RoseBlood will be available to purchase on January 10, 2017, links for Pre-order are below:
Disclaimer: This ARC copy was sent to me by the publisher, ABRAMS Kids, via NetGalley for an honest review.
Genre: YA/Romance/Fantasy/Gothic Romance
Plot: Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known.
Opinion: Usually when I come across a book that focuses on music, I normally avoid ever reading it. Due to RoseBlood being written by A.G Howard, and considering how much I LOVED the Splintered Series, I knew I had to go for it and request it from Netgalley. I am honestly so happy I branched out and decided to read this, because it was a really creative take on The Phantom of the Opera.
When Rune was the age of 4, her father played an opera song on his violin that changed her life forever. Now, many years later, anytime a new opera song is played around Rune she has the overwhelming urge to burst out singing…no matter how much she resists. In the hopes that Rune will get help, her mother sends her to a school called RoseBlood that focuses on Opera. Here they hope to help Rune control her gift, but the history of the institution begins to frighten Rune. With thoughts that RoseBlood is the home of the famous Phantom of the Opera, Rune also comes into contact with the mysterious boy named Thorn that lurks around the grounds. As the relationship between Thorn and Rune starts to strengthen through music, the plans that the real Phantom has for Rune forces Thorn to choose sides between his love and his father.
So obviously this is a fantastical spin-off of The Phantom of the Opera, where the original characters names are used and the past events are more or less the same. The reader is reintroduced to the original Phantom Eric, but also given a new character named Thorn (Etalon). Thorn is rescued by the Phantom at a very young age from a child human-trafficking ring (dark stuff I know), and makes the decision to go live with the Phantom and learn from him. Our female lead character, Rune, has the voice of Christine and the Phantom desperately wants her for her voice. I really liked how the author took this very famous story, kept most of the facts the same, and completely made an entirely new tale for readers to fall in love with. The story has strong gothic romance undertones in it, which was an absolutely perfect setting for me to get lost in. I love anything dark and eerie like that, so as soon as Rune stepped into her new school I knew that this was going to be something special.
I will say that the story can drag on a little at certain points, like in the beginning for example. That was SUCH a long and drawn out introduction of Rune and her mother sitting in the car, and I found myself tentatively rolling my eyes and skimming the “blah blah blah”. I also feel as if I didn’t get enough out of the character of Rune. I wasn’t very connected to her character as much as I was to Thorn. The troubled past that Thorn had gave me a sense of compassion for his character, but I really liked how put together he was all around. Rune’s character came off as boring to me most of the time, and I would have liked a better description on her singing. When Thorn sang as a child, he was described as an avenging angel that’s voice could force a person to face their most unforgivable sins. The description of the power that Thorn held over people with his voice was beautifully explained, but Rune’s voice wasn’t. Seeing as how this story centers around Rune and her voice, I think the author could have gone the extra mile to ensure that the reader felt how important and amazing her singing was.
With those small points aside, I overall really liked this book but felt that the character of Rune could have had more. The romance between Rune and Thorn was heartwarming and sweet, and I was constantly wanting more for these characters. I think that this is a really creative take on The Phantom of the Opera, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoyed the original story. Even if you are not familiar with the original, the reader is given enough explanation to understand the past events and be able to dive into this world.