BOOK REVIEW – Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

BOOK REVIEW – Wintersong by S. Jae-JonesWintersong by S. Jae Jones
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All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds―and the mysterious man who rules it―she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.


Oh no, no, no.  Wintersong was not the book for me.  I unfortunately found myself uninterested, so I easily put the book down quite a few times.  Then it took me days to force myself to pick it back up again.  Which made me SO sad, because Wintersong was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017.  *sigh*  So while I have a myriad of reasons why this book and I didn’t work out, here are my top ones:

✮ Labyrinth Let Down:

No tricks.  No cheating.  No taking away my memories.  No playing with time.  The Goblin King had broken his promises already.

I loved that movie, and I honestly have no clue how many times I watched it.  So when I heard that parts of this book were inspired by Labyrinth, I was excited.  Unfortunately, the parts that were reminiscent of the movie Labyrinth, were pale in comparison. The movie was captivating, enchanting and so unique to me.  And this book simply fell flat.  Whether it was the characters, the Underground, similar moments etc, none of it came alive.

✮ Too Much Music For My Taste:

Despite the anger and rage in its notes, the key was C major.  The shape of the first movement was there now, with most of its supporting structure fleshed out.  I played it on the klavier to hear it in full, but I could not adequately convey both the main part and the accompaniment with just two hands.

Just so you know, I love music.  I’ve played the piano since grade school, and I’m one of those people who loves to play by sheet music or even by sound.  And I also have music playing in the background all the time, it’s such a huge part of my life.  But there were too many parts of this book that drowned in music.  We would hear paragraph after paragraph about composing music, playing music, her brother and music etc etc.  It was overwhelming.  I wanted to skim those parts, but they made up such a huge portion of the story, so I couldn’t.

✮ Repetitive Words:

So many phrases and words were spoken again and again.  It become frustrating and annoying.  We heard time and again how she wasn’t beautiful, how she called the Goblin King – mein Herr or Der Erlkönig and even the austere young man, how they would think similar phrases countless times etc.  It grew tiresome.

✮ Couldn’t Connect Or Care For The Characters:

His eyes meet mine.  It is the austere young man who looks at me with a question in his gaze.

I tried my hardest, but I could never feel their emotions.  I wanted to feel their plight, to feel their conflict of emotions, but instead I felt nothing.  Like when Leisl’s (aka Elizabeth) struggled to find her sister, I never once felt her shock, sadness, disbelief, anger, or whatever emotions she felt.  And the same goes to when we were told that the Goblin King was showing this side and now that side of himself, I didn’t feel any of those emotions radiating off of him.  Nothing came across to me the way I hoped it would.

✮ The Romance I Couldn’t See:

“And what did I promise?” I whispered.
The Goblin King chuckled, and the sound rippled through my body.
“A wife, Elisabeth.  You promised me a bride.”

The final nail in the coffin for me, was that I never felt their pull to one another.  I understood their past and history, but I never saw why one wanted the other.  Well beside their common love of music.  I wanted to feel their passion, their chemistry, but instead I felt nothing.

“What will happen to you if I win?” I whispered.
A smile crossed his lips, but the corners were downturned, more sad than satisfied.  “You know,” he said.  “You’re the only one who’s ever asked.”
Then he vanished in a swirl of wind and dead leaves.

So I closed this book devastated.  Because I loved the idea that for the first half of the book, we were given a little reminiscence here and there of Labyrinth.  But Wintersong just didn’t work for me.  I will say that the writing is done beautifully.  Her words would flow so eloquently, and I hoped that would be enough to suck me back in, but alas it didn’t work out like that.  My opinion seems to be in the minority, so here’s hoping you can fall for this book where I couldn’t.

*ARC kindly provided by A Thomas Dunne Book for St. Martin’s Griffin via a Goodreads Giveaway in exchange for an honest review*

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  1. Kim

    I’m so sorry Jen.😔 But your review was awesome!💁🏻

    • Jen

      Thank you, Kim! Now I need to go re-watch the movie for the millionth time lol. 🙂

  2. Raven

    I was really looking forward to this book and so far, I haven’t seen a single positive review about this book so I’m not surprised to hear you not liking it. I think it’s time for me to kick this out of my tbr list. Loved your review btw!
    Raven recently posted…Adorkable By Cookie O’Gorman [Review]My Profile

    • Jen

      Me too! It was one of my most anticipated releases for this year. But it was such a huge let down in every way possible. I always feel sad when I have to remove books from my tbr, but this is one I wish I would have known about beforehand so I wouldn’t have had to read 400+ pages of this. 🙁

  3. Christy Luis

    So sorry to hear this! 🙁 I knew you weren’t enjoying it, but I had hoped it would end well for you. Thanks for the super helpful review, though- between your points and Chelsea’s, I’ve decided to skip this one. At least the movie still rocks! 😉

    • Jen

      I hoped it would end well too, but it just kept going downhill. 🙁 YES, thank goodness the movie still rocks! When I think about the Goblin King, it definitely will be David Bowie instead of the character in this book. 🙂

  4. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    Oh, now I’m glad I didn’t pick this one up for review. I’ve been having a rough run of books I’ve been bored with lately, and I would be sad to have another one.
    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction recently posted…Sunday Post & Giveaways Galore – 2/12/17My Profile

    • Jen

      I wish I wouldn’t have either. But I learned my lesson – when I have a favorite movie and there’s a book coming out that is supposed to contain elements from said favorite movie then proceed with lots of caution and probably read a preview on Amazon first. 😉

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