Although it's a 2017 release, I think I can honestly say this was my favourite book I've read in 2016. I adored it, devouring all 432 pages in around three days.
I am a huge fan of The Phantom of the Opera so I was hugely excited when I learnt about A. G. Howard's latest tale. Abrams kindly provided me with an ARC, so huge thanks to them.
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.
RoseBlood contains all the heart and atmosphere of the original tale - complex characters, dark motivations and haunting arias - but Howard puts her own unique spin on it, bringing the tale into the modern era for a YA audience. Mixing a boarding school with deep secrets - think Night School - with the classic Phantom tale, Howard has produced a fabulous story with multiple twists and turns that I really didn't see coming.
I can say very little more about the story without spoiling it, so I'll move onto the characters; although I'm again editing for reasons you'll understand when you read it. #KeepTheSecrets
Rune is our heroine, and I adored following her journey. She started young and afraid - unwilling and unable to control her unique vocal power of song - but she grows stronger and more resilient with every turn of the page.
Thorn - who you'll quickly add to any list of book boyfriends - is mysterious and alluring, especially to Rune, but he's also a kind hearted musician who is only doing what he believes is the right course of action for the only father he's ever known. His backstory is heartbreaking, his love for Rune a force to be reckoned with. He was, quite probably, my favourite character.
Except for Diable and Ange that is. This cat and his brightly feathered friend are the somewhat lighter element of the story, and I absolutely adored them. I also want to give special mention to A. G. Howard's writing style. Her prose is almost poetic in its flow and pace, and quite immediately does the job of pulling you into the story. It's just wonderful, as is the author herself.
So those are my non-spoilers thoughts on A. G. Howard's RoseBlood. Have you read it yourself? What did you think? Or are you excited to get hold of a copy now it's been released? Do let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter!
Thanks for reading!