I have heard that this is a love/hate sort of book. I fall in the middle. I can’t say I loved this book the way others did, but I did find the writing to be beautiful. There are so many gorgeous lines and quotes that I think back on all the time. But the slowness of the read and lack of connection to the Goblin King took away from the story for me.
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
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.
The story was a bit repetitive at times, for example; how many times does Liesl have to say she is plain? Like yes we get it, you think you are plain and your sister is much better than you.. ok doke. I also thought there was something missing to the read as well. I think what it was for me was I didn’t feel the connection to the Goblin King. I knew Liesl found him desirable, but I as the reader couldn’t see why other than her saying it. With the Goblin King, S. Jae told us but didn’t show us why we should love him. There wasn’t much development for him for a while in the book. All he came across was a guy who kidnapped two girls and played games with them..yes, very desirable indeed… I knew the characters, I knew their personalities, their looks, and their voice, but because I was told not because I connected with them.
I found this is not much of a YA book with the writing style. While exquisite and heavily musically oriented, it doesn’t move with the pace and ease of a YA book. Which I think was a problem in and of itself, it needed to be shorter and the musical references needed to be cut down. Do not get me wrong, I think her writing is done very well, she has quite the way with words and it was beautiful. Like I said there are many quotes I adore form this book. It was magical and the fantasy element comes through right away, I just believe it could have done with some ‘trimming’.
That being said I did enjoy the last 100 pages a bit more. It really turned the book around for me as I got to see more of the Goblin King and his and Liesl’s relationship. It made me excited for book two. So I rate this a good 3.5 stars. It’s a beautiful, musical tale, maybe lacking a bit in the beginning and slower moving, but worth the read!
“He was the bow, I the strings, and his fingers brushed my body to make me sing.”