Finally, another book review! Another anticipated 2017 release that is also a debut! But, don’t be too flattered by my happy sounding notes, I have lots to complain about the book of this post. So, let’s move onto the actual review?
by S. Jae-Jones
Synopsis: 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. (cr.: Goodreads)
S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the author of Wintersong, forthcoming from Thomas Dunne in February 2017.
Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for ten years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes. (cr.: Goodreads)
Wintersong is the debut novel by S. Jae-Jones, that was initially planned to be a standalone, but the next part named Shadowsong is set to be released in 2018, which is a direct sequel to the first book. Wintersong is a huge mix of historical fiction, dark fantasy, and music.
Okay, so, no matter how promising this book seems to be from its synopsis and my short introduction, in the end Wintersong didn’t live up to those high expectations I’ve been having ever since knowing about its existence (few weeks before official release). Basically, it contained everything I loved: music, dark fantasy, friendship and passion towards the music. Technically, it almost turned out to be a mess.
First, I’m absolutely disliking Liesl. She’s one of those characters that you label as ‘the definition of unlikable character’. She seemed nice at start, selfless towards Josef and protective of Käthe (although a bit delusional about Käthe’s possible inner problems [almost like Scarlet and Donatella in Caraval]), but she turned out to be the worst case of those two-faced people you might happen to encounter with.
While I absolutely fell for the Goblin King, but I almost desperately believe Liesl doesn’t deserve this person. Even if they ever end up together, they would be a kind of a very conflicting couple. And I despise (exactly this word) Elisabeth’s actions towards Der Erlkönig after she ‘sacrificed’ herself to Underworld. After she finally accepts the fact that the Lord of Mischief chose her, and not her ‘beautiful sister’, her arrogance stroke up to the ceilings of Underground, as she tried to convince him (or maybe herself) that the Goblin King definitely wanted to have sex with her, as to boost up her self-confidence in being desirable. Gosh, how much I hated those moments when she basically sexually harassed Der Erlkönig for a good 50 pages. And every time the Goblin King pushed her away, she got mad about that. Girl, being desirable doesn’t only mean wanting to freaking spread your legs wide and putting their dicks between the thighs! And by trying to say that he must feel the uncontrollable lust for you, you definitely not guaranteeing yourself a loving heart! Gosh, those moments alone ruined the whole book! And am I the only one finding it very frustrating and even problematic?
Can the Goblet King just find himself another maiden? Please? I loved him, and all his dedication, but he didn’t deserve this mess.
On the other hand, I loved the dedication to music, and the family bond between siblings was great. Okay, to put in more simple worlds. The first half of the book before the wedding was very good and likeable (especially when it was still on stage of a close friendship between Liesl and Der Erlkönig), but everything after the Goblin wedding was as awful and destructible as how Tamlin ruined his study out of rage.
Another thing that destroyed whatever I expected from Wintersong was ABSOLUTE. ABSENSE. of footnotes for everything 1) non-English, including German, Italian, Latin languages 2) musical terms, like, every. single. one. Dear editor (and probably author as well), did you actually expect every single reader to be a music prodigy and a polyglot for not putting any explanation of every sentence that wasn’t in English, and every musical term used? I have no fucking desire to google everything myself. This is not why I picked this book to read!
No wonder I almost DNFed this piece. I thought of having mercy and keeping the 3-star rating, but NOPE, this book doesn’t deserve it. I hope that Russian version (if it ever get translated) will do proper job on footnotes, as it always did in every book demanding those (even those footnotes from translator/editor, which are always priceless!).
I seriously got tricked by a very beautiful cover, title, and the synopsis.
Do you think I was too rude with Wintersong? Have you read it? How did you find it? If you liked/loved it, I’d like to know what exactly you loved about the book 🙂
See you soon again!