5/5 STARS - SPOILERS
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.
This review is the most open review I’ve ever written: I need to write everything down in this review, no matter how mushy or personal it is.
I thought I knew gut wrenching novels, but Wintersong ripped my heart out and shattered it into a million pieces. This dark and delicious (yes, delicious) fantasy and Labyrinth inspired novel drew me in and ruined me. I don’t know how I am going to pick up another book anytime soon.
Jae-Jones is an incredible writer, an artist, and she has crafted a beautiful and mesmerising piece of work that flows as beautiful as the music she describes and refers to throughout.
Elisabeth (Liesl) is the sensible, strong and brave character -- she is forced to leave childish notions behind and help her struggling family. She is described as plain, but pretty, and is musically gifted and a talented composer; however, she is a woman and woman do not get far in her world. Always forced to put others above herself, Liesl learns to put herself first in the Underground, even though her wants and needs have dire consequences for her.
The Goblin King, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground, is dark. He enjoys playing games and taunting Liesl at the beginning of the novel. He is described as the most beautiful ‘man’, tall and elegant, nothing compares to him. He is very passionate, also musically gifted, but tormented at the life he has led in the Underground. Queens come and go, their lives cut short so the Underground can survive, but Liesl is different and the Goblin King struggles with his feelings for her and his duty to the Underground and the Goblins.
Elisabeth and the Goblin King will forever be two of my all-time favourite characters. They were utterly mesmerising and I loved them for all their flaws and their greatest attributes, these “star-crossed lovers”. The tears are back just thinking about their love, and despite as strong as it was, it just wasn’t enough.
I am really struggling to write this review and I feel the words I have do not do this novel justice. It truly is one my favourite books of all time, and I feel it will always be. It spoke to me in ways no other novel has been able to, it set my soul on fire.
I cannot fault Wintersong, the characters, the plot; it all wove together in a delightful dark magic and elegantly wound itself around my heart, even though it gutted me. I cried for the characters, I cried for the life they would never be able to have.
I know there is a sequel in the works and I have my fingers crossed for a happy ending; I don’t know if my heart will ever recover if the sequel ends the same as Wintersong.
Thank you JJ for such a beautiful novel, I will honestly cherish it.