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 love the idea of re-tellings. Aside from the two novellas to Danielle Paige’s Stealing Snow, I’ve not actually read a full re-telling (that I’m aware of). Then to read a Phantom of the Opera inspired re-telling? Yes, please! 🙂
I also never read the original by Leroux, but I have seen the movie with Gerard Butler – which I’ll be re-watching soon! – so it was great reading something familiar but also new. You don’t have to have read or seen any adaptation of Phantom of the Opera to know at least a little bit of the story.
A.G. Howard is a new author to me, so I was going in completely blind – reading a new genre, a new author, etc. I didn’t know what to expect but I buckled up and went for the ride. And I was not disappointed!
Right off the bat – I really liked Rune’s character. Not only did she have a story to tell – one that I was very intrigued to learn more about – but she just seemed . . . wholesome. Very likable. I also really loved Thorn’s character. He’s a tortured soul – just like Rune – that pulls at the heart strings. I loved the connection between Rune and Thorn. They compliment one another in ways that both Rune and Thorn needed from one another.
Rune and Thorn together . . . it’s a true pairing that you’re anticipating how it’ll play out. The back and forth, the intimacy without being intimate. Following their squabbles and moments together was intense and one of the best parts of the book! There were some moments where you didn’t know how it would end between them, too.
The Phantom . . . oh man. In a way, he’s like Voldemort. He is the way he is for a reason – there’s an entire story there – so you want to hate him for all that he does, but at the same time you know that maybe he can change if he really loves Thorn like a son and comes to his senses.
There were some really nice twists along the way and it all fit into the storyline with Rune and Thorn’s history. They had a story to tell, and Howard’s detailing that history did not leave you with questions. A.G. Howard also was very descriptive in details – detailing the opera house, the lair underneath the opera house, etc. Everything was described in every little detail that it was easy to imagine.