Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones Publisher: Thomas Dunne Release Date: February 7th 2017
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Romance
All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They've enraptured her spirit and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen, Liesl can't help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.But when her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl must 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. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.
I received a free copy for an honest review This rating is surprisingly low, even to me, considering how popular this book was and how much I enjoyed it in the beginning. I will be honest here: as a reader, I actually enjoyed it. But as a reviewer, this book is definitely flawed. My problems on this book go from our desperate heroine to the slow to the no-progression-at-all-storyline. I was surprised that it ended that way, especially when the first half was so fast-paced. I was expecting romance, but I really didn't know that it would be the core of the story. Especially when we were hinted slightly that something bigger was at work here, that there's a bigger problem arc, but we didn't see any of that at all. Because of this, I was disappointed by how much the whole storyline just revolved around the not-too-good love story between the Goblin King and Elisabeth, instead of an actual fantasy/problem arc. In other words, it can almost be said the entire book was just about around miedvel (often cheesy) dialogues, fancy riddles about love, and romantic/dramatic description about music (except this actually wasn't too bad). I'm especially disappointed by how Elisabeth and the Goblin King acted in the relationship. I was to a point, shocked and almost disgusted by Elisabeth's desperation for the Goblin King's love (both physically and mentally), and how the Goblin King acted disappointedly human instead of being more monster-like (since he was an underground monster king for at least a century, maybe the author should've taken that into consideration). I can't remember how many times I thought about how other books wrote a better Goblin King-like character when the character was not even a monster, while I was reading the book because the fact that the king of Goblins, Lord of Mischief, Ruler of Underground, Der Erlkonig, is so much, like my shy, teenage boy classmates who don't even have the guts to ask a girl out. Don't even get me started on Elisabeth. She was so strong, so admirable. Her insecurity about her average appearance and constantly not getting recognition was so relatable, which was why I saw such potential in her character. So imagine how upset I was when I saw how the author turned her character during the book from the strong heroine we see into the beginning, into a girl who just wants to "do it" with the too-human-like-teenage-version Goblin King. But I can still see why this book was so popular. Next to the flaws, there is just as much good stuff I can say about this book than about the bad stuff. The world-building, especially the scenery descriptions are some of the best I've ever seen in a young adult fantasy novel, and how the author "wrote out" the feeling of music along with Elisabeth's love for music is just plain magical. It's also a good thing that the themes of the book is stated out so clearly - because the themes are usually the core of the story that makes everything from the atmosphere to the story. In result, you didn't have the story being totally confusing with anything feeling out of place. I really do wish though, that the author could've made the hate-love relationship better, and in the next book focus more on the story instead of the romance. Beside from that, I will give this three and a half stars, still recommend it to YA fantasy lovers, and will continue the series with love. I also am confident the second book will get a better rating from me, because this book was actully not that bad, only with a few factors that kind of bugged me. So it shouldn't be a surprised if I eat up the next installment. I'm so excited to start the second book!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the NYT bestselling author of Wintersong. 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.