REVIEW: Wintersong

by S. Jae-Jones

Pages: 512
Publisher: TITAN Books
Publication Date: February 7th 2017
ISBN: 9781785655449
Received From:  TITAN Books


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. 


"It takes love, you see, to bring the world back to life"

I have always has a fascination with the Goblin King, ever since I watched Labyrinth as a child. The line, "Just fear me, love me, do as I say and I will be your slave," being one of my favourite quotes of all time! SO when I got the opportunity to read Wintersong by Titan Books I jumped at the chance. If Bowies Goblin King enchanted me, S. Jae-Jones' broke my heart and had me praying for a happily ever after. 

"You might prefer the pretty lie to the ugly truth"

Wintersong follows nineteen year old Liesl as she crosses the veil between the living and the dead to save her sister Käthe from the Goblin King. However, once Underground Liesl is forced to chose between the life she knows or the beautifully terrifying possibility of a world unknown. Taking comfort in her music and the melodies she creates Liesl is drawn to the darker side of herself and encouraged by the Goblin King she begins to find her place in the world underneath. However,  there is a price to pay for being the Goblin Kings bride and it is more than Liesl ever imagined. This time her music might not be able to save her. 

The Goblin King is the Lord of mischief and he pulls the strings of this story into something dark and captivating. His trickery paints a tale so beautiful it is terrible, much like the character himself and each twist in the Labyrinth opens up another side to Liesl, the King and the world underground. He is the perfect companion to a character such as Liesl because he temps the selfish side of her and in hand teases the reader with the promise of something unexpected. However, as the book develops you began to see the man behind the crown. His selfless side is powered by Liesl's and you see that for one to be selfish the other had to be selfless, for one to be dark the other must be light and for one to be free the other must be caged. 

"Your music was the only thing that kept me sane, that kept me human instead of a monster."

Liesl is an interesting protagonist because there is so much depth to her. She is not simply the innkeepers daughter who devoted her life to her siblings best interests that we see at the beginning of the book but she has a core that plays music the world has never seen. She is both selfless and selfish and the contradicting sides of her personality cause her the most devastating of heart breaks. Wintersong to me was the story of Liesl, innkeepers daughter, girl, woman, Goblin Queen, composer and so much more. The Goblin King gave her the opportunity to truly be herself, to truly live without fear of judgement and through that she grew into a character than you couldn't help but connect with. When she laughed I laughed, when she cried I cried and when it came down to biggest decision of her life my heart broke for her. 

"I would rather light the flame, knowing it will go out, than sit forever in darkness"

Overall Wintersong was the perfect read for this time of year. It is haunting and the writing style is effortless. It is a story of family, love, devotion and you can't help but loose yourself in its pages. It is a story that no matter the outcome will unhinge you but you can't help love it anyway. The Goblin King is enchanting, Liesl is music at its truest form and together they tell a story that will have you in tears at 4am in the morning. 

"You are the monster I claim." 

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