Rating: 5 stars
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Retellings, Romance
“You are the monster I claim.”
Dark and poetic.
Frightening. Seductive. Beautiful.
I claim this beautiful tale, I claim the sorrow, the dreams, the wildness, the magic, the darkness and the pain that consumed me.
I loved it.
“Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood.”
But the girl grew up, and forgot about the boy. She continued her life as if he never existed, she kept her family together, composed her music in the dark and wished, for attention, for desire, for greatness. For a world where she was the protagonist and not the one hiding behind her siblings. But the boy remembered. He waited in his gloomy kingdom, until he ran out of patience and kidnapped the girl's sister, in order to lure the girl into his cold and cruel domain. They became enemies, friends, strangers, lovers, but their story was not meant to have a happy ending. Unless they made one for themselves.
“Now the days of winter begin, and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride.”
Liesl's story was indeed a Wintersong. A half-remembered lullaby, sang softly in a cold, white night that filled you with longing and nostalgia, a music your mind could not fully comprehend but a part of you recognized. When you dive into Wintersong, reality is not something concrete. Just when you think you finally grasped it, it slips through your fingers. You can't read it with your eyes nor your brain. It tears down the barriers of reason, until you are lost in a tempest of images and illusions, sinful thoughts and deeds, shadows and light.
You read it with your soul.
“There is music in your soul. A wild and untamed sort of music that speaks to me. It defies all the rules and laws you humans set upon it. It grows from inside you, and I have a wish to set that music free.”
Liesl's story was sheer magic. Devious goblins, a Lord of Mischief, a kingdom underground, a set of laws that demanded the greatest sacrifices. And this different, mystical world, despite its lack of colour and life, was fully capable of bewitching you. S. Jae-Jones's narration was both raw and lyrical, her characters good and evil, tainted and pure, cunning and innocent. Liesl was a puzzle for me, I liked her and hated her at the same time. She was too selfish, jealous, too self-absorbed, too shallow, too vain, too real. She wasn't a heroine polished by her noble deeds, she was broken in order to find herself. And the Goblin King? A tragic figure bound by immortality, cruel yet unexpectedly tender, a hero and a villain, young and ancient, pious and sinner.
“The kiss is sweeter than sin and fiercer than temptation. I am not gentle, I am not kind; I am rough and wild and savage.”
Liesl's story was a lament. An ode to things lost and found, to love, to art, to tears and to laughter, to music itself. Liesl's grandmother advised her to beware the goblin men and the wares they sell, but I say give in. Taste Wintersong. Covet it. And let the winds of winter warm your heart.
“Once upon a time, there once was a great king who lived underground...”
*ARC generously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*