Author: S. Jae-Jones
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Published: February 2017
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary: 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.
Review: This book has been hot like wildfire on bookstagram the past few months so I knew I needed to definitely pick it up. Jae-Jones’ writing is so beautiful and thus far is comparable to the magic that authors like Stephanie Garber (Caraval) and Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen; A Crown of Wishes) have been able to create. I knew that whether or not I fell in love with the characters or plot, I would be mesmerized by the beautiful writing style.
Memories and emotions are central to the story line and are focused on much more than action events. This ties in well with the musical theme because what is music but an auditory art that is meant to invoke feeling and emotions. The unreliable nature of memories is brought forth throughout the book and characters must determine what is true and what is not. Their ability to do so has and will continue to shape their beliefs and person.
Things I Liked
- Music: I have always been music minded, definitely nowhere near to the extent discussed in the book, but it’s something I have always enjoyed. Music was the heart of this book and it sustained the main characters, storyline, and the world. It was such a unique idea that was so beautifully crafted that I couldn’t help but adore it.
- Liesl: I think Liesl is a relatable character to such a wide variety of people that you can’t help but feel for her- feel her pain of being overlooked. Her character is well-rounded and goes through a development process that isn’t straight forward, it’s all kinds of messy, which in turn makes her that much more relatable. Life is never a straight path- we have to take twists and turns and even wrong directions to get where we desire to be. Liesl was a refreshing character because she wasn’t particularly beautiful like her sister Kathe or even particularly nice like her mother. She was real. Most of the female main characters we see in YA books are either gorgeous and a badass or they are fawned over by multiple males. Thank you Jae-Jones for the refreshing change.
- The Goblin King: The Goblin King was probably both the most interesting character and the character we know the least about. He’s shrouded in mystery, darkness and death and one never knows what mask he’s wearing. I was left with several questions regarding the Goblin King and the Underground
Things I Didn’t Like
- I expected Liesl to question events and stories more. For example, she so easily believed that her Grandmother’s stories were true and coming to life but never stopped to think about how it was possible, etc. I wanted a bit more inquisition and investigation into matters, but hey.. there’s always book two (see below).
“The wishes we make in the dark have consequences …”
“Dangerous as a winter wind, which freezes the marrow from within, and not like a blade, which slashes the throat from without.”
“… I was not a child of beauty; I was a child of the queer, the strange, and the wild.”
“You are the monster I claim, mein Herr.”
“I am not gentle, I am not kind, I am rough and wild and savage.”
Did you guys see that the title, cover reveal, and excerpt from the sequel have been released?! How amazing! The cover is gorgeous!