My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thank you, St. Martin’s Press, for sending me an ARC of this book (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.
Down here, I have found myself. Down here, I have a space to be. It is a gift I never looked for, and I cherish it. —Elizabeth
Even though I didn’t know anything about Labyrinth, I was very excited to read Wintersong in light of its gorgeous cover. This book is going to be a stunning addition to my collection. #CoverLove
Content-wise, Wintersong managed to keep my attention. I was especially intrigued by the role of classical music in the story. Elizabeth and the Goblin King (my favorite character) were drawn to each other’s musical talent. Elizabeth was an exceptional composer of piano sonatas, while the Goblin King was a violin virtuoso. In totality, classical music was what made these characters special in my eyes. I myself am able to play the piano and the violin, so I was glad to finally read a YA novel that reflected my passion for intellectual music. I was so happy to find fellow fans of the amazing Antonio Vivaldi! (I believe the title of this book was actually inspired by his popular song entitled Winter.) My musical background also contributed to my enjoyment of Wintersong, which featured an abundance of Italian, musical jargon, such as pizzicato, adagio, sostenuto and more. In retrospect, some people might dislike the author’s obsession with classical music because it could restrict the full comprehension of her work to a particular audience. If you plan to read this book without knowing how to play an instrument, be sure to have a dictionary by your side. Otherwise, you’re gonna be hecka confused or annoyed.
Wintersong also intrigued me because some aspects of the plot were reminiscent of some of my favorite novels: Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Kiera Cass’s The Siren. How so? Like the former, Wintersong greatly emphasized the dilemma of finding one’s lost/kidnapped sister. And like the latter, Wintersong explored how Mother Nature both gives and takes. Objectively speaking, I was simultaneously beguiled and disappointed by these similarities.
Another interesting (if not peculiar) feature of this book was the author’s writing style. The majority of the book was written in the past tense. However, I eventually noticed that whenever things became intense between Elizabeth and the Goblin King, the author suddenly shifted to present tense. The reason for this phenomenon is probably related to the green theories of Sigmund Freud. I don’t want to cite specific passages in fear of spoiling anyone. You just have to trust me. 😉
I would have given this book five stars if Elizabeth wasn’t so insecure. Seriously, I lost count of how many times she put herself down by comparing herself to her beautiful sister and gifted brother. The first half of the novel was particularly annoying, because Elizabeth kept on calling herself ugly, forgettable, and invisible. I’ve never encountered a character with such an outstanding inferiority complex. Oh well, I don’t need to tell you who/what made her finally understand the value of inner beauty. 😉
The ending was what made me put Wintersong on my shelf of favorite books. No matter how hard I prepared myself, I ended up feeling overwhelmed by a heady mix of shock, delight, and longing. I know that this book is supposedly a standalone, but I would be more than willing to read a sequel.
*The featured image was contributed by Dessa Mae Jacobe (@dessatopia)