Cover image for Wintersong
1st Wednesday Books ed.
Physical Description:
ix, 443 pages ; 21 cm
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. --


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" Wintersong is a maze of beauty and darkness, of music and magic and glittering things, all tied together with exquisite writing. This is a world you will want to stay lost in." --Marie Lu, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Dark, romantic, and unforgettable, Wintersong is an enchanting coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and Beauty and the Beast .

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride...

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They've enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family's inn, Liesl can't help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away .

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds--and the mysterious man who rules it--she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rich with music and magic, S. Jae-Jones's Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won't soon forget.

"This was Labyrinth by way of Angela Carter. Deliciously romantic, with a nuanced Goblin King and a strong heroine, this story was rife with fairy tales, music, and enchantment." --Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen

Author Notes

S. JAE-JONES (called JJ) is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and erstwhile editrix. When not obsessing over books, she can be found jumping out of perfectly good airplanes, co-hosting the Pub(lishing) Crawl podcast, or playing dress-up. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she now lives in North Carolina, as well as many other places on the internet, including Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, Instagram, and her blog. She is the author of Wintersong .

Reviews 4

School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up-Eighteen-year-old Liesl has always felt inferior to her younger siblings. Her sister Kathe is beautiful and charming, and brother Josef is a musical genius. But when Kathe is kidnapped by the goblins and taken to the Underground, Liesl knows it is up to her to rescue her sister. The bargain Liesl makes with the Goblin King-exchange Kathe's presence with her own-is both rewarding and confining for Liesl. With the Goblin King she at last finds love and the freedom to compose as much music she wants, but she misses her siblings terribly, and longs to return to the home she knows. Although melodramatic at times, Eva Kaminsky's first-person narration lets listeners genuinely experience Liesl's feelings of angst, terror, jealousy, and wonder. While Kaminsky's breaths are often audible and it is hard to distinguish between some of the voices, she handles the often slow-moving yet always descriptive, lush, and lyrical writing with aplomb. VERDICT Fans of atmospheric historical fantasy audiobooks may enjoy, but this is an additional purchase for most libraries.-Julie Paladino, formerly of East Chapel Hill High School, NC © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Set in 19th-century Bavaria, Jae-Jones's debut tells the tale of 18-year-old Liesl Vogler, an innkeeper's daughter who dreams of being a famous composer but is resigned to a life of minding her siblings and helping her mother run the family business. When the Goblin King abducts Liesl's younger sister, Kathë, Liesl travels to the Underground and secures Kathë's release by agreeing to marry the King in her stead. Freed from her earthly responsibilities, Liesl can finally dedicate herself to her music, with the Goblin King serving as both collaborator and muse. But as she falls in love and finds her voice, the Underground begins to drain her life force, and soon Liesl is faced with difficult decisions. While Jae-Jones writes beautifully about the magic of love, the power of music, and the importance of free will, she gives short shrift to the more elementary aspects of her story. The plot meanders, the stakes are ill-defined, and the characters lack depth and verisimilitude, keeping the book from reaching its full potential. Ages 12-up. Agent: Katelyn Detweiler, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

Germanic legends and the Persephone myth blend with the Labyrinth film to deliver a torrid fantasy romance.When der Erlknig (or "Goblin King") ensnares a Bavarian innkeeper's daughter for his bride, her sister, Elisabeth, dares to rescue herand take her place. "Queer and strange and unlovely," Elisabeth devoted most of her 19 years to supporting her younger siblings. Now she can finally indulge her secret longings to compose musicand for the Goblin King himself. But at what cost? Elisabeth's first-person voice is all extreme passion: jealousy, self-loathing, frustration, rage, desire, rapture, and grief, expressed in lush prose that feels poetic in small doses but eventually becomes exhausting. Despite all the physical sensuality, it is the descriptions of music which are most compelling; perhaps because der Erlknig (an explicit David Bowie insert) remains shallow wish fulfilment, transforming from "austere young man" to mischievous playmate to rapacious lover to devoted swain, all with exquisite tortured angst. The remaining characters barely register; a hinted same-sex relationship between her brother and a black slave (seen as exotic in this white European setting) seems to serve mostly as a counterpoint to Elisabeth's romantic arc. Structured as a sonata, the final movement culminates in a bittersweet sacrifice that will leave readers either savoring the delicious tragedy or irked by the unresolved plot holes. Like fruit from the Goblin Market: luscious at first bite but ultimately overripe, cloying, and empty. (Fantasy. 14 up) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Jae-Jones follows up her best-selling debut, Wintersong (2017), with this introspective, ethereal sequel. Wintersong followed Liesl, a nineteenth-century Bavarian composer who journeyed to the Underground to rescue her sister, stolen away by goblins. There Liesl lost her own heart to the Goblin King. If the first book detailed the slow awakening of Liesl's passion and independence in the Underground, this second book is its mirror image: now Liesl must navigate the real world and her own worsening mental health as everything around her threatens to fall apart. Her violin virtuoso brother, Josef, has grown cold, his music lacking soul when he plays anything other than Liesl's composition Der Erlkönig. As Liesl struggles to reach him both physically and mentally, it becomes eerily clear that the Underground is encroaching on the real world, and that the Goblin King's choice to let Liesl go may have dire consequences on both their worlds. This neatly dodges some of the pacing problems that plagued its predecessor by shifts in perspective: Liesl's first-person narration gives way to third-person chapters from Josef's perspective and fable-like sections that illuminate more of the Goblin King's past. The all-consuming romance that dominated the first volume now takes a far backseat to Liesl's relationships with her siblings, her art, and her own mind. An elegant conclusion to a wholly original duology.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2018 Booklist