(Website, Twitter, Goodreads)Published by Abrams on January 10th 2017
Genres: Adaptations, Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, General, Young Adult Fiction
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
RoseBlood by A.G. Howard had me from the moment I read the summary. I LOVE The Phantom of the Opera story and I enjoyed how Howard put a twist on the original story.
Rune is seventeen and after doing something she isn’t proud of, she is on her way to Roseblood, a conservatory in France, to help her with her problem. See, Rune is an amazing singer but ever since her father passed away, she has had a difficult time controlling herself and the impulse to sing certain music. Roseblood isn’t just a conservatory though, it is an opera house that has ties to The Phantom of the Opera and that means something to Rune.
I liked Rune. She clearly doesn’t want to be headed to Roseblood but her mom hasn’t really given her a choice. Immediately Rune sees there is something different about Roseblood and in her exploration, she befriends Thorn, a masked man who helps her with her musical issues. Rune is drawn to Thorn but she knows there is something going on with him and he definitely has a secret.
Thorn is an interesting character. He absolutely struggles with the commitment he made because of the feelings he has for Rune. I actually really liked how his story was developed and revealed. I can’t say a lot about it because I don’t want to give anything away but Thorn’s background helped to reveal a bit about Rune and her heritage. As Thorn comes to realize what is important to him and what he wants his future to be, he also realizes what he needs to do.
The group of friends that Rune makes when she gets to Roseblood are an interesting mix. I’m still not sure how I really feel about them, mostly Sunny. The problem I had with her is that she really didn’t have any boundaries and did whatever she wanted. Nevertheless, they all helped to move the story forward.
There is a bit of a paranormal twist to this story that I wasn’t really expecting and I didn’t mind it. I thought it added something to the story that otherwise may have been a bit flat. This story has a slower pace and there were times that I felt like I had to push through. I am happy I did because in the end, I did enjoy the story that Howard told.
Overall I thought this was an interesting read. There were some things I liked and other things that I wasn’t completely sure about but in the end this was a story that kept me turning the pages to see what would happen next for the characters. If you have an interest in retellings, enjoy a bit of romance, and appreciate a bit of deception and mystery within your books, consider checking this one out.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy.