Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones Review

Title: Wintersong
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Romance
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

I borrowed this book through my local library and reviewed it.

I'd heard about Wintersong the way I usually do about my books; I found it on a list of popular young adult books for the month of February. It's been sitting in my library stack for a while, waiting to be read. I wasn't sure what to expect, as this is Jones's first novel, but it certainly wasn't a Labyrinth retelling, with feminist overtones, set in beautiful, eighteenth-century Bavaria. The idea initially sounded odd, but I'm so happy with this book; it's easily, hands down, one of the best books of 2017. I can't wait for more from this highly talented, promising debut author!

Liesl is the forgotten, overlooked child in a family full of musical talent. She is used to her life, mundane though it is: taking care of her younger siblings, Kathe and Josef, cooking, cleaning, and running her parents' inn. But she longs for more, things forbidden to her because of her sex: to be a famous composer, to have a fruitful life making music.  But what she doesn't realize is, the legend of her childhood, Der Erlkonig, The Goblin King, has been watching over her since childhood. And he longs for a human bride. When Liesl's sister is taken, she journeys to the dangerous Underground to rescue her. Forced to participate in the magical ruler's games, the young woman discovers love, sexual awakening, and the meaning of the ultimate sacrifice...

I feel like I've been waiting my whole life for this book to be written. Labyrinth has always been one of my favorite stories, and to have a feminist, romantic spin on it? It was like a dream come true. I loved this novel. Easily one of my favorite books of 2017. I loved the world-building of this novel; The Underground was a dark, magical world full of promises and ancient rites, and I didn't want to leave, even when things got scary. The pacing was breakneck, the prose magical and beautiful, and most of all, I loved the characters, particularly Liesl. I really related to her a lot, and that was part of the reason I loved it so much. But wrapped up in it all is a dark romance, a fierce battle of wills, a playful, powerful treatise on the power of love and sacrifice. Jae-Jones also managed to take my heart and wring it out dry; by the end of the novel, I felt like I'd lost some good friends. I can't wait for more from this amazing debut novelist! One of my favorite books of 2017! The bottom line: A magical, powerful novel of love, sexual awakening, and the magic of music, Wintersong was seductive and captivating--I can't wait for more from S. Jae-Jones! Next on deck: Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields!

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