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A Hypnotic Sonata | Review of ‘Wintersong’ (Wintersong #1)


By Cynthia Ayala

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Thomas Dunne Books, Image Credit: Goodreads

“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. 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. However, 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. 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. 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.”—Goodreads

Published February 7th, 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books, Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones is the first in a new and dark tantalizing series that takes fantasy to the underground world of the Goblin King.

What’s so impeccable about this novel is the idea behind it. This novel has so many elements to it that the reader can connect to. At first glance, readers can see the connection between the novel and the film Labyrinth starring David Bowie. However, then there’s also those elements of Greek mythology, connecting this tale to the story about Hades and Persephone. Those are the underlying elements of the story that the reader can connect to all the while using those elements to weave its own narrative, making it a riveting and delightful to read.

One of the best things about this novel is the language. The reader can grass for language so beautifully because when the goblin came talks he is very concise, and yet the author uses beautiful language to convey more emotion in between those words. There’s a saying that a good writer can write but a better writer can write more with less (or something along those lines). Jones can captivate the reader so beautifully with her use of language, scene structure, and character dynamics. Her writing is masterful as the dialogue limits itself to the barest of details while at the same time conveying such powerful emotion and depth.

All one has to do is look at the opening page that prologue it is three stanzas and it is lyrical, flows and is otherworldly hypnotic. That opening segment by itself is a story on its own. It gives the reader this idea of what the story is going to be about a girl and the Goblin King, about her music and her sacrifices. There is also a loneliness that lingers underneath the lyrical pattern. It is in the language, in the tone, and ultimately sets the perfect stage for the story. Those three stanzas resonate throughout the novel. It is the underlying music of the novel itself haunting the reader haunting the characters hunting everything and making it a deep and dark hypnotic novel.

As a story, it is quite an enchanting story, but there’s so much more to it than just the story. There are characters here in this novel, and they are all richly designed, containing an extra level of depth. Liesl is the oldest sister and with that comes many responsibilities including losing her childhood as well as letting go of her dreams and her passions. She has a younger sister who’s considered the beautiful sister who seems to have everything anyone could want. However, one would think that these two sisters would be resentful of each other however that’s not the case these two girls love each other dearly and do not blame each other for their own their shortcomings and life. That is not only beautiful, but it also strays away from usual cliches involving these types of dynamics. These two sisters are united in their love for one another, making the story stand stronger. Käthe does not want her sister to lose herself, she wants her to be more comfortable in her skin and her dreams, and while this wish of hers for Liesl does come true, it does so with sacrifice.

The underlying story is about Liesl evolving as a person. She lives for everyone else when she should be living for herself as well. The Goblin King’s love offers her this chance to be a new version of herself, a fuller version of herself.

All in all, it is a beautiful story that has fantasy and romance woven together like a beautiful sonata. The writing is lyrical, it is haunting and masterfully written, conveying so much emotion within the limited dialogue and character descriptions. (★★★★☆ | A)

Product Details:

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

Page count: 436pp

Age Range: 12 & Over

ISBN: 978-1-2500-7921-3

Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

List Price:  $18.99

Get a Copy:

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