Series: Wintersong #2
by S. Jae-Jones
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Six months after the end of Wintersong, Liesl is working toward furthering both her brother’s and her own musical careers. Although she is determined to look forward and not behind, life in the world above is not as easy as Liesl had hoped. Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.
When troubling signs arise that the barrier between worlds is crumbling, Liesl must return to the Underground to unravel the mystery of life, death, and the Goblin King—who he was, who he is, and who he will be. What will it take to break the old laws once and for all? What is the true meaning of sacrifice when the fate of the world—or the ones Liesl loves—is in her hands?
I received a free copy for an honest review.
More accurately three-and-a-half stars.
Shadowsong is a sequel to the popular young adult fantasy novel Wintersong, with a story revolving around a young musician-composer and the tales about Goblin Kings and old nature laws. The story picked up sometime after the conclusion of the first book, with our protagonist and heroine, Elisabeth, better known as Liesl, trying to survive back in the world of the living after her father’s death sometime between book one and book two.
In my last review, I stated how I saw great potential in the book and its ideas, and that I said if the author makes the story-line stronger and more fast-paced in book two, it will greatly improve the series in my opinion. I will also definitely enjoy it more.
Well, that didn’t happen.
This book had the exact same problems that I stated and wished for improvement in book one, with no changes at all. The story had the same slow pace that actually kind of feels like it’s in slow motion with our same…Liesl.
I really, really, actually don’t know what to say about her. I don’t know how can I describe what I’m feeling right now without making this review a complete jumbled mess.
The only reason I didn’t give this book a worse review than book one is that I am conscious about the fact the same problems only felt worse this time because of the combination from suffering from book one added on to this book, not because any the problems in Shadowsong was actually worse in any way. But that is not good. There should’ve been improvements. It’s understandable when the first book is slow due to the world buildings, story build-ups and character introductions, but if book two is still just as slow, there are no more excuses for that.
The second books are always the point in a series where the story is supposed to be picked up. This is why there is even such a thing as the second book syndrome. It’s caused because authors tried too hard to make the first book interesting, resulting in the second book to be slow. The correct way should be slow, fast, medium to fast. It’s just like running. When writing a series, authors must look at the entire picture – the whole story arc in order to properly plan a series so that the timings would be right. If you run too fast the first lap you’ll get so tired before even reaching halfway. If you run too slow the first lap you’ll never catch up to the required pace. If you run slow the entire time you have just failed PE class mile time.
Looking at this series now, it most likely would run a twenty-minute mile by the time the series ends with book three.
I think the story’s slow pace is actually its biggest problem. I may have mentioned about Liesl being part of the problem, but thinking of it now I think it’s that way because of the slow pace. Its slowness really made me annoy about everything in the book, including Liesl. Not like she was better or worse. She still feels like the desperate heroine from Wintersong, but…it’s not entirely her fault. Lots of books have heroines like Liesl, but they didn’t annoy me as much as Liesl did because their books didn’t give me so much time to be so fed up with her (because the other books weren’t so slow paced).
It’s such a shame because it’s really not like this book/series is a complete unredeemable train wreck that makes my eyes bleed when I read it. It literally only has one problem, and if the author just does one thing and this entire series would be so much better. The review probably makes it seems like I loathe the book, it’s actually not exactly like that. I didn’t really enjoy this book/series as much as I should’ve, but I can still see through all those problems and recognize that this is not a bad book. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Everything about this book was great – the world building was on point, the ideas weren’t like they were a mess, and the characters weren’t (too) bad. I can still see why it was so popular. I am just so sick of how slow it is.
I would recommend this book (kind of), but for those with a book purchase budget, I’m warning you: borrow this book, don’t buy it. You’ll really hate yourself later for it. At least for me anyway.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
S. Jae-Jones, called JJ, is an artist, an adrenaline junkie, and the NYT bestselling author of Wintersong.
Born and raised in sunny Los Angeles, she lived in New York City for ten years before relocating down to Dixie, where she is comfortably growing fat on grits and barbecue. When not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skydiving, taking photographs, drawing pictures, and dragging her dog on ridiculously long hikes.