Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones // Utterly Disappointing

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones // Utterly DisappointingWintersong (Wintersong, #1) by S. Jae-Jones
Published by Thomas Dunne Books on February 7th 2017
Genres: Fantasy (YA), Fairy Tale Retelling
Pages: 436

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.

Well, hey there! This is my first official post. I know, it took me a few days after that “I’m back from hiatus” post, but I needed some time to get back into the post-writing game. Know what I’m sayin’?

Anyways, I’m coming at you today with a review of the first book I finished in 2018! This book has been raved about and recommended to me by almost every single person I talk to on bookstagram. So, naturally, I loved it, right?

Wrong. Wintersong was such a disappointing first read of the year. 

Featured in photo: Book sleeve from Book Keeper

As a disclaimer before you read my negative review: This book references music a lot. It doesn’t just mention them playing an instrument, it uses terminology that my musically inept brain does not know, and a lot of the main characters “emotions” (in quotations because I still don’t feel like she had many) were represented during the times music was mentioned the most. I just didn’t dig any of the music sections, so, you know, that says something about the rest of my review.

Phew, okay, that was a long-winded disclaimer, but I hope you’re picking up what I’m laying down.

This book was excruciatingly slow, with what felt like a build up, but turned out to be nothing. Let me demonstrate my thoughts with my Goodreads updates (semi spoiler-y):

To answer my question, no, it did not get explained except maybe she’s so insecure and desperate for a man that she goes for the first one available. Ah, but I digress. My point of sharing that update was to show that by 55% into the book, sure, lots of things had happened, but there was no hint to what it was leading up to. Essentially, the book could have ended at 55% because the rest of it was a pretty pointless downhill tumble to the most anti-climactic ending ever.

As for the characters, I wasn’t connected whatsoever to any of them. I honestly don’t know how to explain it, I just didn’t want to read about them. I felt like I was skimming a lot of the book (which also had to do with the music elements) and I didn’t even care when “emotions” or, honestly, lack thereof would be attempted.

I’m being mean, but cut me some slack, this is the first book I’ve finished since November 6th! I felt cheated since it came so highly recommended.

but hey, it’s signed!

I didn’t want to go into too much detail about my issues because of spoilers. So, if you’ve read this, please comment so I can vent! If you liked it, make your case. Maybe I missed something great with this book  😀 

Rating Report
World Building
Overall: 1 / 5

Comments are the best! Let's chat!

18 thoughts on “Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones // Utterly Disappointing

  1. oh no, so sorry it was such an unstatisfying read! that romance seems really shady, problematic, and forced… i would definitely not reading this book! i hope your next read will be amazing molly, don’t let this book put you back in a slump! 😀

    1. Ok, it was SO toxic and problematic to me. I mean, SOME of his bad behavior is somewhat explained but not really? Honestly the whole plot just doesn’t make sense to me. But oh well haha and IT DIDNT YAY! I finished Stalking Jack the Ripper after it and LOVED that one so no slump yet lol

  2. Heyyy you’re back! Love the new look 😍 oh no, I have this but only read the first chapter before I switched to another book, I thought I wasn’t in the mood for it but I’ve seen a lot of bad reviews…

  3. I’m so sad that you didn’t like this as it was one of my favourite reads of last year. I get why you haven’t enjoyed it, I admit the pacing of this book was glacial and I felt it was far more a character study at times but I was utterly absorbed by it. I admit I felt I would have had an even greater appreciation for this story if I had any musical understanding but even so it was enchanting to me. I think the style of writing appealed to me. It also helped that I knew part of the story was Liesl and her bipolar but that is never stated I only know that as the author said that she wanted to include that but knowing that going in made me appreciate the character of Liesl far more. Not everyone reacts to books in the same way and so I totally get why Wintersong went wrong for you, if you don’t get sucked in by the writing then this is a difficult book to enjoy because part of my enjoyment was the musical writing and how when Liesl was manic the writing was energetic and all over the place and when she sank into depression the writing reflected that (at least for me).

    1. Ahh yeah it’s possible that if I had known that going in I may have looked at her character a bit different. I also just didn’t notice any writing style changes throughout but, again, there were times when it almost felt like I was skimming things haha

  4. I just finished reading Wintersong and I didn’t like it either. For me, the pacing was a problem, but the romance bothered me the most. I think the slow (and nonexistant plot) was a product of the focus on the romance. The Goblin King was LITERALLY THE ONLY THING she thought about. There were only angsty thoughts and music thoughts. I really liked the music thoughts, even though I am not exactly a music person. The world-building was severely lacking for the whole goblin world, but I liked the development of the music and above-ground culture. But other than that, the characters and romance dominated the story and I didn’t like either. It was hard to like Liesl when she literally only thought about two things and the Goblin King himself was too aggressive and wishy-washy for me to actually buy into the romance. I was really excited to read about goblins since they aren’t really present in YA, but this book did not do them justice.

    1. I think your whole comment is 100x better than my review haha I agree with all of that. The romance was terrible. I didn’t like the goblin king character at all. And yes, I was intrigued by the goblin aspect too but it did not deliver.

  5. I felt like all the technical music terms just blur what we must feel reading it. I don’t know how to explain, but it was like trying to read feelings on someone wrapped in fog. If it were heavy in music, not technical music, I’d love this side of the story more, I think. I’m like you, I would have been happy with it if it stopped halfway in. I’d actually like the first part! but, except for the Goblin King history, the second part was boring and so unnecessary. I was tired to see Liesl and the Goblin King play husband and wife. ( the steamy scene was so awkward. 🙈)

    I’m happy I’m not the only one on this boat. 😅

    1. I couldn’t agree more with everything you said. It was kind of like wrapped in fog. I totally get what you’re saying because it was SO hard to connect with anyone and I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere with every page I read. 🙈

  6. Oh no I’m so sorry this was disappointing! I actually expected to feel the same as you do now when I started reading, but I ended up loving it. It was slow, but I thought it was gripping all the same – and thought-provoking.
    Great review 🙂