Book of the Day - Wintersong by S. Jae Jones
Genre: YA Fantasy.
Themes: sacrifice, sisterly love, self-discovery, destiny, true love.
Inspired by The Goblin Market by Cristina Rossetti, and Jim Henson's Labyrinth, Wintersong is the story of a girl in 1700's Bavaria who is inwardly desperate to discover and define herself as more than an innkeeper's daughter, although societal mores and familial expectations have beat her dreams into submission. Liesl is haunted by her broken dreams to be a composer; and also by a story from her childhood, about an underground world of goblins and magic, ruled over by a beautiful and terrible king. When her sister is stolen away by the magic she once thought a mere childhood fable, Liesl must undertake a perilous journey into the heart of a long-forgotten and mysterious world, to rescue her sister and save herself in the process.
As a YA writer, I'm thoroughly invested in the projects of my colleagues in the YA literary community... I was beyond excited when this book came out early this past year, as the author was very outspoken about drawing inspiration from Labyrinth, one of my favorite movies of all time. That said... this book is not Labyrinth. It has its very own dark, lyrical and magical voice. Liesl, as a heroine, is flawed, insecure, and entirely relatable; she is also devoted, selfless and brave. Her foil, the book's primary antagonist (I don't want to give too much away!), is surprisingly relatable while retaining his aura of mystery and power, and the way Jae-Jones approaches his character is inspired where it could have felt flat and one-dimensional. As a whole, through its fully-realized story and characters, this novel will pull you into the lush, gorgeous world the author has ably created. AND it's Book One of a duology! (the sequel, Shadowsong, comes out early 2018).