Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-JonesShadowsong by S. Jae-Jones
Series: Wintersong #2
Published by Wednesday Books on February 6, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: the publisher
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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 Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.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 don’t even know how to start this review. My heart is broken – this book BROKE my heart. But not in a good way. It physically pains me to say that. I haven’t felt this crushed over a book since I read The Crown’s Fate last July – though One Dark Throne comes in at a close second. I mean.. Those of you who follow my blog know how much I LOVED Wintersong. Words can’t even describe my feelings for Wintersong – it was gorgeous and left me feeling breathless and dizzy. It spoke to me in ways no book ever has.

Shadowsong did none of that. It was.. confusing. I mean, like, Alyxandra Harvey-level confusing. For over half the book, I had no idea what was going on. I’ve seen other bloggers complain about the formatting of the US ARC (which is what I read), and that DEFINITELY contributed to the confusion. There were like… three (???) different stories happening and the breaks between sections/stories were super confusing. Maybe it’s less confusing in the finished copy? I can only hope…

I was completely detached from the characters in Shadowsong, which is weird and sucky because I LOVED them and felt for them in Wintersong, but in Shadowsong I just… didn’t. All the characters just fell flat in Shadowsong. The biggest disappointment was the Goblin King. I really didn’t care about the Goblin King’s past, and found those scenes so beyond boring, I almost started skimming them. And that makes me sad because I WANTED to care. But I just didn’t.

I can appreciate – and relate to (some of) the metaphors to mental illness (like Page 313). My detachment had nothing to do with that. It was just in general. I just didn’t care what happened to anyone. And I saw the ending coming a mile away – it was interesting, but completely predictable.

The writing was still elegant and lush, and the tone still had an old-time feel to it. And the book was intriguing enough at times that it kept me reading until the end. But overall, it just wasn’t what I expected or hoped for. I have a few other thoughts, but I don’t want to drag this review out anymore – it hurts too much. This book hasn’t changed my feelings about Wintersong, and I’ll still always love and support Wintersong and S. Jae-Jones. I think she’s an amazing writer and I can’t wait to see what she does next!