The Goblin King has always haunted Leisl’s dreams ever since she was a young girl. Now at seventeen, she has better things to hold on to than old folktales handed down from her grandmother. She has to take care of her family first by making sure the world knows of her younger brother, an extremely talented and gifted violinist who may be able to finally help her family out of their dire financial situation. All seems to go well until her younger sister gets whisked away by the very King she always thought wasn’t real.
Wintersong is the YA debut of S. Jae-Jones and tells a tale that fans of David Bowie’s Goblin King from the 1986 fantasy musical The Labyrinth will swoon over. Fantastical, adventurous and also heartbreaking, Wintersong is not only a love story between a human and the mysterious Goblin King, but also a story about growing up and self-discovery.
Liesl’s siblings have always overshadowed her all her life. Her younger sister Kathe was always known as the pretty one along with her younger brother, Josef who is considered the musical prodigy of their family. However, Liesl has a musical talent of her own that she hides because she believes it to be unworthy of notice until the Goblin King wants it for himself.
In order for her to truly accept her gifts, the Goblin King decides to kidnap her sister in a cat-and-mouse game, but it’s not just her talent that the king wants. There are secrets in the underground world including those about Liesl’s family that she must discover or else the lives of both the upper and under worlds will suffer. Liesl soon learns that there’s more to sacrifice and love than simply giving herself to the dark and mysterious Goblin King.
Beautifully dark and heart wrenching, the fantastical romance story enticingly presents the sexual tension-filled relationship between the two main leads, oozing the passionate obsessiveness of their forbidden love. Skillfully, Jae-Jones knows how to tease her readers with enough hot romance without writing smut.
While the world building is lush and beautifully crafted in the beginning, the underground system and world gets lost halfway into the book. More could have been explored with greater detail, especially certain fantastical revelations and key magical items to the story. Essentially, Wintersong is a heavily angst-filled romance with a female lead who learns how to empower herself in a world where women aren’t supposed to be seen or heard.