Book review: Wintersong

  • Mar. 18, 2017 12:30 a.m.

Wintersong: A Novel by S. Jae – Jones

YA Fiction

Published: Feb. 7/17. St. Martin’s Press

When reading the novel, Wintersong, reality is something that is not always present. It tears down the barriers of reason until you are lost in illusions, sinful thoughts and deeds, shadows and light. Just when you think you finally grasped it, it slips through your fingers. S. Jae-Jones’ raw, yet lyrical writing takes readers away to mystical, filled with characters who are good and evil, tainted and pure, and cunning and innocent. The story isn’t only magical but mysterious and riveting – exploring many heart-felt topics such as the bond between siblings, sacrifice, and self-acceptance.

The story takes place in Bavaria around the 19th century. Elisabeth (AKA Liesl) is the eldest of three children and let’s just say she feels as if she’s living in her sibling’s shadows. Her brother is training to become a master violinist and her sister is claimed the “beautiful” one between her and Liesl. Because she is a girl, her father doesn’t support her gift of creating beautiful music compositions – instead she should be focusing in helping out with the daily work.

The children’s superstitious grandmother had told the children the legends and tales of the handsome, yet dangerous Goblin King. As the saying goes, “This last of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…” Well this legend becomes true when Liesl’s sister is the next bride and kidnapped by the Goblin King. Liesl sets on to try to save her sister, but to do that she’ll have to unveil a whole new underground world.

When she does come face to face with the Goblin King, well, it is not what readers will be expecting. They will soon discover that he is a tragic figure who is cruel yet tender, both hero and a villain, and young but ancient. There is a deeply guarded secret surrounding the King and Liesl is determined to figure out what it is — who he really is… or was (readers get only tiny glimpses of his past). He plays the violin, while taking solace in the Underground’s chapel. Their love of music and both feeling trapped is what draws Liesl and the Goblin King close.

It’s hard to truly describe this fascinating poetic story. Lovers of fantasy will definitely enjoy joy this. Think of this is a mix of The Phantom of the Opera and Beauty and the Beast with a twist.

Red Deer’s Kirsten Lowe is currently studying English and History at Athabasca University.

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