Regular price: $31.49

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

All her life, 19-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family's inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns. But when her sister Kathe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her - musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl faces an impossible choice. As she grows closer to the Goblin King, both of them must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Set at the turn of the 19th century, when young upstart composers like Beethoven were forever altering the sound of music, S. Jae-Jones' richly imagined debut spins a spellbinding tale of music, love, sisterhood, and a young woman's search for self-actualization.

©2017 S. Jae-Jones (P)2017 Recorded Books

Critic Reviews

"A maze of beauty and darkness, of music and magic and glittering things, all tied together with exquisite writing. This is a world you will want to stay lost in." (Marie Lu, number-one New York Times best-selling author)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    55
  • 4 Stars
    42
  • 3 Stars
    30
  • 2 Stars
    12
  • 1 Stars
    7

Performance

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    69
  • 4 Stars
    39
  • 3 Stars
    22
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    3

Story

  • 3.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    51
  • 4 Stars
    32
  • 3 Stars
    31
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    9
Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Muddled

Any additional comments?

This book is certainly different from a lot of other fantasy out there. It read like a folktale and the narration added to that sense of old-timey myth and mystery. However, the narrative is almost entirely introspection. Everything seems like a metaphor because it doesn't quite make sense. It's the kind of story that wants you to believe that deep things are being said, but is less concerned with actually saying them.

A young woman is trying to figure out her life, basically. She's insecure about her looks and talents, she's jealous of her siblings but also a bit co-dependent, something about sexuality. The problem is that while each issue comes up a lot, none of them are coherently addressed. For instance, it's a huge deal that the Goblin King won't have sex with her and she doesn't understand why, so she feels rejected. So what turns out to be the reason? Well, goblins can't feel and are feeding off her emotions or something. So if she has strong emotions (like during sex), she will be drained and die more quickly. However the king encourages her to compose passionately for days without food or sleep, so how is that less emotional than sex? She does get a nose bleed after composing, which is a sign of her impending death, but the book implies that it's from lack of food/sleep because she is too obsessed with music to do any of those things. Or because all the fruit is secretly rotten and has no nutrients. It's so unclear, and it's made even worse when suddenly she is told that she will lose her vision/hearing/taste/sense of touch, and that's how she will die.Why is using her ears for music less taxing than using her sense of touch for sex? Is it based on emotion or sensation? Well, she immediately loses her hearing when the goblin king has sex with her, so there is something about sex that makes it different from her other passions. And then she immediately gets her hearing back for no reason. It drives me crazy. What is Jae-Jones actually trying to say about sex here? I don't get it. The book teases at these questions, then half answers them, then half contradicts itself 10 pages later.

What about that thing where she was choosing her brother over her sister? That thread just gets forgotten about.

Same deal with whether she can have a life with the goblin king or not. He says that there is a version of him somewhere in the world that she should find -- like a human version? Except then they forget about that conversation and it never comes up again. Then there is the story about the first goblin queen leading her king out of the underworld on a bridge of their love, but that doesn't happen either. The end is pretty unsatisfying actually.

It's not terrible, but I didn't love it.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Rarely have I found such a perfect book...

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes, I have, in fact. First of all, Jim Henson's Labyrinth fans should not hesitate to get their hands on some form of this story, book or audiobook, though the audiobook is something special and worth listening to, giving the story even more magic.

What did you like best about this story?

It captured the essence of Labyrinth while also making it its own story and world. There were definite themes and moments coined to the original idea, but S. Jae-Jones wove a beautiful, sensual, moving story that every fan wished had happened between Sarah and Jareth.

Which scene was your favorite?

SPOILERS! DON'T READ THIS IF YOU DON'T WANT A MAJOR SCENE RUINED!

My favorite scene is after she's rescued her sister and so faced the greatest ultimatum: life or die, flee or surrender, save herself or the world. It's a daunting decision, but what's great about this scene is the creepiness factor that is a prominent part of Beauty and the Beast, Labyrinth, Hades and Persephone, that kidnapping element is eliminating. Basically she tells the Goblin King "You have no power over me", but also she chooses to go with him, to sacrifice herself to belong to him and the Underground. It's a very powerful moment, for all parties, and it changes everything.

Second is the last scene, where she chooses to leave the Underground. She loves the Goblin King, wants to be his forever, entire, but the cost is too great and so he lets her go. This is the satisfying moment we didn't get in the movie, but that's a different story. Here we get the satisfaction of her having chosen the Goblin King, but then also her choosing herself, which is bittersweet but the best thing for her and the story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice story

Eva Kaminsky does a phenomenal job performing this novel. I really enjoyed listening to her. The novel was enjoyable and I definitely agree with the decription of it being a cross between Labyrinth and Beauty and the Beast. Very interesting different world.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

boring...could not finish.

the story goes on and on and does not get interesting at all...waste of money.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Not a retelling of Labyrinth

I was worried that this would be a poorly written version of the Labyrinth. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about. While the Goblin King definitely appears to look much like David Bowie the story is interesting and well written.

I enjoyed the narrator as well though I found it a little annoying that the audio wasn't better edited. I could hear her take breaths, yawn, and even a little background noise from time to time, none of which fit the story at that point in the time.

All in all it was an enjoyable book. I am not sure if I will read the follow up because I feel as if the story was complete with no need for a follow up.
“Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry”

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Starts off ok

It feels like a chore to finish now. Too much filler. And the female protagonist is pretty dumb. I've found myself yelling at my phone and tablet cause she just makes stupid choices. The author also oversells the fact that the female practicality hates herself. Just an overall had time, would not recommend

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautiful

 
Beautiful
 
Beautiful. Haunting. Seductive. Wretched loss. All would describe this story but it is what I feel it has done to me that would truly describe it. It has touched me. So it is transcendent, as the author described the music in the story itself.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beautifully written tale of love death and life

More than I had hoped for. Beautiful and haunting. It left me wanting so much more.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Jenn
  • Dayton, OH United States
  • 03-16-17

I found this book very slow

The book was really slow and written like an old faerytale. There wasn't very much detail and the characters not developed at all. It was as if someone was telling you a story in person. Not my style.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

unoriginal

Unoriginal, but I couldn't stop listening . . . I loved it so much. Even if all stories don't end in "happily ever after" . . . but perhaps it did, whose to say?