Waiting on Wednesday: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong

Hardcover, 448 pages
Expected publication: February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne
 I liked this book, but I didn’t LOVE this book.  The story and characters didn’t live up to my expectations, which stemmed from learning this is a Labyrinth reimagining, and, in the end, I couldn’t overcome my disappointment.  That’s not to say the writing isn’t good, and I know that people have–and will–love this book.  But, I didn’t, and that makes me sad.
To try and explain my feelings without being spoilery, I’m going to use my older method of review with pro/con bullet points.  I apologize if there are minor spoilers, but I’ve tried my best to avoid them.

Pros:

  • The characters have depth that matches the story
  • Goblins act like goblins
  • Focus on music throughout
  • I liked the inclusion of both the old religion and the new
  • We get to see what happens after the main character goes through the “labyrinth”

Cons:

  • Not enough clever riddles
  • The term “sacrifice” means you give something up completely (to me anyway) and that’s not how it was used in this novel
  • Goblin King presents as sullen throughout most of the book
  • I wanted the Goblin King to be snarky and clever, and he fell far short of that
  • The ending was unsatisfactory after the rest of the novel, not a cliffhanger, per se, but close to it

I’m hoping this author has more stories to tell, so I can give it another go.  Normally, I prefer authors to focus on the characters’ development, but here I felt like the story was under done.  As a debut, this was a fun effort, I just wanted more.

Summary:

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

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