Liesl grew up on tales of the Goblin King. Tales spun by her grandmother and built on an old system of beliefs Leisl's own parents have long snubbed.
But when Liesl's own sister is taken by the Goblin King himself, she realizes the tales are all too true. Now it's up to her to sacrifice everything to save her beloved sister. But how can she outwit the ultimate trickster, much less one intent on finding and keeping a bride?
S. Jae-Jones combines elements of Labyrinth and the Persephone myth in her masterfully unique debut. But she turns both on their heads, basing it in an actual historical setting - well an actual historical setting for the pieces that take place in the "real" world, that is. And it's pretty cool, as well. Steeped in historical Austrian culture and music, the story makes use of folklore with a definite David Bowie leaning.
Liesl is the daughter of husband and wife innkeepers/musicians. But her father has long given over his own talent in lieu of the bottom of a bottle. Now the family fame and fortune rests squarely on the shoulders of Liesl's little brother, who is set to audition for a musician of extraordinary talent.
But Liesl has her own musical aspirations. Aspirations she keeps under lock and key and secret from everyone except her brother. Her hidden talents are what the Goblin King thirsts after. As it turns out (we learn in the prologue but it takes Liesl some time to remember), Liesl has known the Goblin King since she was a child.
But the Goblin King is a trickster. Liesl is the one he wants, but takes her sister as bait.
The imagery in Wintersong is amazing! The Underworld is at once beautiful and creepy, as evidence by the far away vs close looks at the decorations in Liesl's own chambers there. And again, the Goblin King is a trickster. But he allows Liesl herself to see the truth of things, increasing the horrors of the world tenfold.
For someone who grew up watching Labyrinth, the idea of a sort of Labyrinth retelling is awesomely appealing, but with understandable reservations. Readers, I have to say that S. Jae-Jones does the world and the legend justice, all the while making it 100% her own!
Wintersong is chillingly cool with just the right blend of dark fantasy and steamy romance to appeal to a broad audience. It doesn't officially hit shelves until next week, but trust me you'll want to hit your local bookstore that day to snatch up a copy!
For more on S. Jae-Jones and Wintersong, be sure to check out her website - especially this post about the origins of Wintersong.