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.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, my first 5 star book of the year. For me it means a lot to rate a book 5 stars, because I rarely do. This book was incredible in so many ways. Most of the times I take of half a star or even a whole star when I don’t like things about a book like flat characters or a lack of world building, but there was not a single thing that I disliked about this book. This review is spoiler free, so you don’t have to be afraid if you haven’t read it yet!
Liesl, or Elisabeth, is the main character in our book. She is very plain, but an amazing composer who plays both the piano and violin. I could relate to Liesl in so many way. First is was the way that she experienced music. I play both the piano and the violin myself, so every time the way she feels music is explained it was almost like I was listening to is along with her. She loves music more than anything and it was nice to see a character like that.
The Goblin King was very mysterious to me, as he should be. I got a lot of A Court Of Mist And Fury vibes from this book, which is logical since both books are kind of Hades and Persephone retellings. First of all I felt like the Goblin King was this stone cold man who enjoyed seducing women to come down into the underground so he could play with them. Boy how wrong I was. I’m obviously not going to spoil the plot, but I have fallen deeply in love with this magical man.
Wintersong is supposedly both a Labyrinth retelling with some Hades and Persephone vibes. In ways it was, but even though it was inspired from these stories, it was still so unique. The whole ”girl goes into the labyrinth that is the underground this” has definitely been used before, but that’s not the only thing important in this story. There were mind games and glamours and incredible character development and magic and so much.
The only thing about the story/world that confused me a bit was what the Goblins looked like. When I hear the word Goblin, I think of this creepy and horribly ugly creature, but it seemed like in this book Goblins looked more like Fae or Elves. They had long limbs and were beautiful yet scary and have the agelessness of immortality.
The writing style
The first thing I loved about this book was the way it is written. S. Jae-Jones uses so many different words to tell her story, it was almost like reading a poem. She has a way of making you feel every single thing that is happening in the depths of your soul. For a person who doesn’t usually feel much while reading a book, this was an amazing experience. This book is all about the way our characters feel and the fact that I could experience the same thing along with these characters was just incredible.
I’m a sucker for romance okay? Some people don’t necessarily need romance in a book, I kinda really do. The romance in this was done so well. The characters have known each other for a very long time and at the moment their romance starts, Liesl isn’t sure that this is actually something she wants, but eventually a great love grows between them. There are some explicit scenes in this book, but they never got too explicit like in ACOMAF (not that I would have minded if it did tbh). But sex was never the most important part in their romance, which was really nice to see.
“What would you do, if you were a free man?”
“I would take my violin and play. I would walk the world and play, until someone called me by name and called me home.”