Juli's Reviews > Wintersong

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones
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really liked it
bookshelves: popsugar-2018

I really enjoyed this book. The folktales of Der Erlkönig hit home, quite literally. :) I'm going to ruminate about the book a bit more and write a longer review later.

Ok, here we go. First of all, I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for recently sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

This was a very personal story for me. I have vivid memories of middle school where we had to memorize and discuss Goethe's poem 'Erlkönig'. For anyone not familiar with it, get on that. It's beautiful and haunting and dark and romantic; as much as human suffering can be romantic. I loved reading this poem in school and I recited it with gusto. Goethe to me is a genius when it comes to taking scary things and making them feel attainable, relatable, and even something I would want in my life (I'm looking at you, Faust!). The author had a lot to live up to choosing the story of the Erlkönig as her topic.

Well, Jae-Jones took those same sentiments I felt in middle school and put them in this story. And she did it amazingly well! I am very critical of everything related to Germany and I have a soft spot for folklore, especially dark and mystical tales. So, my expectations were high and she met them! Liesl's character was complex, weird, and so very human. Der Erlkönig was everything an antihero should be - brooding, stubborn, handsome, scheming, yet so lovable. I really enjoyed their relationship, driven by music and mutual understanding. It is so special when you meet someone who just gets you for who you are!

Jae-Jones also showed a deep appreciation of weird German stereotypes, random pagan believes, and historically relevant events weaving them in perfectly into the story without it coming off as pretentious. I also have to assume she knows music - playing music, composing music, or just greatly appreciating it. I am probably the opposite of that (so not musical at all!) but yet I could follow Liesl's and her family's passion for it. I was able to understand the process of making music, drawing your inspirations from your surroundings, digging deep to give it emotion and meaning as well as the pain when the one thing you love gets taken away from you. The author really portrayed that beautifully.

Some reviews liken this novel to Labyrinth and don't get me wrong I love David Bowie like the next peculiar girl but I believe this book was truly inspired by Goethe's poem. There was too much German in the story to deny that. Plus, so what, even if the author wrote the story with Labyrinth in mind, she made it her own, and that's what counts.

P.S.: I am most impressed that Jae-Jones was able to believably use many variations of people's first names (Josef, Sep, Sepperl etc - something that is especially common in Bavaria) and many German sayings without it being disruptive to the story.

See my blog (spoilers possible!) here: https://ichleseblog.wordpress.com/201....
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Reading Progress

December 4, 2017 – Shelved
December 4, 2017 – Shelved as: to-read
February 11, 2018 – Started Reading
February 11, 2018 –
February 12, 2018 –
February 13, 2018 – Finished Reading
February 28, 2018 – Shelved as: popsugar-2018

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Kayla YAY!

Heather - hturningpages Yay! I am glad you liked it and I totally agree! :D

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