Book Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones #Shadowsong #Fantasy #Retelling #2021RetellingChallenge #RetellingsReadingChallenge


by: S. Jae-Jones


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 Her younger brother Josef is cold, distant, and withdrawn, while Liesl can’t forget the austere young man she left beneath the earth, and the music he inspired in her.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

My thoughts:

After the end of Wintersong, I was craving for a continuation of the story and hoped there would be another book. Then came Shadowsong, and now I’ve finally read it, and it gave me the closure I needed after the first book. With that said, it certainly wasn’t as enchanting for me. 

The story opens with Liesl and her family struggling to make ends meet. She misses her brother Josef and wonders if he’s still alive. All she can do is write him letters, which get no response. With papa dead, they have bills they can’t afford. Liesl holds on to what she can: love, music, and memories. When a mysterious plague comes and the world is crumbling beneath her, Liesl must return to the Underground and discover the laws that cannot be broken. 

The writing was absolutely beautiful and lyrical just as I expected. The descriptions made it atmospheric and pulled me in, making me want to stay in this world. I loved the time period, the mix of retellings, learning more about the Goblin King, and the music references. 

“Your music is a bridge. Play it, and we shall always be together. Play it, and I shall always remember. You. Life. What it means to love. For your music was the first and only thing in this world that kept me human, the first and last thing I give back to you.”

Liesl feels this strong connection with the Goblin King throughout the story, but it didn’t develop and somewhat fell flat honestly. Unfortunately, the build seemed to take forever, and then it was short-lived. Also, the story slowed down way too much causing me to lose patience at times, and that’s because for large parts of the story there simply wasn’t anything going on. Even with the beautiful, lyrical writing, it began to feel drawn-out. Liesl also has a strained relationship with her brother due to mental illness, but this was a little confusing without much explanation. In the end, it’s truly the descriptive writing and world that kept my interest and made me want to continue to the end of this story. 

I chose to read the physical book along with parts of the audio. The narrator is excellent. While this book was very different for me than the first, it was still an enjoyable read. The closure was nice with a satisfying end.

Find this book on Amazon and Goodreads:

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Wednesday Books (February 6, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1250129133
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250129130
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 12 – 18 years
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 7 – 9

This book is a selection (#12) for my 2021 Retelling Reading Challenge. You can see my progress by clicking the image below.

Thanks for reading my review! Let me know if you’ve read this book or Wintersong.


14 thoughts on “Book Review: Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones #Shadowsong #Fantasy #Retelling #2021RetellingChallenge #RetellingsReadingChallenge

  1. Pingback: 2021 Retellings Reading Challenge: #2021ReadingChallenge #FairyTales #RetellingsReadingChallenge #Retellings #Books – ReadRantRock&Roll

    1. Hi, Carla. Thank you. The first book was a Labyrinth retelling, and then this one continued on from that. I believe she got inspiration from “Goblin Market” —the poem by Christina Rossetti. There are multiple quotes too. Hope you’re doing well!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was wondering when you talked about the Goblin King. My son loved the movie, I didn’t realize it was based on a book. We are all doing well. I hope your family are as well, and that your daughter has no lasting side affects from her bout of covid. So glad to see you on your blog again.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, the first book definitely had more connections to Labyrinth, although small things really. Everyone is doing good here, including my daughter. It took some time, but she’s good now and we’re all vaccinated. I’m coming back slowly, and it’s wonderful to see you all again. Hope you and your family are doing well too. ❤️

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I am truly blessed, everyone is doing well. We are all vaccinated and my DIL and I also have our boosters. Even my two oldest grandchildren (5 & 8) have their first, so we will be comfortable spending Christmas together.


  2. I love when a book pulls me in but, like you, I tend to lose patience when it slows down. I’m so glad it turned out to be an enjoyable read for you, overall. The duology sounds very interesting and immersive. Definitely, one I will keep in mind. Excellent review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: This Week’s Reads and Updates: Beasts and Beauty – The Christmas Pig – A Christmas in the Alps and more… #AmReading #Books #Reads – ReadRantRock&Roll

  4. I liked the first book, but I couldn’t get into the 2nd one. While the writing style is beautiful, the story felt slow. I ended up skimming towards the end. I’m glad you got closure though.


  5. Pingback: Final results! 2021 Retellings Reading Challenge: #2021ReadingChallenge #FairyTales #RetellingsReadingChallenge – ReadRantRock&Roll

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