’s bride. The Goblin King and his history were interesting. Again, I really loved the lore and mystery behind it. But somewhere along the way, I simply got…tired. Like the labyrinth, the story seemed to go around in circles somewhere towards the latter part of the book and it just wore me out. Which was a shame, because there were parts that I really, really liked. I thought there were a lot of loose ends that weren’t answered and some repetitive scenes that I couldn’t see the purpose of. I guess we’ll get that in the 2nd book. I just really wish it didn’t lose steam towards the end because it was a promising book and there were parts that I truly enjoyed. It was an exciting beginning; I just hoped the ending was just as engaging, too.
That’s 3.5 stars for me.
Have you read Wintersong? What did you think?
If you don’t have a copy yet, you can order one here. 🙂