Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Review: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

Title: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
My rating: 4.5 hearts
Genre: Young Adult, Retelling, Romance
Pub. date: January 10th 2017
Publisher: Amulet Books
SynopsisIn 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. (synopsis from Goodreads)

I really liked this book. It was really close to a five-star rating, the only problem was that it was a bit slow in the beginning and too much information at once. But, I loved the characters (especially Thorn), and the story, and basically the book. It truly only got better.

   Let’s talk about Rune.

   First of all, how cool is her name? I’m a big fan of different, unique names (says the girl with the really popular name), and Rune just sounds really cool. Rune isn’t your typical YA heroine. She’s confused and scared, which is completely understandable. She hates her “gift”, that she can sing any opera song (performed by a woman) after having heard it once. When she hears opera, she just has to sing. It’s physically hard for her to not sing. Because of this, she hates music. I loved seeing her come to terms with the music and learn to control it instead of letting it control her. She really grew up in the book.

   I absolutely love Thorn!

   Since we’re talking about great characters, let’s talk about Thorn. Thorn has had a rough childhood, and was sort of adopted by the Phantom (yes, the Phantom) and has lived a big part of his life beneath the opera house made school, RoseBlood. He loves taking care of animals, but he’s also flawed. He’s made a lot of mistakes, he trusts the Phantom, Erik, blindly, and doesn’t care that Erik is actually not all that nice. He does a lot of bad things. But, he also grows, and by the end, is a better person. And he loves animals!

   Something I loved about all the characters were that they weren’t just good or bad. They made mistakes and did bad things, but they also had good intentions and wanted to make amends. Even the villain in the story wasn’t all bad. He did a lot of bad things and hurt a lot of people, but he was also good in some ways. This makes the story so much more believable and realistic.

   It started out pretty slow, with too much information at once.

   This meant it took a while to really get into the book. In the first few chapters, you got all the information on RoseBlood and the opera house it had been, and it took a while for things to start happening, but once they did, I was so stuck. The plot just kept getting better and better, and by the end, my heart was practically beating out of my chest and I was incapable of putting it away.

   I loved the story, though.

   There is so much mythology and old stories intricately woven into the story of the Phantom of the Opera, and I really felt that all of it worked perfectly with the themes of the original story. I think Howard did an excellent job of capturing the original story and yet making it something completely new. I won’t go into details, because I don’t want to spoil anything, but I loved the Fantasy in this book. It was original and something new, different from anything I’ve ever read before.

   I’m a bit torn about the ending.

   On one hand, I’m a big fan of happily ever after’s, so I should be happy about it. On the other hand, it felt wrong for the book. It is a Phantom of the Opera retelling, after all, so an HEA doesn’t feel quite right. It feels unrealistic to expect everyone to have an HEA in a book like this. But, the good news is, my heart is still in one piece, and there were parts of the ending that I liked.  


   This book is exactly what you should expect a retelling to be. It keeps some things from the original story, but still manages to be completely different and unpredictable. With realistic characters, the same dark themes as in Phantom of the Opera, and an intricately woven Fantasy world into the original story, RoseBlood does just what I wanted it to. You do not want to miss this!
A.G. Howard is the International and NYT bestselling author of the Splintered Series, with a slew of other classical spinoffs and original stories in the works that she hopes will one day find a place on the shelves. 

She was inspired to write her tribute to Carroll's Wonderland while working at a school library. Her pastimes are reading, rollerblading, gardening, and family vacations which often include impromptu side trips to 18th century graveyards or condemned schoolhouses to appease her overactive muse.

SPLINTERED, UNHINGED, ENSNARED, and UNTAMED, the first four books in her urbanized /gothic Alice in Wonderland series, are now available from Amulet Books. Also soon to be available from Amulet is her Phantom of the Opera spinoff, ROSEBLOOD -- slated to launch January 2017.

THE ARCHITECT OF SONG, the first book in her New Adult historical literary romance saga, will be available in August 2016.

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