Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Wintersong: A Magical Coming-of-Age Tale (Review)

Dark, romantic and unforgettable, a fantastical coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Darkest Part of the Forest.

Deep in his terrifying realm underground, the cold and forbidding Goblin King casts a dark shadow over nineteen-year-old Liesl. Her grandmother has always warned her to follow the old laws, for every year on the longest night of winter, she claims, the Goblin King will emerge into the waking world in search of his eternal bride. Sensible and plain, Liesl knows it’s her duty to keep her beautiful sister Käthe safe from harm. But Liesl finds refuge only in her wild, captivating music, composed in secret in honor of the mysterious Goblin King.

When Käthe is stolen by the Goblin King, Liesl knows she must set aside her childish fantasies to journey to the Underground and save her. Drawn despite herself to the strange, beautiful world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she finds herself facing an impossible choice. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones’ richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman’s search for self-actualization.
S. Jae-Jones
Pub Date: 2/7/17
Thomas Dunne Books
Genre: YA/Fantasy
Amazon | B&N

S. Jae-Jones's debut may indeed be the first fantasy novel that kept me grounded in deep thought instead of tumbling through a wild sea of adventure. Wintersong is a marvelous read that extends beyond romance and adventure to bring readers a magical coming of age tale set in the 19th century.

The story takes an old familiar tale and weaves it into a brilliant, relatable novel. Liesl keeps her dreams of composing locked deep inside of her while putting her family's needs before her own. Until her encounter with the Goblin King she puts all her energy into making sure her sister marries a good man and her dear brother becomes the greatest violinist in the world. Traveling to the Underground brings her into a world that she's not quite prepared for, despite her grandmother's dedication to the old laws. What I love about her journey is that she realizes her own potential and builds confidence around her insecurities. It's a touching story for young women weighing the balance between reaching out for their dreams or taking a more practical path.

While the story is not overly adventurous Liesl does find herself in precarious situations. The Goblin King is a mischievous adversary that becomes a lifeline for Liesl in her darkest moment. It balances out the literary aspects of the story. Wintersong invokes very powerful imagery for the reader that is due mostly in part to Jones's writing style. She doesn't cut corners when it comes to bold, vivid descriptions and accurate depictions. She managed to write a dark fantasy with hope straining along the edges of the plot. I can't imagine who could pick up Wintersong and not enjoy every word of it!

*ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*



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