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Wednesday, 26 April 2017
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
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.
I'm really not too sure how I feel about this book. I really, really wanted to love it and I know so many people who where so blown away by it and gave it all the stars and really, truly loved it but...I just didn't love it as much as I thought I would. I was told that Wintersong is Labyrinth fanfic...my thoughts where bring it on. I love the movie Labyrinth. My dad's a huge Bowie fan so I listened to all his music growing up and saw the film multiple times. I could picture Bowie's Goblin King as I was reading so the author did a good job on that front.
The writing...was good. I liked the kind of musical quality there was with the writing sometimes, how some parts would rhyme that had nothing to do with lyrics. I'm not sure if it was done on purpose but in a book so focused on music it was a nice little touch to come across. The settings where vivid, from 18th century Germany, through to the decadent and rich Underground. The descriptions of some of the Goblin food in the Underground where suitably vivid and gross.
I was kind of torn with Liesl. I liked that she was a little bit different, a female composer in a world that wasn't all that kind to females. I felt for her with her feelings towards her siblings and how she felt about herself and on some points I connected with her. But she did bug me more than once with her behaviour and for someone who's painted and harped on about as being selfless she actually struck me as selfish way more than once, and she did seem to be a smidge on the dramatic side at one point in the story, figuring it was to do with the magic of the place, I rolled with it though. But I did stop liking her for a few moments throughout the book.
The thing with the book was that while I mostly enjoyed it, it never really grabbed me. It took me a while to pick it back up after I put it down. It seemed slow at some points, and dragged a little here and there. But then something would happen....and then it would drag again. The first half of the book will be very familiar to Labyrinth fans, so I enjoyed that for that aspect. Then there came the other half. While I liked the romance...I quickly lost interest in it in the second half of the book, and it was at this part that I started to lose interest again in general. I was intrigued about the Goblin King's past and his curse, but all the relationship stuff sometimes felt a bit too much.
Why? Because when Liesl doesn't get something intimate that she wants from dear old Goblin King, she got downright bratty and acted like a drama queen. There where temper tantrums, tears, "it must be because I'm ugly" reasoning, arguments, and like...he felt guilty and he was doing it for her own good and I know full well if the thing had happened she'd have been all ragey. I just didn't like it, and it was annoying, she basically acted like a complete child. And while I was intrigued by the Goblin Kings background...the Christian theme that sprung up was a complete miss with me.
I feel like the last part of the book was messy and confusing and all mashed together with a rushed ending and there was so much that could have been explored instead of having to read about Liesl's temper tantrums. Like I said...I was intrigued by the Goblin Kings background and how the title of Goblin King is passed on. We didn't find out how that happened. So much could have been done with Josef's real identity. I was intrigued by the previous wives and the tale of the first wife...but none of that was explored. And considering all the emphasis on what happened to the first wife...I was expecting it to happen at the end of this book, and would have been happier with that than the rushed ending we got. So much of this stuff was introduced in to the plot...but then that was it. It wasn't picked up on later like I had assumed, it was just dropped. Like I said...it felt like a lot of things where mashed together with no real goal in mind.
Overall, I feel like this was so hyped up to me that I had high expectations, and I feel like a lot of this could have been cut and edited to fix some of the problems before it was published. There where a few things I liked, but the last half of the book really marred those and dragged down the overall rating which is shame because I can see how the book could have been!