My rating: 2 of 5 stars
This was one of the books I was most excited for this year – since I loved Wintersong sooooo much last year…and now…I’ve been let down.
There are two types of people when reading this book:
– The first are those who love how wonderfully written and cryptic this book is. Not everything is in your face, and the writing is so beautiful and oddly descriptive, yet NOT really descriptive as it sort of dances around certain things, like the obvious madness/mental illness going on in this book. The way the author describes feelings in this book – and in the last book as well – is so well done yet, at times, can be a bit too much. And so I found myself thinking “Ok, get on with it already.” and actually skimming through some parts because well, I kind of got it after the first paragraph or so.
– And then the second are those, like myself, who just kept reading and reading and reading, waiting for the Goblin King to make an appearance. I kid you not, he is in like 5% of the book, not counting the little tidbits of backstory we get about him. What made the first book so great – the fairytale like essence, the romance, etc – just wasn’t there in this second book.
The book starts off with letters, sent from Lisel to Josef in Austria, over a course of 6 months. We learn that their father has pasted away, leaving the family in debt. The letters continue and continue, without ever receiving a response from Josef until after 6 months later, Lisel receives a short letter asking her to come to Vienna. But since they can hardly afford to run their business, there is no way Lisel can get to Vienna.
What follows is a bunch of blah blah, where Lisel hasn’t played her music since she left the underground, and does nothing but help to run the family business. Oh, and her grandmother Constanze is losing her shit about the Wild Hunt, in which at one point she fills her room with all the salt they have in storage.
After a bunch of nothing happens, with some moments spent on what’s going in Vienna with Josef and Francois, Lisel receives a letter from a would be patron who would like her to come to Vienna to make music. And so Lisel and Kathe, with the money from their patron, head to Vienna in hopes of better life, and to finally see their aloof brother.
Now, there is a disclaimer in this book about suicide and mental illness. So for those easily triggered, you might want to proceed with caution. The first book definitely danced around the idea of Lisel and Josef being mentally ill, and this book takes it step further. And I kind of appreciate this, because I, too, struggle with a mental illness and can relate to Josef quite a bit when it comes to his melancholy state of mind or rather, as we call it: depression. So I felt a sense of oneness with Josef.
Besides that, I was very disappointed in this book. If you’re looking for more Lisel and Goblin King moments, you ain’t gonna get it until close to the end of the book, which is really unfortunate since their love in the last book was so wonderfully passionate.
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