“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.”
Ohhh Wintersong. I really feel so conflicted about you. I finished Wintersong last week after buddy reading it with a friend. I really loved so much of this book, there was a lot going on and the story felt like it had a lot of potential right from the beginning (although often it reminded me of The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden).
The imagery and feelings invoked by S. Jae-Jone's writing was absolutely and by far my favorite part of the book. I was enchanted through much of my reading and still thinking about the world she created between readings, lost in the Underground with Liesl. Liesl's music, her experiences and her memories all felt so very real to me.
What I found most frustrating was the disconnect between the first half of the book and the second. I would've loved to see Liesl and Kathe meet again at the end, after Kathe's character was given so much time and attention at the beginning. I kept wondering what was happening to her and was waiting for that reunion. I also felt that the back and forth between the Goblin King and the young man became a bit much, so frequent were the times he switched between the two (and without solid reason for why). I really felt his character had a lot more potential, instead of the rushed intimate knowing they finally had together towards the end.
In the end though, I appreciate so much of what S. Jae-Jones did with this story. The symbolism of Liesl having to go to the Underground to find herself and her music was not lost on me, I found it to be the perfect parallel to Liesl's conflict of self and the ending was fitting in that sense.
I would recommend this book with a hesitant explanation of that disjointed feeling, but with the promise that the writing will sweep you in and enchant you.
Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne Books