“What’s the use of running, if we are on the wrong road.”
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones is an eerie, poetic retelling of Labyrinth. First of all I wasn’t aware this was a retelling of Labyrinth or even what Labyrinth was – I literally just read the synopsis and immediately bought the book for my kindle. It’s only now that I’m reviewing it and was reading through some Q&A’s on Goodreads that I even realised it was a retelling.
I felt like I had a book hangover after finishing this book. While I wanted to rush through in one sitting I forced myself to read it over two days between studying for an exam.Yes that is 5 full stars you see above… this book was a very pleasant surprise.
Wintersong follows nineteen-year-old Liesl (Elisabeth) and the Goblin King (Lord of Mischief and Ruler Underground). While Liesl and the Goblin King were once close, Liesl’s responsibilities at her family’s inn quickly quash her dreams of composing music and her childish fantasies about the Goblin King. When Liesl’s sister Käthe is taken by the Goblins, Liesl must barter with the Golbin King to save her sister and return her to the world above. With no choice but to offer her hand in marriage to the Goblin King to save her sister, Liesl’s talents are finally able to blossom but there is a price to pay living Underground. As her life begins to drain away both Liesl and the Goblin King must decide what it most important: her life, her music or the well-being of the world above.
“This was the Goblin King. The abductor of maidens, the punisher of misdeeds, the Lord of Mischief and the Underground.”
Okay I know what your thinking… Goblins? To say the Goblins were sweet or charming would be a total lie. They were pretty horrible to Liesl on many occasions but I actually appreciated that Jae-Jones didn’t try to make them cutesy. The Goblin King reminded me of the Gentle Lord in Cruel Beauty. He was cunning and wicked but also had another side that occasionally shone through.
“How long before the moonrise?” I asked.
“Not long,” the Goblin King said. A grin spread across his face. “Not long enough for you to escape, at any rate.”
“You have to give me a chance.”
He crossed his arms. “No.”
“A gentleman would honor the rules.”
“Ah, but I am not a gentleman, Elisabeth.”
I didn’t like Liesl’s sister Käthe but thankfully she wasn’t at the forefront of the plot too often. I also didn’t really understand Liesl’s relationship with her brother …but when certain facts come to light towards the end of the book it made a lot more sense.
There is a very strong focus on music in this book. I loved it because I adore music and can play multiple instruments but for those who aren’t musically inclined the constant obsession over music might become tedious.
“You are the monster I claim, mein Herr.”
The writing in this book is amazing… the writing is poetic and flowery and I absolutely loved it. It had the same sort of feeling as Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge or Lament by Maggie Stiefvater.
I was surprised by the ending and felt it cut off quite abruptly but Jae-Jones is working on a companion novel that will hopefully provide further explanation. I’m also not so secretly hoping she releases a sequel… Hey, I can dream.
Sorry this has been such a rambling review but you really should consider reading this book. I’m so glad I did.
Thanks for reading!