Author: A. G. Howard
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Genre(s): Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
Source: Purchased from Book Store
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RoseBlood tells the story of Rune, a young girl who is sent to a French Boarding School – RoseBlood Academy. This is a boarding school for musical arts inside a renovated opera house rumored to have ties to the classic opera. Rune has a mysterious gift of opera, discovered by her dad. When opera music plays, Rune finds herself compelled to sing and does so with alarming precision. Although this gift has haunted her throughout her life. Rune is sent to France hoping that training from the school will help her embrace or control her gift.
While at the school, Rune meets Thorn, a mysterious boy who hides in the shadows. Thorn lures Rune into the mystery of her gift and its relation to the lore around the school. As the story goes on, Rune learns of her fate, her gift, and must make a life changing choice.
I was first introduced to A. G. Howard’s work through her Splintered series, a new take on Alice in Wonderland. Thoroughly enjoying that trilogy, I was excited to learn that Howard coming out with a new book. RoseBlood is a new, young adult take on Phantom of the Opera.
Disclaimer: To properly assess and review the novel, pertinent plot points may be discussed. Spoilers Ahead.
My initial reaction to the novel was that the pacing of the story was incredibly slow. It took me a considerable amount of time to get through this story and I nearly quit reading several times. That being said, there were enough plot points to keep me intrigued enough to press on.
I was underwhelmed with Rune. I thought the idea of a gift of song was interesting and was hoping that the author would go in a siren direction, however, this was not the case. The initial introduction to Rune’s gift was odd. Several times during the first half of the book, Rune’s gift was mentioned vaguely, described as a burning need to sing that usually took the energy from her. However, singing was something Rune sought to avoid at all cost. It was honestly weird and was hard to imagine. To Howard’s credit, she did evolve this gift into something that tied into the rest of the story fairly well.
Seeing another vampire novel took me back slightly. I did like that we were dealing with “psychic vampires” inspired by succubi and incubi. This was a refreshing take on the vampire tropes.
Thorn’s character was quite enjoyable to read about. I did like the backstory given to him. This did explain why he was so loyal to the Phantom and made the conflict of helping Rune or the Phantom more realistic. Rune and Thorn’s relationship was what I expected in a YA novel. Over there was nothing special about it, but nothing overly irritating about it either.
I did like the ending of the novel. The reveal of Erik’s daughter was something I did not see coming. I thought the pacing of the scene was written well and the emotion was believable and not overly forced. The last half of the book was written well and had solid pacing. The first half of the book dropped enough hints to the reveals later on to keep the reader going, but the pacing was painfully slow. If a reader is not hooked on this plot, they will probably not enjoy this story.
This was the modern continuation of Phantom of the Opera that I was promised with an interesting enough plot. As mentioned numerous times throughout this review, the pacing was the biggest issue I had with the story. Many readers may not want to get through a half the book just to read the other half. I was almost in this group. I’m happy I stuck with it and completed the story, but I probably will not be going to reread this one anytime soon.
⭐️⭐️⭐️ – 3/5 Stars