Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thursday #Review - Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones #YALit #Fantasy

Series: Wintersong # 1
Format: Hardcover, 448 pages
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Library
Genre: Young Adult / Fairy Tales & Folklore

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, a fantastical coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Darkest Part of the Forest. 

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Dark, romantic, and powerful, Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget.

Wintersong is the first installment in author S. Jae-Jones' 
Wintersong series. Wintersong is apparently a retelling of Labyrinth with hints of Beauty and the Beast as well. The protagonist of this story is 18-year old Elizabeth Vogler, aka Liesl. The villain of the story is the Goblin King, aka the Deceiver, The Lord of Mischief, Ruler of the Underground. Once upon a time, there was a little girl who loved to go into the woods and play music for her friend who lived in the woods. 

But, Liesl forgot about the boy, but the boy never forgot about her. Meanwhile, she composed music not only for herself, but for her younger brother as well. While her younger brother was getting all the attention, Liesl was told she wasn't as talented as Josef. As we open the book, the boy who is now a man has set up plans for Liesl which means kidnapping her sister and forcing Liesl into playing a game that she can't win. One could say the first part of this story was the sibling rivalry between sisters, and ends with a twisted romance between a young woman with so much to offer musically being lured into a world that sees her as weak. 

Liesl is the oldest and more responsible one who has guided her brother, while Katharina, the middle sister, is described as wanton fruit begging to be plucked by the Goblin King. After her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl finds herself playing a game with him. If she wins, Kathe goes free. If she loses, Kathe becomes the Goblin Kings next wife and Queen of the Underground. The most curious aspect of this story is that the writer makes it known that Liesl isn't the beautiful maid ready and willing to be taken away by the first handsome man that comes along.

No. In fact, I dare say that she is described as normal, short in stature, and plain as they come. It has been a very long time since I watched Labyrinth. But, I do remember David Bowie was Jareth the Goblin King, the ruler of the Goblins. Jennifer Connelly was Sarah Williams, a 15-year-old girl who journeys through the Labyrinth to find her baby brother. The obvious difference is that Liesl is closer to 19, and it is her sister Kathe she is trying to save from a very short life living in the Underground.

This is really two story's within a story. The first part is a fast paced, lyrical ride through Liesl and The Goblin King playing a game of keeps. A game that was set in motion thanks to Elizabeth forgetting about the boy who lived in the woods and who waited for her for years. By kidnapping the girls sister, the Goblin King forced Elisabeth to not only play a game of life and death with him, but to also remember the days when they were truly friends.  

The second part becomes something of a let down, but we do get to learn more about Liesl and how musically talented she really is. The first part is definitely more about Liesl's family and the upcoming journey that her younger brother is apparently going on without her. Then it becomes more of a romance novel which really dragged my review down a notch. I have much respect for the way that the author manages the Goblin King. He is an immortal figure bound by a fateful choice he made years and years ago. He is a bit of a villain and a hero. A sinner and a man who deserves better things that to be stuck in the Underground. A boy who loved a young girl, and a man who finds himself conflicted in keeping the woman in the Underground as his wife and Queen while she wastes away and loses her magical talents. 

I was given the sequel to this story recently and do plan on seeing how Jones resolves some issues that she has left hanging like chads during the 2000 election. I also want to see if there will be some further character growth when it comes to Liesl and her relationship with her family. 

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful cover. Sounds like the story inside was too seeing it makes you want to know more.
    sherry @ fundinmental