Wintersong... A reminder of the '80s? - Reading List

Wintersong... A reminder of the '80s?

Friday, March 03, 2017

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

Maybe it is because I was born in the 1980s, but I am shocked that some of the fads that were iconic then are back... I mean my son just did a homework assignment about pet rocks...

That being said, I am starting to realize there were a ton of little bits that made the 80's the 80's that I had no clue about!

Specifically, I had no clue what Labyrinth was/is.  Granted, I know who David Bowie is, and I even know who Jennifer Connelly is, but that movie, well it never crossed my path. And my life has been fine. If you are shaking your head at me right now, I'm sorry!

Yet, the concept of a book that is full of music and mystery with an edge of darkness, caught my attention, and I had to be a part of it.  So I dove in, without realizing so many readers would already have an idea of who the Goblin King was... Do you? (If you are scrambling to search this on the internet to get an idea of what I am talking about, maybe wait.... and read the book first...)

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones


S Jae-Jones

Story Overview 

Elizabeth, or Liesl, has spent her life in the shadow of her little brother's (Josef) musical talent, or next to her gorgeous younger sister (Kathe).  She has pushed her own desire to compose music down so that she could be a dutiful daughter and sister. But when Kathe is lured into the Underground by the Goblin King, Liesl decides that saving her sister is worth giving up everything, including the tiny dream she still clings to of writing music that will be heard around the world.

While most of the story happening in Goblin King's underground realm, there is a long build up and introduction that is focus on the family dynamic. It is slow, but steady, and full of hints at the magic that allows for the changing of the seasons. Yet it's only a myth for the longest time. 

The story if full of darkness, magic, family love, sacrificial love, and hope for more. Mostly, this is a story that is unlike any other that are on the shelves today. 

Personal Likes

I fell in love with the music of this story. Liesl writes and plays the piano, while her brother and father play the violin. The technical points of music are spot on, and advanced, so it's nice to know that Jae-Jones did her homework, or is writing from her own wealth of knowledge (I probably should have found that out...) I found it fascinating that the Goblin King holds so tightly to his music, even when the power of the Lord of Mischief seems to have nothing to do with the beauty of song.

I enjoyed Elisabeth greatly.  She is not your typical female protagonist. She is plain, maybe even bordering on ugly at times, and she doesn't try to climb over people to elevate her status in life. She is simply focused on helping her family get the best out of life as they possibly can. Yet, she still longs for more - doesn't that just sound like a normal person?

And I want to know more about the Goblin King... even by the end of the book, I have more questions about him than answers... and I am pretty sure it has nothing to do with David Bowie.

Wintersong by S Jae-Jones

Personal Dislikes

The beginning was way too long. It was slow, and hard to really get into. Granted there were enough hints at what was to come that I kept reading, but compared to the second half, it was boring. I am not sure how to make it better, maybe a little less exposition in the first half, and more action?

I would have liked to have known more about Kathe. Since the first half of the book was all about Liesl's family, I wished Kathe would have been a more complex character.

Reading List Rating

I am giving this a four heart rating... maybe four and a half... because I am in love with the overall story. It's captivating, and I am already anxious to read the sequel (I have been told that there is one coming!). I can't give it five hearts though because of that beginning... but do not let that stop you. If any small part of the story intrigues you, pick it!

My Suggested Audience

So this book is tagged as YA, and to me, that's a little off.. I think it's more of a NA because of the level of some of the scenes. If I remember correctly Elizabeth is 18, which would put her just on the edge of the YA audience, and there are some extremely risque scenes near the end with her and Goblin King that most high schoolers probably don't need.... Not to mention all the darkness of the underground and goblins... well maybe that's fine... but still this is a more mature story line in general.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fantasy stories.  It is full of mystery, which helps get through the slow build up of the beginning. And if you are part of that die-hard Labyrinth fan group, I would love to hear what your expectations would be for a retelling.

Also, if you are a fan of fairy tales, you will like this one... think Brothers Grimm darkness with lessons and adventure... it's fabulous.

Wondering Questions to Consider

So the Goblin King deals with a great amount of guilt, without giving a ton of spoilers, just trust me... about how he must keep the goblins working in order to allow the seasons to change every year and support the humans and their world. And that guilt drives him into evilness that is amazing. I can't help but see how every person can fall into the same power of guilt when we focus alone on it and not on love and hope. While reading this story, it could be interesting to look at the power of guilt and the power of love... how the two repel each other and keep us on a spiral of up and down depending on how we focus on minds. 

I have to know, who has seen Labyrinth? What were your thoughts? Or how about music lovers out there? Who plays instruments? Who is moved by the power the music holds? 

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

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**** Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher, St. Martin's publishing, and Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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