One Sentence Review: A beautifully-written Phantom of the Opera continuation, this novel stole my breath away with its stunning setting, incredible characters, and page-turning plot.
Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery boy she’s seen frequenting the graveyard beside the opera house doesn’t have any classes at the school, and vanishes almost as quickly as he appears. When Rune begins to develop a secret friendship with the elusive Thorn, who dresses in clothing straight out of the 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or save her and face the wrath of the phantom, the only father he’s ever known. (Summary from Amazon)
I was so, so excited about this book. I didn’t know much about the Phantom of the Opera, but oh my goodness the premise sounded so interesting and mysterious. And it didn’t disappoint.
Something that needs to be clarified: this book is NOT your traditional retelling. I would call it more a continuation of the original Phantom story than a retelling, as the characters from the original story are still very much alive and present within these pages, rather than it being a book that mirrors the original story with completely separate characters.
Nevertheless, I adored this book. Howard’s writing style was simply gorgeous: I found myself constantly pausing to admire a certain quote or notice the wonderful way in which she worded various passages.
As for the characters, I really liked most of them: Thorn and Rune for the most part, although Rune’s friends (Audrey, Sunny, and my favorite, Jax) outshone them in my opinion. I just wish we had gotten more pages dedicated to Rune’s friends at RoseBlood: I felt the story was Rune Rune Rune and Thorn Thorn Thorn with Phantom sprinkled in, and so I felt the scenes where Rune really got to know her group of friends were missing.
Don’t get me wrong, though... I loved getting to witness Thorn and Rune’s story, and some of the supernatural aspects of this book’s world really fascinated me. The plot was extraordinarily suspenseful and I was so scared the entire time (and also confused but you know that comes with the territory) and then the climax just brought everything together in such an amazing way.
There was only really one thing I truly didn’t like about this book, and it’s something I can’t reveal because SPOILERS. Safe to say I just thought it took away from the uniqueness of this novel and I wish Howard had been a tad more creative in this regard.
Overall, though, this story was wonderful: writing that was beauty incarnate, a plot that had my heart racing countless times, and characters that were complex and relatable. If you’re a retelling fanatic like I am (even though I wouldn’t technically consider this a retelling), then this is for sure the book for you.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!