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.
Young Adult | Fantasy | Romance | Retelling
I am always a sucker for a pretty cover, I mean seriously look at it? It is a gorgeous cover. Yet it is another example of when the outside is oh so pretty but the insides are not so witty…
Diving right in there are a several key points that irked me while reading this. Stating the obvious I did not enjoy the read mostly because of the drag. Borderline stab my eyes out. It was really the overall build into the premise to which probably the first couple of chapters you have Rune, the main character describing everything to aid your imagination. This actually continues throughout the novel but it stuck out to me right at the beginning. For example when she arrives at RoseBlood, she describes every inch of the location she is in to the hallway, the gardens, everything – now normally this descriptive scenario might be appealing to people however to me it was overkill. The worst part is that it doesn’t add to the appeal of the atmosphere. It almost has the affect that it is just filler data combined into the story to move along for convenience when in reality the book from just these moments could have had at least 150 pages shaved from the detail, maybe to add better content to replace.
Another HUGE issue I have with this novel is that the romance is so excessive in the plot that the fantasy almost feels forced when it is introduced. The chemistry is there for Rune and Thorn but it honestly is laughable scenarios, it is a definite insta-love connection between the two. The reason I say laughable is because I feel like I am reading a soft core smut within a young adult fiction, most of their romantic scenes awkward. Everything about their conversations are just… awkward. I cannot even describe without spoiling, so I won’t say the entire thought I have, but just know I love smut just as much as the next romance reader but again this was completely unappealing connection. Everything about Rune and Thorn was just forced chemistry.
Since the romance really buries the fantasy, it bothers me. In my opinion RoseBlood should have either been retelling + romance or retelling + fantasy to which there is no balance adding all three together. The flow is just not good. The reason I loved the premise was the fact of a looming fantasy aspect that somewhat gripped my preference. However the fantasy is horrible. I won’t deny the twist of the fantasy plot was not something I was prepared to absorb, it was different, but it didn’t fit. Multiple times the fantasy aspect is just snippets within the development until it is ‘wham bam’ in your face, and as a reader absorbing the plot twist was just too much with such a little build.
Unfortunately this is not something I personally enjoyed nor would pick up as a re-read. Generally I love retellings or alternate universe type reads based around classic stories but this one was not appealing in the least. From the characters lack of depth to aid in any interest for me to connect, the twists and turns that were beyond lack luster with a dash of timid stupid undertone, down to the entire atmosphere – simply I was not impressed. This was my first book I read from A.G. Howard and though I have heard some of her other works are better, I am not entirely in any rush to add them to my TBR, at least not right now.