By:  S. Jae-Jones
# of pages:  436
Series:  Wintersong (#1)


Goodreads description:

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.

My opinion:  This story follows Liesl (my sister’s nickname as a child so I love it!) as she shoulders much of her family’s burdens.  Her father is an alcoholic, her grandmother is perceived as senile, her mother is overworked, her brother Josef is a socially awkward musical prodigy, and her sister Kathe is super beautiful and outgoing.  Her brother’s talent and her sister’s beauty overshadow her own talent and appearance.  Interestingly, her sister feels ignored by Liesl and jealous of the attention Liesl pays their brother at the same time Liesl feels ignored and jealous of the attention her crush Hans pays Kathe.

But the year is coming to a close according to the old calendar and the border between the Underground where the Goblin King rules and the world Liesl lives in has grown thin.  Strange things begin to happen and Liesl soon finds herself playing a game with high stakes.

 I have mixed feelings about this book.  The first third grabbed my attention and I really enjoyed it, but the story took a sudden turn that didn’t quite make sense to me.  I won’t post spoilers so it’s hard to describe, but I feel like the first third of the book ended up being pointless since it had no bearing on the main character’s big decision.  I felt like the author had conflicting ideas on how the overall story was going to go and that she combined two different ideas into one story.

I liked the retelling of “Beauty and the Beast” and the old German fairy tale aspects.  I understand that Liesl’s feelings were mixed, but I wish that her relationship with the Goblin King had been a little more consistent.  It’s a “coming of age” story for Liesl, but I do wish she had displayed more confidence in herself throughout the novel instead of just at the end.

Overall, this is a fun read, especially if you love fairy tales and fantasy.  It’s nothing amazing, but it’s still worth reading!

Why I gave this book 4/5 stars:  Fun read, unique settings, it’s a fairy tale!, but it could have been more consistent and made more sense if things had tied together a little better.

3 thoughts on “Wintersong

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