Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Release Date: February 7th 2017
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 favour 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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Thoughts On…
I haven’t read many books about goblins so when I saw the blurb for Wintersong I immediately added it to my to-read list just for that uniqueness the story seemed to offer. I haven’t seen Labyrinth but before picking up this book I was immediately reminded of that film. While I really enjoyed Wintersong there was just something missing from it for me.
Liesl has grown up hearing stories of the Goblin King from her grandmother, but now she is older the time for childish stories, the time when she danced in the Goblin Grove and played her songs for the Goblin King, has past. Now her thoughts are for her younger brother, getting him the position of an apprentice so he could be recognized for his talent playing the violin. Liesl has little time for her younger sister, but when the veil between this world and the next weakens and the Goblin King comes out searching for beautiful maidens, his attention lands on Käthe.
Liesl has never believed she needs to watch Käthe the same way she does Josef, but before she knows what happening Käthe is in the hands of the Goblin King himself, and Liesl finds herself in a world where no one remembers her sisters name.
Trapped playing a game with the Goblin King for Käthe’s life Liesl must find her way Underground to her sister and return both of them to the world above before the next full moon. However it isn’t finding Käthe that’s the problem, it’s convincing her they both need to leave the Underground and the Goblin King behind. Meanwhile the Goblin King is around every corner tricking both Liesl and Käthe, he needs a bride and it will be one of the two sisters.
Wintersong was a slow story, I think more than anything this book was about Liesl’s character; her growth and her ambitions, and unfortunately while I enjoyed Wintersong I didn’t connect enough with Liesl’s character to love this book.
Liesl seemed to be a character all about contradictions. She loves her brother dearly but at times she can’t contain the jealousy she feels towards him, and it’s the same with her sister as well. Josef is the one who has the talent that will take him all over the world playing for Kings and Queens, and Käthe is the one with the beauty that will see her married well and happy. All Liesl is left with is the obligation she has to her family, trapped in their shadows never allowing the music she composes to enter the world.
With the Goblin King however Liesl seems to become more. Although it is dangerous and deadly to feel she does and she allows her music out again, composing and playing and finally stepping out of the shadow her siblings have put her in.
The Goblin King is also a complex character although we never get as much insight into him as we do Liesl. There have been many men over the years who have called themselves the Goblin King and there are many different faces the Goblin King seems to wear. Part of him truly does care for Liesl, she played for him as a child and he craves that connection to her soul and her music once more now she is an adult, but at the same time he is a trickster who will keep Liesl and Käthe trapped in the Underground as long as it serves his purpose.
The relationship between Liesl and the Goblin King is not an easy one, there are many different things that seem to be pulling them together and at the beginning none of them are each other. For Liesl it is the love she feels for her brother and sister, her desire to keep them safe, while for the Goblin King it is simply his need to find a bride to bring spring around again. However, eventually, in spite of all the outside forces there is a deeper connection between the two of them, a connection brought to life through the music they both share.
Wintersong managed to create a whole new world within its pages; there were so many myths and legends surrounding the Underground and the Goblin King himself telling us all about his history and the reason he takes a Bride each year. Everything about this world was incredibly interesting to read and discover, and that’s saying nothing about the Underground itself. A place that is dangerous for humans; just as dark, mysterious and tricky as the Goblin King himself. There are different rules to time spent in the Underground compared to time spent in the world above, and these are all rules Liesl needs to learn quickly if she intends to escape with her life.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from Wintersong and while it was an enjoyable book overall I think when it comes down to it I just wanted more. I couldn’t really connect with Liesl or the Goblin King, or their relationship with one another, and based on the way this book is written I think that’s needed to enjoy it more than I did.
What did you think of Wintersong? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.