Rating: 3 Stars
Published: January 2017
Genre: Young Adult // Retelling
Roseblood is a retelling of Leroux’s haunting Phantom of the Opera. Rune Germain left everything behind to attend a music conservatory outside of Paris in hopes that she’ll overcome her compulsion to sing opera. The opera house in which is school is located is famed to have ties to the novel by Leroux. She soon befriends Thorn, the mysterious violinist, who helps her understand more about herself. As their connection gets stronger, the danger surrounding them grows.
I haven’t read anything else by A.G. Howard and I have yet to pick up Phantom of the Opera, though now I am anxious to read it! Phantom is one of the (many) musicals I am DYING to see on Broadway. I love the music and have seen the movie version about 5 times because the Phantom of the opera is there inside my mind. Sing, my angel of music!
Naturally, I was thrilled to hear about Roseblood because it’s a YA retelling of Phantom! How cool does that sound?! Let me tell you, the description sounded a hella lot better than the actual book. This was Owlcrate’s January pick and I wanted so much to like it.
The beginning of the book felt very dramatic. And not in a good way. I almost put it down but I really didn’t want to give up on it. Some of the dialogue was over the top and semi-painful to read. The writing was too much for me. I don’t have anything against flowery language but it’s all about the way it’s presented and it didn’t feel organic to me.
Now that the notes are woven within me, the words are imprinted alongside them. Whether or not I can translate what I’m singing, I’ll still remember how to form each syllable on my tongue when the time comes to release the song.
So, somehow, the original Phantom, Erik, is alive. Still. And very old. And his has this terrible plan that Rune somehow figures into. The only redeeming quality of Erik is that he is morally ambiguous. He has this love for his adopted son, Thorn, but also does horrible deeds.
As for Thorn, he is a very tragic figure. He had a pretty awful childhood. He wants a chance at a normal life but can’t go back on his father figure. And then he meets Rune, who turns his world upside down.
Rune was very unremarkable. First of all, that name? Really? She’s a normal girl, or so she thinks, and she is part of a plan that she is not aware of because of course she is. She ostracizes herself immediately, and frankly, does not deserve the friends she made at the school.
The problem is that as I’ve grown, it’s becoming more demanding… an entity that controls me. Once a song speaks to my subconscious, the notes become a toxin I have to release through my diaphragm, my vocals cords, my tongue.
The retelling itself, was interesting, because I did not expect it to go the route it did. I had never heard of this type of paranormal creature so it was kinda jarring/weird to read about it. There were times the story lagged and I really wanted to get everything over with. Then something sorta interesting would happen and I’d get sucked in again. It wasn’t until about 70% of the way through that things got entirely too interesting to stop reading. I wish that had happened sooner.
It is a falsity, that monsters are the instigators of all the evil in the world. Our kind is capable of acceptance and mercy where mankind is not. For we see beyond the surface, as we live beneath it.
The side characters are sometimes hard to tell apart from one another. I honestly can’t even remember any of their names. Most of their interactions with Rune were enjoyable but it would have been so much cooler if they had known the full extent of what was going on. Why does it always have to be one girl against the world?
I enjoyed the setting. It was cool reading about the underground tunnels/passage ways/ Phantom’s lair, etc. The old opera house makes for a very cool boarding school. I don’t understand how Rune’s only source of light in her room was a lava lamp. Could she not have any other light source? But that’s besides the point.
One of the things I really enjoyed about this book was that the text was colored red. It was pretty neat. I honestly wasn’t expecting that. I also really liked how much research went into the novel. I always appreciate when authors as so passionate about a subject that they look further into and find out how they can make it their own. Howard certainly did that and it shows.
Overall, I could have passed on this but the concept was too intriguing! I’m not entirely in love with how it turned out. But honestly, the last 30% of the story was so hard to put down and much better than the rest of the it. This book wasn’t entirely my cup of tea but it may be someone else’s! If you’re on the fence, give it a go. You may love it.
Have you read anything by A. G. Howard? Did you enjoy this retelling?
Let me know in the comments!