Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
My Rating: ☆☆☆
Wintersong is about a girl named Liesl, eighteen years old and a composer. She writes music for her little brother, Josef, who is a prodigy on the violin and the other half of her soul, and she loves her younger sister, Käthe, who is beautiful and adventurous. The book begins on the night the old year dies, according to the calendar of the Underworld. It is a time when the threshold between the world above and below is thin, and this is the start of Liesl’s pull down to the Underworld and the Goblin King, and the beginning of her self-discovery.
Recommended if you like:
- Hades/Persephone inspired stories
- Teasing yet steamy romance
- Strong sibling relationships
- Classical music
My Spoiler-Free Review
This book is dark, creepily fascinating, infused with music. Although the overall experience wasn’t a perfect hit for me, there sure were some elements in this book that I don’t think I’ve ever read before.
Wintersong felt like a cross between Phantom of the Opera and Caraval. In fact, it had all the elements I had expected in Caraval and didn’t quite get when I read it earlier this year–Wintersong has strong sibling relationships that were prominent and relevant to the plot, mind-bending games that actually did confuse me, and true chemistry seen in the romance between Liesl and the Goblin King. After being let down by Caraval, it was nice to get these things out of the book even though I hadn’t been expecting them from Wintersong.
I certainly identified with Liesl, but I’m not sure I really connected with her, if that makes sense. She’s the older sister who isn’t extraordinary or amazingly beautiful; she easily fades into the background. I feel that on a deep level. But I didn’t quite connect with her and sympathize with her; I still saw her as the confusing, though selfless, and rather horny (lets be real here) girl that she truly was.
I think it came down to the writing and the plot. It was all very YA, if that makes any sense, though the book certainly had some more mature than YA moments. Events were a little all over the place, there really weren’t many secondary plot lines going on, and the world-building was practically nonexistent. If the whole book was developed just a bit more, and a bit more cleanly, I think it would have wowed me a lot.
That said, I did enjoy Wintersong. It only took me a few hours to read because I really was weirdly fascinated with what was happening and definitely wanted to know more about our dear, austere Goblin King. I also loved that music played such a big role as that’s something I can also identify with greatly and enjoyed reading about. I’m happy there will be a sequel because I wouldn’t mind more of a resolution to this story; it doesn’t quite feel finished yet.
Have you read Wintersong? What did you think of it? Leave your thoughts below!