Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

WintersongWintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Published by Thomas Dunne Books on February 7, 2017

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Pages: 436 Format: Hardcover Source: Library

4/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.


 S. Jae-Jones, in her debut, has crafted a fluid fantasy filled with music and soul. Wintersong is the story of Liesl, a girl who dreams of composing but instead spends her life devoted to her family. When her sister, Kathe, is ensnared by the Goblin King, she must go Underground to save her. Little does Liesl know, she may find and save herself along the way…

The focus of this story is in two parts: Liesl’s familial relationships and her connection with the Goblin King. On the one hand, her family always comes first. She’s desperately supportive of her brother Josef’s musical prowess and goes to great lengths to protect her sister. The pull the Goblin King has on her cannot be denied though. The dynamic between them is haunting, both tender and fierce. It kept me on the edge as I turned page after page.

The choice to infuse this story with music was honestly the best decision ever. It provided an excellent and expressive back drop for the emotional narrative and even added to the sensory experience. Even the instruments created an atmospheric and ethereal quality that lent itself to the setting. Some may find the jargon to in-depth and difficult to understand but I thought it flowed perfectly across the page and had no trouble figuring words out.

In terms of issues, I thought the story could have used a little more life especially in the second half of the book. At times the narrative crept forward at an infuriatingly slow pace and I wanted things to happen faster. This may just be my impatience showing though. Liesl’s contradictions also made my blood boil from time to time and her selfishness often overshadowed her other qualities. Also that ending left me wrecked!

Overall Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones was a gripping musical delight. While it lacked a hefty plot, both Liesl and the Goblin King were captivating characters that latched onto my heart. This book was fraught with emotion and the struggles of the soul. Despite the slowness of the story I just could not put it down. I definitely recommend this one especially to those with musical passion and love for a certain Goblin King.

So have you picked up Wintersong yet? A fan of the Labyrinth movie? Do you find music compelling in the pages of books? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!

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