Once there was a little girl who played her music for a little boy in the wood. She was small and dark, he was tall and fair, and the two of them made a fancy pair as they danced together, dancing to the music the little girl heard in her head.
Her grandmother had told her to beware the wolves that prowled in the wood, but the little girl knew the little boy was not dangerous, even if he was the king of the goblins.
Will you marry me, Elisabeth? the little boy asked, and the little girl did not wonder at how he knew her name.
Oh, she replied, but I am too young to marry.
Then I will wait, the little boy said. I will wait as long as you remember.
And the little girl laughed as she danced with the Goblin King, the little boy who was always just a little older, a little out of reach.
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.
Growing up, Liesl played games and wrote music around the tales of the mysterious and otherworldly beautiful Goblin King, Lord of Mischief and Ruler of the Underground. But as she grows older, childish games and dreams of composing must be put away to help shoulder the burden of helping run her family’s inn with her mother and drunken father.
When her sister is lured away to the Underground by goblins at the behest of the Goblin King, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above, where family and her fiance await. The Goblin King agrees to let her go, but on the condition that Liesl stays in her place. The life of a maiden must be given to the land according to the ancient laws that keep goblins from harming humans. A life for a life. Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the king in exchange for her sister’s freedom. To break the promise will result in catastrophic natural events above ground and the end of the goblins underground.
Liesl soon realizes that the Goblin King and the tales of him still have a hold on her both musically and emotionally. She begins to compose again but as she does so, her life is slowly being sucked away as the price she paid for becoming the Goblin Queen. As she grows closer to her King she must learn what further sacrifices she is willing to make: her life, her music, or the end of the world.
I LOVED this book. I’m a huge Labyrinth fan and this brings a nostalgic feeling for that movie while still being a completely separate story. It only took me a couple days to read this because I was so enthralled by the characters and the imagery. The only “complaint” I have is that there is a bit of set up between Liesl and her sister’s fiance, Hans, that isn’t ever fully explored. I wanted to know more about the history between Liesl and Hans that led Hans to ultimately choose Käthe because it implies that the choice was made merely off of appearance (Käthe is the family beauty, Liesl is not) but I’m not sure that I buy that. S. Jae-Jones did do a good job of exploring the “what might have been” between the two of them, though, so I guess that can make up for the lack of backstory that I am craving. I’d probably recommend this book for high school age and up. There is a bit of mature scenery used, but nothing graphic.
I should also note that I won this book via a goodreads drawing and it’s not even actually slated to come out on shelves until February 2017, so if you are super interested in looking into this book, you’ll have to wait until then to read it. It’s worth it, especially if you’re a fan of fantasy, the Labyrinth, or music!
In non-book related news, Squish made her grand appearance! She was born the day before Thanksgiving, in a bit of a hurry. Despite being very tiny (6 lbs 2 oz and 17 3/4 inches), she is in perfect health and adjusting to life on the outside very well. Bean is absolutely enthralled, we all are really, and can’t get enough of his baby sister.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We are gearing up for Christmas here! Basically from October to the end of January (which is when my birthday, my husband’s birthday, and our anniversary takes place) is my favorite time of year because it’s all about our family time and I try to take full advantage of that every year.
I’m currently reading Legacy of Kings, but it’s slow going because I only really find time to read when I’m nursing Squish to sleep. It’s good so far!