ARC Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

Author: S. Jae-Jones
Series: Book 2 of 2
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Get it Here: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

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 Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.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?


Note: This book is the sequel to Wintersong, which you can find my review here! There will be minor spoilers in this review.

WHAT A SEQUEL. Seriously, Shadowsong is everything I wanted after that cliffhanger in Wintersong and more. The ending was absolutely fantastic, and I reread it multiple times just this past week before I could muster up the energy to write this review. That’s right – this book left me emotionally drained in the BEST of ways. We delve deeper into the darks of Liesl’s mind and her relationship between her and her brother, and her and the Goblin King. There is less of an emphasis of the romance like in the previous book, and more of an emphasis on Liesl’s growth and her love for her brother. Also, shout out to Jae-Jones for the content warnings at the beginning of the book.

“Sometimes, I fear there is a maelstrom swirling within me. Madness, mania, melancholy. Music, magic, memories. A vortex, spinning around a truth I do not want to admit.”

Liesl is a character whose mind is very intense and we really get to see inside her head in Shadowsong. This book is #ownvoices for bipolar disorder, and Jae-Jones writes that in exceptionally through Liesl’s voice. Now that Liesl has left the Underground, she’s taking care of her family and wondering about Josef, who went to Vienna to continue his music studies and performance. When Josef sends an ominous letter telling her to come to Vienna, and she gets a mysterious benefactor to go over there and perform, she leaves her small town and the Underground… or does she?

While Liesl is above ground, the Goblin King is becoming less and less like himself. Her benefactors are keeping something from her, and Josef is reticent and withdrawn. Even though Liesl and Josef reunite, he’s in a depression that keeps him quiet and moody. Their relationship went through so much in this duology, and Liesl trying to mend their broken tie is so heart-aching in this book. It was definitely a growth from both of them, however, as they find the path to each other again.

“‘Madness is not a gift,’ I said angrily.
‘Nor is it a curse,’ the Count returned gently.
‘Madness simply is.’”

The side plot of the Wild Hunt was a bit confusing for me, and probably the weakest part of the story. While the characterizations were phenomenal and heartbreaking, the plot was on the dull side because readers never get a feeling of fear for the Wild Hunt. It’s just… there, and moving the plot along. Jae-Jones continues to write gorgeous prose (the parts where Liesl and Josef are playing their respective instruments just makes me clench my heart) as her characters explore their music and their hearts. It’s definitely a slow pace, and readers shouldn’t expect anything as spicy as Wintersong going in.

Speaking of spiciness… the Goblin King is notably absent from this book. While book 1 focuses on Liesl and the Goblin’s King relationship (yum), book 2 is more about Liesl and Josef, the brother-sister dynamic that holds true no matter how far they’re apart. However, we do get to see the background of the Goblin King and uncover all the mysteries surrounding him that continues from the first book. And oh my goodness – it is SO. GOOD. I don’t know how this author does it, but she wraps the book up in a way where the resolution is stunning and you’re left aching but so, SO content.

“You are the monster I claim, mein Herr.”

The Wintersong duology: it’s classically stunning, features vivid music and imagery, and depicts superb and realistic characterizations in a fantasy plot. Maybe the plot won’t be for some people (which I sometimes see in low ratings) because it’s so very slow, but I couldn’t care less because of the introspection we had with the characters. I seriously can’t wait to read what Jae-Jones comes out with next, because I’m for sure going to be picking it up.

CWTW label

self harm, addiction, suicidal thoughts, reckless behavior, depression


Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for the review copy!

Shadowsong Excerpt


S. Jae-Jones

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.

15 thoughts on “ARC Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones

  1. This sounds like a really interesting series! I don’t think I’ve ever really read a fantasy novel that deals with mental health – at least not one that deals with it well. I’d like to see how the author balances all those different elements.

  2. I loved the first book Wintersong and I am fan of the author’s writing.Her writing is so gorgeous! Great review.Can’t wait to pick this one up

  3. I can’t wait to read this series. I had to skip over the review, though. Spoilers! I’ll pick it up when all three are out. I like to read series back-to-back because I tend to forget what happened if I want a year between series, and that always bugs me. I love all the great reviews I’ve seen for this series.

  4. I’m so glad this ended up being a great conclusion and read for you!! I’m kind of waiting to read this when I really have time to savor it because the writing sounds exquisite if leisurely and a bit dark at times. Gorgeous review!!

  5. Great review! Also, I’m new to your blog, but I love the way you lay out your posts — very snazzy and easy to read. And the blog in general is very pretty. Purple’s not my colour, but you totally make it work.

    I’m pleased to see that someone really liked the book. For me, it didn’t entirely click, which is to say, I thought it was a good bok in its own right but I found it a disappointing sequel, probably because I was looking for something more similar to the first book. (Here’s my review, if you’re interested: But it’s nice to see another perspective on it.

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely words Miriam! It totally made my day!

      I know this sequel didn’t work for a lot of people as well haha, which made me come in with a bit less expectations. 😛 Sorry you didn’t like this one as much!

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