Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae JonesWintersong by S. Jae Jones
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
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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.


*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*

Time did not stop for anyone, least of all me, but in that moment of our kiss, I found a little pocket of eternity.

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Wintersong is one of those books I worked really hard to get-trying every avenue and applying for every little ARC and giveaway until I got my hands on it. And, while I’m extremely pleased I got it, I can’t help but wish for more.

I’ll be honest and say I have no clue what to rate this book. On one hand, I loved the writing, the atmosphere,the absolutely amazing way the author described everything…but, on the other hand, there were moments when I was truly unhappy with the repetitive phrases (Ex: He was once again my austere young man, He wasn’t the austere young man, etc.), the lack of much plot (near the end), and the rather large focus on music.

I understood then what Constanze had meant when those doomed young ladies longed to hold on to him the way they yearned to grasp candle flame or mist. His beauty hurt, but it was the pain that made it beautiful. Yet it was not his strange and cruel beauty that moved me, it was the fact that I knew that face, that hair, that look. He was as familiar to me as the sound of my own music. This was the Goblin King.

NOW, hear me out-I don’t mind music in books-AT ALL-but, for quite a while, it felt like all the book had to offer. It based literally everything off their love of music, which is great, but then…not much else followed. For many, this may seem intriguing, and it was beautifully done, that’s for sure, but when the story doesn’t offer much else, I find it tends to bring me down-a lot.

In the world above, wishes were will-o-the-wisps: beautiful, but insubstantial and always just out of reach. Here in the Underground, will-o-the-wisps were very much real. Tricksy little creatures: sly, deceitful, but tangible. Touchable. My wishes had weight.

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That’s not to say I didn’t love parts-The opening was beyond words alluring, beautiful, and had me hooked from the moment I started. I didn’t quite grasp the first 35% per se, finding myself a bit lost at times, but I loved the direction it was going. And I must say, the end was my absolute favorite part of the whole story. There was romance, there was true love, or what I felt was the truest love of the book-besides sibling love-and a feeling so deep it drew tears to my eyes, even after battling over my true thoughts of this story.

His face was grave. “Are you willing to take that risk?”
An impossible choice. The life of my sister … or the fate of the world. I had thought my stakes were high, but I saw now that the Goblin King’s was even higher. “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, as you can see, I’m lost as to what to rate this. Do I go lower because of my pensive thoughts throughout? The pondering over and over again on what exactly to think? Or do I stay higher knowing that, in the end, my heart was content, my mind extremely satisfied, and my curiosity squelched?

This was the immortality humans were meant to have: to be remembered by those who loved us long after our bodies had crumbled into dust.

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This book was heartbreaking. It was beautiful. Dark, sensuous, but sometimes lacking substance and the depth I craved. It could be a bit cold at times, and then all of a sudden lyrical and addicting.

I guess all in all…it had everything I ever ask for in a book-It wasn’t too heavy, even for non-fantasy readers, but where it shined in lyrical beauty, it lacked in making me feel for our main character. I don’t think I ever once connected with her like I did Kathe, her sister. She had a brighter personality, something to hold onto.

So here I am at the end of it all…and I can only deduce one thing: I both loved and hated this book. I know many people will love this story…I’m just stuck in that horrid in between-still very confused.

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  1. Liam @ Hey Ashers!

    Ah, I’m disappointed to hear that it didn’t blow you away; it’s one of my most anticipated reads for the year. Your criticisms are things that would leave me a bundle off irritation, especially the uneven plotting and the failure to expand their relationship beyond the starting-point of a common interest. Bah. Well, I appreciate the warning, and I’ll be sure to temper my expectations before I pick the book up. Great review! =)

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      I know…I was so sad about it, especially because I had worked so hard to get the ARC! I could have focused elsewhere…oh well.

      Just stinks! I hope you find more enjoyment out of it than I did!

      Thank you, Liam! 😀

  2. Kim

    I had a difficult time with Wintersong as well. I gave it 3 1/2 stars, but I think I was in a generous mood that day. I didn’t really care for either Liesl or the Goblin King, but I did love the prose and world building. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      I know :/ I both liked and disliked many aspects…I truly struggled when trying to figure out what to rate this. It’s like, so many moments were amazing, and then the rest were blah. How can you possibly say that’s consistent? Bah.

      I had it as four on GR for a week…but ultimately I had to change it. Idk. Oh well!

      Better luck on our next read! <3

  3. Raven

    I was looking forward to read this book but after hearing so many mixed reviews about this book, I pretty much lost my interest so I have put it in my bottom of my tbr list this month! 😀
    Raven recently posted…February Most Anicipated Releases!My Profile

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      I know…I hate telling people to push it off, but it just definitely isn’t what I’d hoped it would be! I hope many people find enjoyment out of it , though.

  4. Christy Luis

    Aw, too bad about this one! I’ve been looking forward to reading it, too. Your example quotes tell me what I really needed to know about this book- it’s atmospheric, but lacking in depth. Probably not going to grab me the way I was hoping. Thanks so much for the helpful review!

    • Chelsea (Peril Please)

      Thank you!! I’m glad I can help, although I feel bad it’s so negatively.

      There were quite some swoony moments….but it lacked the depth I, myself, was looking for. Many people are responding well. I just have a very peculiar taste 😛

      Hope your next read is great! 🙂

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