27 September 2017

Wintersong // A Breath-taking Read I Wanted To Reread As Soon As I Finished

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Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones
Published: 7th February 2017

Source: Bought

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

My Rating:
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.
Wintersong has been on my shelf since its release. I was so excited for it. Everything about the book looked like it would tick my boxes and when I got it (both on Kindle and a physical copy) I allowed it to gather dust. There was no reason for it. I was no less excited once I got it but I just wasn’t in the right mood for reading at that point. Now, several months later, I was ready.

I adored every page of this magical book. It is not fast-paced. It is not action-packed. It was heart-wrenching and heart-breaking and utterly a work of beauty. It’s a book filled with flawed characters and flawed people learning who they are, what they love, and who they wish to be. I was sucked in from page one and when it ended I just wanted to go right on back to the start and reread.

I was sucked straight into this story and the magical writing. The words are almost musical, there is a rhythm to the writing. If I knew more about music I would describe the pacing in musical terms but I do not and I currently can't be bothered to google it. It's safe to say a love of music is apparent throughout this book. I wanted to listen to all the classical music whilst I read and the care for the music within the book is obvious. It’s not stated that Liesl loves music, but it’s obvious within every word the characters who have music in their blood and those who do not.

This is a character-driven book and Liesl was not always the most sympathetic character. She is jealous and melancholy. She is prone to self-pity and self-loathing. She doesn't see the light and beauty within herself and that is frustrating to read as she caring and talented and so willing to sacrifice her own needs for others. Even when she acts selfishly there are grains of goodness in it. I both loved and hated her and she was spectacular. It was only after I finished reading that I learnt that the author actually made Liesl bipolar like herself and so the mood changes within Liesl and her ups and downs. Her obsession with creating perfect music and then her dispassion at other times becomes understandable and I really do think that was done brilliantly. When Liesl is up she is magnetic and charming and you love her dedication to what she does. She is fascinating. When she is down she is moody and prone to self-pity and at those times it’s very easy to dislike her.

As for the Goblin King, he was swoon-worthy and brilliant. He was awful and mischievous and utterly captivating. I understood the fascination with him and I wanted to learn all of his secrets. He seemed so utterly different at times. There was the Goblin King of Liesl’s childhood who was sweet and played games with her but could be trusted. Then there was the wicked king who stole Liesl’s sister away and forced her to follow him to her kingdom. The one who played games and deceived Liesl constantly. And then there was the one who just wanted Liesl to open up to him, to share her music and believe she is more than she thought of herself. That she deserved more and could be more. It was that final Goblin King who didn’t always show himself but was always there who I loved. He was so much more than he appeared and I know Liesl saw it too, had seen it when she was younger. The romance between him and Liesl was breath-taking, I adored seeing their feelings develop with one another. I was there cheering them on every step of the way. It was amazing and the romance is the element I adored. It made the book for me.

Whenever I put this book down it was constantly on my mind. At first, I thought I wasn’t too absorbed in the story due to the slow start as the story developed but it's one of those books which holds your attention even after finishing. I wanted more and got just enough. It was brilliant and fantastic and I loved every page. Every word. Just everything. I'm glad I read it and it has been firmly placed within my favourites to be reread continually until the next book is out.

Is there a book you waited far too long to read and utterly adored? And have you read Winterson, do you agree with my take on it?

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