Author: S. Jae Jones
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Retellings
Publisher: Thomas Dunne, St. Martins Press
Pub Date: February 7, 2017
My Copy: Courtesy of NetGalley and St. Martins Press
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.
I totally found this utterly to be captivating and a wonderful story. Lies, aka Elisabeth is just a great female character. The Goblin King is the villain and yet he gains your sympathy. I came to like the main characters so very much.
One of the things that immediately caught my interest was the way the book started. I like that it seems like we are seeing two friends playing with one another. This was a really sweet scene, but yet this encounter, between a Goblin King and a very young child, Elisabeth says that she is not old enough to get married. Everything happens, yet she makes a promise to marry him once she is old enough. This of course does not happen as she starts to get older and become a woman.
She has a brother and Sister. They both are very different. I really like that her brother is wonderfully musically inclined like she is, but she is more of a composer. Her sister, Kathe is beautiful and has the boy that she wants. Her brother, Joseph is a musical prodigy. She has a great talent as well for music, but because she is a girl, Liesl aka Elisabeth is looked at differently. Elisabeth feels like she is the one who everybody sees as plain, nothing special. This is something that made me feel some sympathy for her.
I also like how nothing is ever as it seems in this book. So during a festival, something happens to her sister. People tell Elisabeth about the Goblin King and what they know from what has been told to them. Yet her life gets so much more complicated than she can ever believe. One of the things that I really enjoyed was the Goblin King and all the obstacles that he places in her way.
We also learn that promises were made and have to be honored to keep both worlds in balance. It makes sense in a way. I also felt that the Goblin King is a character who you come to love through his actions and the things that he does in a way you can’t expect. I did like the romance between Elisabeth and the Goblin King surprisingly. It came to me as a surprise. I really felt that at times they both started to care about one another. Yet there is a danger for both of them.
This book took a lot of twists and turns that I really never expected. A lot of what happens towards the end really made me love the way the Goblin King let go of Elisabeth. They really did fall for one another, but the Goblin King realizes that she is mortal and needs to live her life. His life is meant for something different. I really loved the way Elisabeth gains some confidence and decides to pursue what she wants to do.
A great retelling that made me smile.
S. Jae Jones