Sunday, April 9, 2017

Staff Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

If you were a child in the 80's or 90's, you are probably familiar with the Jim Henson movie Labyrinth starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly. You might have gone through an obsessive phase and written fanfiction about the movie, and it is possible you still have the movie memorized. I am definitely not speaking from experience or anything. Nope, not me.

So, ANYWAY, when I saw the following quote about Wintersong from the author, S. Jae-Jones, I knew I had to read it.
"In November 2013I decided to write 50 Shades of Labyrinth for NaNoWriMo. The rest is history."*
Wintersong is a pretty obvious play on the themes behind the movie Labyrinth, but it draws inspiration from many other cultural touchstones. The Phantom of the Opera, the works of Mozart, Rossetti's Goblin Marketeven the classic fairy tale of Beauty and the Beast.

If the "50 Shades" description is a turn-off for you, fear not. This book is firmly in the Young Adult category, and while there are some sexy-ish scenes, there's nothing above PG-13. It's definitely not erotica. It's also set in Bavaria in the 19th century, so there's a more repressed emotion and longing than anything else.

Liesl has always been the one to look after of her sister Käthe and brother Josef. Her father is a drunk and her mother works too hard, but Liesl puts her family first. Though she believed in der Erlkönig (the Goblin King) as a young child, she has outgrown the old superstitions. When Käthe is taken by the Goblin King, he makes a wager with Liesl. It's up to her to find Käthe in the Goblin Kingdom and get her back to safety. The question is, will Liesl be able to do it? And what will happen if she loses the game?

I got lost in this book. The characters are rich, and there is enough suspense to keep you turning the pages. S. Jae-Jones has a way with words, and the world she creates is one that you want to live in. Macmillan have already announced a companion novel due out next year. Is it 2018 yet?

- Libby, Youth Services

If you like Wintersong, try these:

Beauty: a retelling of the story of Beauty & the Beast by Robin McKinley
As Old As Time by Liz Braswell
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

* No, really, she said that.

Look at this man and tell me you didn't have a crush on him when you were 13.
You didn't?
I don't believe you. 

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