Book Review | Wintersong

Title: Wintersong
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Publication: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Thomas Dunne
Source: Received an E-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review -- Thank you!!
Series: No

Rating: 3.5-4 out 5 stars

Synopsis | Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
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.

-From Goodreads

*Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my feelings on the book. All opinions are my own.

Review: There's an atmosphere to this novel that completely took me in from the very beginning. There's something about the writing and the world that completely immersed me into the story. Jae-Jones did such an amazing job creating a world, with the rich descriptions and integration of the very culture that Liesl is a part of. Not only Liesl's world, but the Underground was also so rich in detail and livelihood that it felt real. This beautiful writing and elaborate descriptions were one of my favorite parts of Wintersong. 

Another aspect so well done was the characterization of each and every character in the book. Jae-Jones did such an incredible job with the characters. Every single character, even side characters were so well developed and alive in a way that I haven't encountered in a book for awhile. Even the side characters had their own arcs through the story as well done as the main characters. It gave an elevated realness to the story that made the characters feel real. This wonderful characterization was another element that made it easy to be transported into the story.

Speaking of the characters, I can't do this review without talking about the romance. The romance was so steamy and swoony. Which I wasn't really expecting, but was a part that I was definitely happy to see. I can't resist a good swoony romance. Just a note, that there are some details during some romance scenes that make this an older YA novel.

While the romance had some great aspects, there's also a part of it that felt a bit disjointed to me. It felt choppy at some parts. To explain, there would be some parts that felt like they were progressing in their relationship but then it would seem to jump back to square one with nothing in the plot implying that should have happened. I'm not sure if there were some parts I was missing or not connecting with but while I think the romance was swoony, I couldn't get completely past this disjointed feeling I had when reading it.

The story itself took me away every time I picked up the book. There were some slow parts, the middle of the book was a bit slow as it focused more on character development than plot. This slow feeling could have been me, since I'm a big mood reader. Although it felt a bit slow, it didn't keep me from reading or even thinking about putting the book down. The writing and richness and character development kept me going. And I loved the addition of music into the story. Music brings things alive, and this was yet another part of the book that really brought it to life for me.

Overall I highly recommend this if you like dark fantasy, swoony romance, wonderful world-building and writing full of richness.

Have you read this one and if so, what did you think of it? What was a favorite aspect of the book for you? Did you enjoy the musical aspect of the story?