By: A.G. Howard
Published By: Amulet Books
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult - Fantasy
RoseBlood is a modern spin on Phantom of the Opera. I was intrigued by the cover and my past love of Howard's Splintered series, so I couldn't wait to lose myself in this one. I wasn't sure what to expect as I fully admit my knowledge of the inspirational material is meager. I have never read Phantom of the Opera and have only seen bits and pieces of the film starring Emmy Rossum. I've always meant to read it, but as with all things, time is a factor. You don't have to know the original story to enjoy this one, but it would be helpful as this is a continuation of sorts.
The gothic feel that I've come to expect from a Howard novel was present in spades in this one as the main character, Rune, arrives in rural France to attend boarding school in a former opera house. The sense of place in RoseBlood is strong and beautifully imagined. I felt as if I was alongside Rune every step of her journey.
As you might expect, Rune's transition at her new school is not totally smooth. There are paranormal forces working behind the scenes to guide her path. I don't want to spoil anything, but I did find Howard's creativity concerning the Phantom to be intriguing. It was a spin I wasn't expecting.
Furthermore, I loved Rune. She struggles with her gift and doesn't understand why it takes such a toll on her. I wanted her to find answers as she navigated her new life in France.
Sadly, while I enjoyed this one, I didn't love it like I did Splintered. I think this may be because I am not as familiar with the source material. In addition, this review unfortunately fell during a particularly busy week for me at work and home. I rushed through the novel to meet my deadline rather than being able to savor it and sink into the world. I plan to reread this one when things are less hectic and after I've had time to immerse myself in the original story. I think finding the allusions and nuances of the original tale will increase my enjoyment.
If you're Phantom fan or just want to experience a beautifully crafted gothic tale, I'd recommend giving this one a read.
One Last Gripe: I didn't fall into this one as easily as I did with Splintered. Things started to pick up for me around the 25-30% mark.
Favorite Things About This Book: I love the intricate details and gorgeous use of language
First Sentence: At home, I have a poster on my wall of a rose that's bleeding.
Favorite Character: Rune
Least Favorite Character: Kat
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.