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Wintersong: A Novel Hardcover – February 7, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—This YA fantasy is a richly detailed journey through German folklore and 19th-century Europe. Often overshadowed by her musically talented brother and her beautiful sister, Liesl assists her parents in running the family's inn. When her sister, Käthe, is taken by goblins, Liesl makes a wager to secure her release and travels underground to the alluring Goblin King's world in an attempt to win freedom for both herself and Käthe. This fantasy debut is rife with intricate details and world-building, as well as the charged relationship between Liesl and the Goblin King. Fans of Gregory Maguire's Egg & Spoon or E.K. Johnston's A Thousand Nights will be drawn to the in-depth depictions of the goblins' realm. Others may find the story's length and its emphasis on description rather than action overwhelming. The slower pace allows for additional character development of Liesl, although Käthe and their younger brother, Josef, remain in the background. VERDICT An additional purchase for larger collections.—Jenni Frencham, Columbus Public Library, WI
“The legend of the cruel and pitiless Erl-king anchors a darkly lush and dangerous tale of a stifled young woman’s creative awakening. Beautiful writing evokes powerful emotions in this journey into the meaning of sacrifice and the power of love.”―Kate Elliott, New York Times bestselling author of the Crossroads and Crown of Stars series
"Wintersong is a maze of beauty and darkness, of music and magic and glittering things, all tied together with exquisite writing. This is a world you will want to stay lost in."―Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Legend and The Young Elites
"Spellbinding and sexy, Wintersong is a feast for all the senses. I didn't want this beautifully written book to end."―Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn
"This was Labyrinth by way of Angela Carter, and I think my soul has been aching for a book like Wintersong for the last decade. Deliciously romantic, with a nuanced Goblin King and a strong heroine, this story was rife with fairy tales, music, and enchantment."―Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen
"S. Jae-Jones has a great grasp of emotion in her writing, and plucks your heart-strings from the very first pages. This story will make you hurt in the most fantastic way. It is captivating. A very strong debut."―Charlie N. Holmberg, bestselling author of The Paper Magician
"This is an exquisitely and lyrically crafted tale of longing, sibling loyalty, and the importance of women in a time when women were so often overlooked. Eerie, unsettling, and above all, full of music." ―Booklist (starred review)
"Jae-Jones writes beautifully about the magic of love, the power of music, and the importance of free will." ―Publishers Weekly
"Structured as a sonata, the final movement culminates in a bittersweet sacrifice that will leave readers... savoring the delicious tragedy." ―Kirkus Reviews
"[R]ife with intricate details and world-building, as well as the charged relationship between Liesl and the Goblin King. Fans of Gregory Maguire's Egg & Spoon or E.K. Johnston's A Thousand Nights will be drawn to the in-depth depictions of the goblin's realm." ―School Library Journal
Top customer reviews
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Recommend to: YA paranormal/fantasy romance readers (who don't mind sex scenes). Fans of Labyrinth, or the Hades/Persephone myth. Anti-hero as love interest.
Favorite Quote: "Loveliness of the spirit is worth more than loveliness of the flesh." (294)
Favorite Word: Ouroboros: a circular symbol depicting a snake, or less commonly a dragon, swallowing its tail, as an emblem of wholeness or infinity: I no longer marked the passage of time; yesterday was today was tomorrow, an ouroboros of hours that circled back on themselves. (pg. 317)
What I loved most about it is that kept to the original stories of the Goblin King told throughout Europe. Growing up in Germany I heard many stories of "Der Erlkonig" and to be weary of the end of the year. Some of the old folk still put salt on the windows and door ways for protection.
I originally bought this book because my teenage daughter told me that the description reminded her of "Labyrinth", which was one of my favorite movies growing up. (I also have read the book and yes, it is very very simple but hey, it's written after the movie.)
If you're wanting a book based on folk lore of the Goblin King mixed with a little romance then I am sure you will love this. I did. It had romance, fantasy, and the music it conjured was beautiful. I enjoyed it all. It may not be for everyone. You must take your time reading it because even skipping one word, you will miss something.
I feel that she will be writing a sequel. She left some unanswered questions. I won't ruin the story for you but I will say... it's all in a NAME...
The plot and premise of Wintersong were fantastic – I loved the underground; its laws, the parties, the Goblin King, was all phenomenally written. I LIVED for the stories of former Goblin Kings, and stories of the current King’s own past. Which brings me to the next thing I loved about the book – The Goblin King. Dear lord, I adored him. He was playful, sexy, mysterious, and mercurial. All of the things I love in a dark and brooding male lead.
I feel as though a lot of readers were turned off by the music in the book. I could see how it may drag on a bit, the descriptions did get a bit long. I, for one, enjoyed it. It was beautifully written and essential to the plot. The plot was structured around the music in Elisabeth’s soul – and I enjoyed how S Jae-Jones incorporated it.
What I didn’t like, however, was Elisabeth. There were chunks of the book during which she just…annoyed me. She was so JEALOUS of her sister, of her brother, of everyone. She was unsure of The Goblin King, often twisting his words to make them seem harsh and hurtful. Half of the “cruel” things he said, she provoked him to say. It really annoyed me. Towards the end of the book, as she gained confidence, I started to enjoy her as a narrator, but the beginning of Wintersong was a struggle for me, purely because of her attitude at times.
That being said, overall I think it was a beautiful book. It was well written, kept me intrigued, and got to me emotionally. I cried throughout the entire last chapter, although the ending did remind me a bit of Titanic (HE COULD HAVE FIT ON THE DAMN DOOR ROSE). Those of you who have read the book may understand this particular reference’s relevance. If you’re curious, message me for an explanation.
My Takeaway: There were elements of the book that frustrated me, but overall it was an enjoyable read. I was lucky enough to receive Shadowsong from the publisher and will be starting it the moment I publish this review! Look for my review of it within the next few days!
Most recent customer reviews
Pros: enjoyed the music theme. The Goblins / Goblin King were great characters.
Con: The main character is horrendous.Read more