Tomas Dunne/St. Martin’s Press
February 7th, 2017
Liesl’s grandmother has always told her frightening tales of the Goblin King, and as she grew up, she began to see them less as reality and more as fanciful tales.
Secretly, she composes spectacular and wild music in the Goblin King’s honor even as she writes somewhat more sensible music tamed and shaped by her violin-virtuoso brother. In helping her brother seek a renowned Master to study under, she forgets to look after her sister, Kathe, who is soon to marry an old family friend. She doesn’t see how unhappy her sister is, and how easily she could fall under the sway of supernatural forces looking specifically for vulnerable young women.
When the storied Goblin King snatches her sister, Liesl must match wits with an ages old man who appears paradoxically as young as herself, and who suffers from an all too familiar problem–loneliness.
An interesting telling of a labyrinth myth–Liesl is a girl who discovers she’s been living life for others, and has to come to terms with the fact that in saving those she loves, she can also finally live for herself. I found the telling to be entertaining, and Jae-Jones deftly avoids a trope encountered far too often in YA fantasy–the self-centered and learned-helpless heroine. Liesl, while believably naive, manages to turn the pursuit of self into something other than self indulgence. Kept me reading all night. The companion book, Shadowsong, comes out in February 2018.