Note: AMWAP Reviews are a thing I made up. Each book review is exactly the same amount of words as number of pages in the novel being reviewed. I like to challenge myself to read a few books a month, but don’t always write a review. If there’s a book you would like to see reviewed, leave it in the comments! -Katie
Length: 406 Pages, The following review: 406 words
Jae-Jones’ debut novel is a dark, romantic fairy-tale for young adults that combines traditional folklore with modern themes of self-discovery. Nineteen-year-old Liesel seems plain and responsible, but she has a wild streak, and a fierce talent, buried beneath her familial duties. As a child, she danced to the music in her head and played games with a mysterious boy whom she pretended was the Goblin King. As years pass, she grows into a stifled composer living under the shadow of her beautiful sister and gifted brother. When her sister is taken to the Underworld by the (very real) Goblin king, Liesel must accept the reality of her childhood imaginings. Armed with tenacity, Liesel travels to the Underground, where she discovers that the Goblin King and his domain are more complicated, and more connected to her own passion, than she ever would have guessed.
It’s a tale as old as Hades and Persephone. And it’s undeniable that S. Jae-Jones took blatant inspiration from Phantom of the Opera and Labyrinth, too. Honestly, there are a few times when it’s a little too much. For instance, Wintersong’s Goblin King bears an uncanny resemblance Bowie’s Goblin King (down to the two differently-colored eyes). Still, Jae-Jones expands this character in ways that makes him angsty and interesting in his own right. In fact, character development is something that this author does really well. The main character, Liesel, toes the line between complacent young woman and fiercely-passionate feminist in a way that will resonate with almost any female reader. Her relationship with music, too, is evocative and unique. Ultimately, this protagonist’s complexities, and her unexpected decisions throughout the book, give this story a fresh spin. The author’s writing is lyrical and descriptive with some unnecessary repetitions. I enjoyed her style, though it is not for readers who prefer more action-driven writing. My main criticism of this novel is that the pacing seemed slightly off. With minor tweaking and editing, this book had enough plot to be two separate novels. As it is, the story comes across as a little unbalanced.
This novel is labeled as YA, but I actually think there is more there for the emerging New Adult audience (twenty-thirty somethings). Adult lovers of music, fairy-tales and dark romances will gobble up this escapist novel with hidden depth. Wintersong renewed my inner-teenager’s passion for Labyrinth and Phantom of the Opera, while giving me some brand new characters to love.