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In her debut novel WINTERSONG, S. Jae-Jones crafts a beautiful and mystic retelling of Labyrinth. This new dark, romantic debut will leave you utterly breathless.

Ever since she was young, Liesl has been a composing prodigy; however, she has always been pushed aside by her own family in favor of her brother whose musical talents have always outshined her own. Her greatest inspiration has always been the mysterious and mischievous Goblin King, who she has heard magical tales of all throughout her childhood, but as she grows older, she faces the reality that she must take care of her family, give up her composing dreams, and forget all about the Goblin King.

"With its elegant prose and enchanting world, WINTERSONG is delightful read for those wishing to lose themselves in a dark yet dreamy, magical world."

However, when her older sister, Käthe, is suddenly kidnapped by the Goblin King himself, Liesl ventures into the Underground --- the world of the goblins --- on a mission to rescue her sister and face her once muse. All is not as it seems, though, when Liesl and the Goblin King come face to face, and she is forced to make an impossible sacrifice that risks her life, her music, and the entire world.  

Jae-Jones’ brilliant writing lured me into WINTERSONG in an instant, and as a result, I devoured this book in a matter of a few hours. It was truly breathtaking how poetic and lyrical her writing was and how well it flowed. Reading her stunning prose was by far my favorite thing about this book. She was also able to craft the perfect image of the world of the goblins in my mind and left me wanting to explore this mystical world even more.  

As I followed Liesl throughout the story, I was amazed to see how much of a transformation she went through. In the beginning, Liesl considered herself to be the plain, forgettable, ugly sister who seemed so insignificant to the world around her, but by the end of the novel, that was not the case. The character growth she experiences throughout the book is incredible, and she truly comes out as a mature and confident person. Additionally, Jae-Jones especially emphasizes the fact that external beauty isn’t everything and a person can be important and wanted for more than that, which really shines through as Liesl goes through a major period of finding herself.

While I adored Jae-Jones’ writing, the pacing and plot felt a bit off. The novel seemed like it was divided into two distinct storylines that came off as somewhat separate and unrelated at times. The first half of the novel was intriguing and intense, which I loved. The second half, however, was rather slow paced and didn’t seem to focus on much besides the romance, which at times fell a bit flat. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed this book and think that those looking for a bit of an older and more mature YA fantasy romance novel will find this book perfect. 

With its elegant prose and enchanting world, WINTERSONG is delightful read for those wishing to lose themselves in a dark yet dreamy, magical world.

Reviewed by Makayla H., Teen Board Member on April 12, 2017

by S. Jae-Jones