Author: S. Jae-Jones
Release Date: February 7, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin (Macmillan imprint)
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.
Wintersong is deep and dangerous, magical and mysterious. Full of wishes and dreams. And sorrow.
Liesl hides in music, composing and creating masterpieces that will never be heard outside of her head. Outside of the room she and her younger brother play their music in. Because she's a woman. Because she's plain and weird. Because she's not as lovely as her flighty and foolish sister.
I do think some will see themselves in Liesl, will understand her sorrow and frustration. Compared to her sister, to her brother, she doesn't see the appeal in herself. She sees someone small, ugly, and hindered by her gender. She doesn't see someone to be desired, someone with skills and creativity to be praised. But she is, at least to someone. And it will take her great courage and bravery to see that, to look past her own self-doubt, to ignore the voice that claims his desire and need for her are lies upon lies.
This is a tale of magic and sacrifice, of family and faith. I was intrigued by the mystery and enchanted by the magic. And every do often, my heart twinged for Liesl. I just wanted her to be happy. This is what I expect from a fairy tale, from a story about a kind and awkward young woman with wishes and dreams kept secret from the world.
(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Raincoast Books.)