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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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Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

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*

Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae Jones

Book Review: Wintersong by S. Jae JonesWintersong by S. Jae Jones
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

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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