I don’t normally do reviews on my blog, but I do review most books I read on my Amazon account. However, I recently finished reading WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones and let me tell you, I loved this book so much I need to talk about it. There is going to be a sequel in 2018 called SHADOWSONG and I can’t wait to read it. The story is beautiful and haunting and I know I won’t forget it anytime soon.
So some information on WINTERSONG before I talk about what set this book apart for me. WINTERSONG is set in 19th century Germany where Lisel’s sister gets spirited away by the Goblin King. Her grandmother had always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Lisel must save her sister, but when she does she is faced with an impossible choice: go home with her sister and let the world fall into eternal winter, or sacrifice herself as the Goblin King’s bride to save the world.
This book is an obvious choice for fans of David Bowie’s Labyrinth. I was never a fan of the movie, but I loved this book. For those who have seen the movie you can spot the inspiration from the movie, but it stands on it’s own merits without sounding like fanfiction. In fact it also took inspiration from the poem The Goblin Market, which I enjoyed. It helped paint the world for me by giving me something about goblins I recognized. And the way the author used the poem was wonderful. It gave me familiar elements mixed with new ones enough to make me understand the way the goblins work, but at the same time the Goblin King was shrouded in mystery for me.
I love stories about old myths, and this fit the bill. The Goblin King is even based on European myths about him. It had the feel I love in books about fae-like creatures. In this one the goblins are tricksters, but the stories and myths around the Goblin King I adored. I’m hoping to get to learn more about him in the sequel. Really I just need more of the Goblin King in my life. This story is also a good choice for musicians since Lisel is a composer and even the Goblin King plays the violin. It’s actually Lisel’s music that drew the Goblin King to her.
In the end, this book did something most books struggle to do, which is make me want to read the sequel. I find myself moving on to a sequel less and less these days, especially when it feels like the story could be wrapped up in one book and new elements are added just to turn it into a series with fantasy being a huge culprit in this. In young adult I’ve noticed a trend in my reading of a unique concept turning into a rebellion story by book two and it has made me tired of rebellion stories. WINTERSONG works well as a stand-alone book, but I got so absorbed in the world and characters that I’m dying for more.
The downsides? At 448 pages it’s not for anyone looking for a quick read. I’ll admit there were a few spots that dragged and made me eager for the story to move forward faster, but not enough to get me to quit enjoying myself.
For me, WINTERSONG is going on my list as a recent favorite. Anyone else enjoy this book?