Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Series: *According to the author sequel comes in 2018*
Publisher: Titan Books
Published February 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult, Retelling
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.
This book was incredible! It was sensual, it was beautiful and it was dark.
It’s not difficult to see that my favorite genre is fantasy YA. But this was so much more than that. It had magic, it had reality, it had bonds, it had an overload of emotion, it had amazing and extremely developed characters, it had everything I could ask for.
And… It had Goblins.
Well that one was pretty much everything I needed to know to get this book. I have never read a book about goblins. And apparently I was missing out, because they are extremely interesting creatures.
This book is filled with music. In every phrase, every emotion, every decision there’s a connection. And that’s probably what gives it the feeling of a fairy tale so much. Music is used to express what words would never be able to. And through the pages we can feel it. We can feel it touching our soul. It’s enchanting and honest.
The world building of the Underground, although incredibly mesmerizing, is sad, cold and mysterious. You never know what will happen next and I would be terrified if I was Liesl. That made me feel claustrophobic and overall desperate. But it also made me feel more connected to our Goblin King. The idea of space and time is so foggy that it makes the only connection to sanity being him. Which is unwise because he is the lord of mischief.
In the beginning we see Liesl (Elisabeth) as a maiden. Helping taking care of her family. The girl that had to put her dreams and desires in a box to make sure the ones around her could achieve their own. But that doesn’t mean she did’t feel jealous or revolted – I really liked how realistic the author made it seem. She enters a new world being naive and there, she starts knowing herself. What she is capable of and who she is. And she ends being a totally transformed person. Confident and capable of loving not only others but also herself.
When Elisabeth goes Underground to save her sister from the Goblin King they start developing the pure, strong and long forgotten connection between them. We see their relationship evolving in all ways possible. Just like a fairy tale, but the type I would really want to hear in a bed time story. It feels like a fairy tale, but the reality is far from it. Fairy tales start with love at first sight and end with a “and they lived happily ever after”. But not this one. This is the type I would love to read more about.
I absolutely loved the Goblin King. He was one of the most amazing characters I have ever read about. He makes you both afraid and attracted. He has many facets and all of them are very well drawn. He is understanding and honest, but at the same time pure evil. It’s very difficult not to feel attracted to him.
What I thought that gave the story a total perfect dimension is that it wasn’t only about romantic love. But also about self-esteem, pure selfish desire and family love. And family being a very present and important topic in the book.
The writing is utterly beautiful. It made me feel totally inside the book. It grips you instantly from the very first pages and it demands you to keep going, even when your heart is already ripped in tiny pieces.
And last but not least, the cover. This might be one of my favorite covers of all time. It’s gorgeous and magical. It reminds me a bit of the Beauty and the Beast, and in a certain way so does the story. It’s so simple and yet so powerful. I could look at it all day long.
The book is considered YA. But despite that, it’s quite an emotionally heavy book, full of desire and sensuality. The sex scenes that it contains are not explicit, but the book is nonetheless the best approach of it I have ever seen in a YA book. You know the saying… Sometimes more is less. Wintersong is a trip to discover the most intimate, deepest and selfish desires of a person. It talks about passion, love and family. And it will get you inebriated!
“The kiss is sweeter than sin and fiercer than temptation. I am not gentle, I am not kind; I am rough and wild and savage.”
“What’s the use of running, if we are on the wrong road?”
“What is eternal life but a prolonged death.”
“Skills could be taught, but talent could not.”
“He was an old friend in myth and legend; he was a stranger in breath and body.”
Have you read this book? Share your thoughts!