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Wintersong: A story of goblins

By Shayne Tyrpin, Staff Writer

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     After reading the synopsis for Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, I wasn’t sure I would like it. Since the cover was beautiful and plastered with appraisals that made reading it seem worthwhile, I decided to take a gamble. Never let me into a casino, folks, because I will never hit the jackpot.
Liesl grew up playing her violin for the Goblin King in the Goblin Grove, a clearing in the woods by her house. In addition to playing her violin, Liesl would play games and make careless gambles, not understanding the gravity of what she was promising the Goblin King. Now that she is grown, the Goblin King expects her to fulfill all that she had promised as a child.

     Years have passed, and Liesl has forgotten the Goblin King. She is now the least noticeable child of the town innkeepers. With a beautiful younger sister and a musically gifted younger brother, Liesl is often overlooked, yet she continues to put everyone else first.

     Liesl’s younger sister gets abducted one night, and it is up to Liesl to travel into the Underground to save her. Liesl has to sacrifice her musical compositions to the Goblin King, live with him and become his wife. She initially thinks she is doing this to keep her sister from suffering this fate, but she discovers that she is also keeping the world above ground from entering into an eternal goblin-infested winter.

     While living in the Underground, Liesl is given everything she needs to compose music. She is grateful, but has a composer’s equivalent to writer’s block. She needs inspiration to finish the piece of frustration that she started on her and the Goblin King’s wedding night, but the inspiration has not come.

     The beginning of this book is beautifully written. The first two pages captured my attention and promised not to let me down. They set up an innocent beginning to an ominous and romantic ending. This didn’t last long.

     Further into this book, the language started to sound pretentious. The author wrote details of things that don’t matter to the plot. I had to skip entire paragraphs of musical references that I didn’t understand. I was looking forward to the beautiful language in this book, but that, too, let me down.

      One of the most important things an author has to do is make their readers care about the characters, and I did not care what happened to Liesl. Her mindset is disgusting, she doesn’t do anything to alter her fate and she agrees to marry the Goblin King because she’s sexually frustrated. When she’s not being a disappointment, she’s usually moping around or thinking about something random, like the German language or musical terminology.

      Liesl claims that it is her duty to look out for her younger siblings, but she is jealous of them. Her brother is in the spotlight playing his violin while Liesl, though talented, remains in the background. Liesl’s sister is beautiful and flirtatious, and though Liesl claims to care about her, she slut-shames her. I understand Liesl is a rather plain character, but jealousy doesn’t look good on anyone. If she doesn’t like her position in the family, she should change it.

     I wanted Liesl to be the fearless heroine that walked into the Underground, with nary a backward glance. “She has to save her sister!” I wanted to declare to the pages. “She must be the Goblin King’s hostage in order to save the world! What a selfless act!” But I was dead wrong. Her motives are seedy.

     There’s a whole section of the book where Liesl is just wandering around the Underground bored out of her mind. She travels to the lake to look at it. Then she has a dress made. Then we learn about the Goblin King’s past brides and, though beautiful, how utterly ordinary they were.
Liesl is described as plain and she’s ridiculously bitter about it. Every time she sees someone beautiful, she remembers how plain she is by comparison. It seems like the author has some agenda to convince us that ugly girls are better simply because they are ugly, even if they have no depth.

     Once Liesl become “sexually awakened,” she is finally inspired to compose music like never before. I couldn’t help but stare confounded at these pages as this revelation unfolded. What kind of utter nonsense is this? I’ve never been trapped inside the head of a more aggravating half-wit.



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Wintersong: A story of goblins