Book Review by Aarene Storms: Wintersong

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Liesl's grandmother makes sure that all the children in the family know the stories of the Goblin King: of his changelings, his love for bright human things, and the danger of letting the fae folk too close. And yet, when Liesl's sister is taken away Underground, she doesn't hesitate to offer herself as a hostage instead.

Gradually, the grim existence of life under the fairy mound begins to wear down even the toughest of humans -- they lose their sense of song, of taste, and gradually fade away as the goblins drain them of their humanity. But Liesl is different ... isn't she?

Some reviewers have compared this to the 1986 movie "Labyrinth" but of course the story of humans taken away underground by supernatural forces is older than Persephone herself. Students of folklore will detect faint traces of Thomas the Rhymer, Tam Lin, and even Rip Van Winkle, and each portion of the story is preceded with stanzas from Rossetti's "Goblin Market." 

The pacing is steady, with excellent character development for Liesl and her family, and also a nice amount of detail developing the various fae folk, especially the Goblin King -- who, despite his grounding in world folklore, probably looks a lot like David Bowie.

Minor cussing, some blood, violence, some sexual situations. Recommended for readers ages 14 to adult. This is first in a series but stands alone.

The events may not have happened; still, the story is true.  --R. Silvern

Aarene Storms, youth services librarian
Richmond Beach and Lake Forest Park Libraries, KCLS


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