I received this free digital ARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
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 writing is beautiful. The work is eloquent and offers a variety of descriptions for the world. There is an aesthetic quality to the diction that adds a very elegant feel to the writing and the story.
I love music, and to have this story so very rooted in music thrilled me. I felt I could relate to the story because I played music and understood music and… knew absolutely nothing about what was going on in this book. *sigh* The problem with music is that it is a sound. Sure the notes are written on paper, but at the end of the day, it’s a sound and how one feels about said sound. Thus, it doesn’t translate well into literature. For that reason, much of the basis of this book just felt very abstract and unattainable, making it difficult to really get a feel for what was going on in the story.
Lack of Character Interaction
I was quite disappointed with this book in the regard that there was a severe lack of character interaction between our MC, Liesl, and the Goblin King. Yes, they interacted, but the interactions were either so subtle that I must be completely oblivious to them or non-existent in the story. Thus, the story kind of boiled down to little more than world-building and abstract musical qualities.
I’m not a prude, guys, and I fully support there being sex in young adult literature, but when the characters end up being unable to communicate with each other and simply end up having sex four+ times in the book, I kind of lose interest. I already commented on the lack of character interaction. And then you drive home the number of times the characters have sex with each other and I’m left wondering: ‘where is the substance behind their relationship or do they even have one at all?’