Review: Wintersong (Wintersong #1) by S. Jae-Jones

Published: February 7th 2017 by Titan Books
 Rating: 2 out of 5


Available from: DepositoryBarnes and Noble



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.



Wintersong is a keen start to a duology that focuses on pretty poetic language, with a pseudo historical story of a girls slow burning love for a fabled goblin king.

While I admit the writing is classy and spellbinding in the most, I found the story to be a little drab. Elizabeth is the middle child of two eccentric parents. One who used to be a worldly musician turned drunk and one who's effervescent nature attracts the locals to drink at her tavern. On a night, the towners come to be either entertained or to gossip.

Elizabeths sister, Kathe, is the belle of the town. She is a beautiful by nature but we soon learn that she stole Elizabeths love interest, and now Hans comes across as creepy rather than the lover scorned. Liesl, (she has two names in this book) also has a younger prodigy brother who is a marvel when he plays the violin. Liesl herself is a musician too and plays the klavier (piano) but is constantly being put down by her father. She helps Josef train for his audition which will take his to music halls around Europe, if he impresses the Maestro.

One day, while shopping in the town Liesl and her sister come across the goblin sellers of the market, and she gets her first sighting of the goblin king. Naturally, she finds him alluring but strange, and she encourages her sister, Kathe, away. But the goblin king tries to lure Liesl to the goblin world by using Kathe. She then makes a bargain to exchange places with her.

From here the story is really, really slow. So much that I began to lose interest. There also wasn't a whole lot of story going on, once you got past all the purple prose and constant droning of Liesl going on about how plain she is, and how her music isn't that great because everyone tells her. You see, the Goblin king is enchanted by her music, and even tells Liesl that its her music he wants to hear, not her.

Personally, I didn't find the story romantic, or even a slow burning love, the constant flips between emotions made it impossible for me to even like the two main characters. Liesl couldn't ever decide if she wanted to stay with the goblin king. And the goblin king seemed to prefer his 'god' to anything else. This was also a no-no for me. You can't bring this worlds religions into a YA fantasy.

At the end, this isn't a faery or goblin story with its wild parties (I think there was one but that was all) and its wild hunts, and its seelie/unseelie versus who's going to rule when someone off's the goblin king. This is really a story which shades on the intricacies of leading a normal boring life to, maybe, living underground with someone who can't decide if he wants you or your talent.

So, in short, I didn't enjoy this as much as I'd hoped. Too wishy-washy and drawn out to really get a grips with the little story there was.

The writing, however was diverse enough to read in the beginning, but even then I got bored with its over-poetic-ness and lyrical eccentricity.



About the Author

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.

You can find S. Jae-Jones here:


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