Overall Rating: 4/5
Quality of Prose: 4.5/5
Quality of Story: 4.5/5
Quality of Characters: 4/5
Ability to Make the Audience Think/Feel Differently: 3.5/5
How Long It Took Me To Finish: 4 days
A 1 Sentence Summary
A sexy German fairytale about a young, female–and therefore often overlooked–musician who is whisked away to the Underground to become the bride of the mysterious, dangerous, but somehow familiar Goblin King.
My Favorite Quotes
“This was the immortality humans were meant to have: to be remembered by those who loved us long after our bodies had crumbled into dust.”
“’A sparrow is beautiful in its own way,’ Käthe said severely. ‘Don’t force yourself to be a peacock, Liesl. Embrace your sparrow self.’”
What I Loved About It
I really loved this book.
Jones’ prose is phenomenal. It’s musical and magical and drew me in from the very beginning. It’s similar to Rachel Hartman’s Seraphina (which I also love) in that the main character’s musicality reflects in the prose of the book itself.
The magical fairy tale-ness of the book makes it a fun and compelling read.
It’s also just a great romance. Jones does such a good job in making the Goblin King a tragic yet sexy villain AND hero. And the love story between Leisl and the Goblin King is alluring and also probably the steamiest romance I’ve seen in a YA book.
Though the novel is a fantasy and is set in Germany in the 1800s, I found it easy to relate to the main character, Leisl/Elizabeth. One of my favorite quotes (the one above about the sparrow and peacock) alludes to the fact that Leisl has always been considered plain by everyone who knows her except the Goblin King who sees the beautiful music in her soul and loves her for it (I know that sounds insanely corny but trust me, Jones pulls it off so well). As a girl who has been considered on the plainer side (but with a great personality!!) by many people, I definitely related to that feeling of being a sparrow on an embarrassingly visceral level. I think my students could relate to that too.
What My Students Could Learn From It
Not a whole lot. Though I truly LOVED this book, the main reason for its 4 star rating instead of a 4.5 or 5 is because while it is a fantastic and fun romantic read, it’s not a book that changes your views on something or puts you in a melancholic funk for days (like All the Bright Places). There’s not a ton my students could learn from it, other than a little bit about 19th century German culture and folklore.
Nonetheless, it’s a FANTASTIC romance and a really fun read. And I’d definitely recommend it. To my students AND my readers.