I fell in love with the concept of this book the moment I heard about it. I adore The Phantom of the Opera, and I couldn’t imagine a classic tale I’d rather have re-told and spun into a YA novel.
Unfortunately, the magic and paranormal elements of this story just stretched the limits of believability a bit too far for me, and I did not enjoy it as much as I’d hoped. I truly hope some of you like this book, because this author is amazing, and I’d love to discuss your thoughts in the comments.
What better wine to pair with a Phantom retelling than this Phantom Wine by Bogle Vineyards?! The label is as haunting and gorgeous as the physical copy of this book is!
*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*
The Nitty Gritty:
- Title: RoseBlood
- Author: A.G. Howard
- Publisher: Amulet Books
- Pub Date: February 21. 2012
- Pages: 432
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.
I want to start this review by discussing the things I felt that A.G. Howard did really well in this novel. The beginning was strong. I immediately liked Rune and was pulled into her story. The setting of the school in France was enchanting and there were some beautiful world building details that were very reminiscent of the classic Phantom novel.
In all of Howard’s books she seems to explore the theme of sanity vs insanity. How people perceive and determine other’s sanity. How we perceive our own sense of sanity. And how delicate the balance between the two can be. She didn’t go as in-depth on that theme in this novel as she does in the Splintered series, but she still touches on it in a way that is important and thought-provoking.
My biggest problem with this book was that the magic and the paranormal elements just weren’t believable. They felt kind of chaotic, like there wasn’t a distinct magic system with set rules, which is so important in fantasy novels. It made everything feel almost too convenient and random. Though that type of style is very much A.G. Howard and worked BRILLIANTLY in an Alice and Wonderland retelling, it just didn’t translate well into a Phantom retelling.
At the begging of the story I was really drawn into Rune and Thorn’s connection with one another. I adored Thorn’s backstory and felt that that it added a lot to the story for me personally. As the story progressed though, their relationship felt more creepy than captivating. I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters and their relationship almost bordered on incestuous at times.
I HATE giving this book a less than superior rating, because I so wanted to love it, and I very much like A.G. Howard as an author. Perhaps, I’m just too attached to the original Phantom story, but this was just a little too strange for me.
This is a definitely a book to keep on the book shelf. The physical copy is quite simply stunning. From the incredible cover art, to the red ink, to the interior cover paper, it is beyond gorgeous.
This book started out strong. I was feeling Thorn as a love interest. He was so mysterious and after reading his backstory, I was totally hooked. But as the story progressed he just felt creepier and creepier to me instead of dreamier and dreamier.
International and NYT best-selling author, Anita Grace Howard, lives in the Texas panhandle. She is most at home weaving the melancholy and macabre into settings and scenes, twisting the expected into the unexpected. She’s inspired by all things flawed, utilizing the complex loveliness of human conditions and raw emotions to give her characters life, then turning their world upside down so the reader’s blood will race.
Married and mother of two teens (as well as surrogate mom to two Guinea pigs and one Labrador retriever), Anita divides her days between spending time with her family and plodding along or plotting on her next book.
When she’s not writing, Anita enjoys rollerblading, biking, snow skiing, gardening, and family vacations that at any given time might include an impromptu side trip to an 18th century graveyard or a condemned schoolhouse for photo ops.
Below are some Q&As for more insight into what makes A.G. Howard tick. Also, be sure to drop by her Twitter or Face Book Author Page and say “Hi.” She’s always up for meeting new friends! (Like I said, she really is an awesome person)
Other Books By This Author
So what did you guys think of this book? Did you like it? Did you enjoy the Splintered series better?