Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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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.

arrows★★★★(4 stars)

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Liesl grew up hearing her grandmother’s stories about a Goblin king who lived in the world below. Enchanting, dark and extremely handsome, the Goblin king was her hero.

But when her Goblin king kidnapped her sister, Käthe, she must find a way to bring her back before its too late. As she ventures in the world below, Liesl soon discovers that it is not just her sister that she must sacrifice, but everything, just to be with the man that she loves.

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  • The style of writing is like lyrics singing into my ears. Like a Lorelei’s hymn, this novel will surely hook you up from first page to last.

  • The romance is oddly very satisfying. Weird as it may seems, the author manages to make two opposing parties click. It surpasses my expectation especially in the first half of the book where the goblin king convinces Liesl to be his bride.
  • It is a fairy tale in its own. May it be a retelling or not, Wintersong is a one of a kind novel. Taking inspiration from various myths, the story surely takes you to a world of magic and enchantment, like a fairy tale told through the passage of time.

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  • Some musical jargon and each German word makes the book very difficult to comprehend. Reading Wintersong is like reading a medical textbook without studying the terminologies first. The novel lacks context clues and hints. If one is not fluent in German, it is impossible to know the meaning of the phrases unless you look it up in the internet. It even took me a while to know what a klavier is, if that makes sense.
  • The overdose of metaphors. Its not that I hate metaphors to be honest but the author uses too much of it, making the novel close to impossible to visualize. This includes the goblin king’s physical appearance and the attributes of his dominion. I really find it confusing if the goblin king is transforming from a monster to an austere young man or they are one and the same.

  • I love how the author blended eastern and western mythology. (Please do correct me if I am wrong) I love how the concept of Japan’s peaches and Korea’s “Dokkaebi” matches well with Europe’s version of the goblin. It is a blend so perfect it feels like enjoying a large mug of hot chocolate topped with marshmallows in a cold winter night.
  • It is a hodgepodge of literature. It is not so surprising that the author used both Hades and Persephone’s as well as Cupid and Psyche’s tales in telling the story no matter how mainstream these myths are. These classics are never a bore despite the number of retellings I have read. The novel shows semblance with the poem of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe called Der Erlkönig. Its dark ambiance serves as a veil that covers the story with mystery and depth making it compelling and enchanting for the readers.
  • Like huge wave in the ocean, this novel still manages to eat you whole despite the rise and fall in its compelling storyline. Despite the disappointment of the second half of the book, I cannot deny the fact that I loved its first half to the point of giving it an early 6 star rating. The decline was so tremendous that the incline in the ending’s plot was not that satisfying enough to cope up with the hype, hence the 4 star rating. Nevertheless, it is not a lie that I have enjoyed this novel despite the said circumstances.
  • Recovering from various hangovers. Whoever watched the Korean drama “Goblin” should read this novel. It really helps in recovering that hangover you have there since the drama ended. It also works for those who are showing the same symptoms with The Star Touched Queen. (Winks)

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At last! I finished reviewing this book after three days of hard work! Horay! (Laughs)
I won’t say much for this wrap up since I have stated everything that I want to say in my review. I just want to thank you for reading this very detailed review despite its length. (I cannot say anything less, sorry) I hope you enjoy your day!

Till my next review!

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