This book can only be described as pure magic, for several reasons. It resonates with the soul.
A young girl forgot part of an important memory of her childhood. Nineteen years later, Liesl is an under-appreciated girl that seems to be doomed to remain the ugly shadow of her beautiful young sister and her talent brother. She lives to care only for others, not caring about herself at all. Growing up with stories of the Goblin King, Lord of Mischief seemed just like any other fairytales, stories that in time stop being listened to. Everything changes when her sister is taken by goblins into the Underworld and the Goblin King himself sets a challenge: she has to rescue her sister and give her life in exchange for her freedom. As her relationship with the King grows, her life grows short. The wheels of fate and choice are set in motion: to stay and die or to live at the cost of her music?
This novel is a pure work of art. The writing style is breathtaking and slowly but surely it sings to the readers’ soul. The words are like music notes that play quietly in the distance and they bring out the longing and the nostalgia of memories that are half-forgotten. It’s like reading poetry but in verse. S. Jae-Jones revealed herself to be an enchantress of words.
The plot is unique and developed in a unique way. It’s a strange world where reality and illusion meet and, from the beginning, the reader isn’t supposed to try and distinguish them. Wintersong is imagination, a vivid dream and it’s so well described that it pulls you in right from the first page. Everything that happens in the story and even the descriptions of rooms, the forest and Liesl’s home, they all mean something. The symbols are there so the reader can interpret them and the author leaves them that freedom. The scary part is that, in the end, everything just leads to the same ending. It’s a tale of remembrance, loss of innocence, sacrifice and acceptance, not only of the circumstances but also of one’s self and our individual value.
The characters are just as unique as the story. Liesl is an incredible heroine and she isn’t the typical fair maid that needs rescuing. She is a real, unpolished young girl that couldn’t be more of an opposite to her family and their ways. On the contrary of her sister that is known for her beauty and her arrogant, spoiled character, Liesl doesn’t mind staying in the shadows with her self-doubt, her jealousy and her desperate desire to be noticed. She isn’t pure, at times she’s cruel, but that’s the way humans are. She needs to be broken in order to find her true self, to go beyond social barriers, expectations and most of all, her own self-doubt.
The characters are good and evil, innocent and devilish, self-absorbed but selfless too. The Goblin King, the main male protagonist, is also a victim of a trick of fate and destined to be judged by a title he never desired. He’s a tragic figure, bond to live eternally alone, in darkness. There are no heroes and no villains in this story.
This book will mark its reader deeply, for its melody, its soul-felt story and beautiful characters. I can’t recommend it highly enough.