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.
My Goodreads rating: ★★★★☆
I am so glad the sequel to this has been announced, because I need it.
WINTERSONG is a fantastic coming-of-age story, crossed with historical fantasy. Liesl is not a likeable protagonist by any means, and nor is the Goblin King, but I found myself rooting for them – Liesl especially – for most of the book.
The writing is lovely and I love the way music is woven into the storyline. I also love the mythology of the Goblins. They’re not something that is seen in YA books often, so it’s really nice to see them portrayed here!
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