Author: A. G. Howard
Rated O for the drama and magic that only an operatic incubus can deliver.
Her greatest talent is also her greatest curse.
Rune has been living with a terrible curse, but she can’t share it with anyone. Nobody would believe her anyway. She breaks out into operatic song. And after getting drunk and nearly sucking out a boy’s life force, she’s sent to RoseBlood Academy for the artistically gifted which is rumored to have ties to the same opera house from The Phantom of the Opera. She quickly fits in with the other kids and even finds some competition for the seasonal opera coming up, though she didn’t ask for it.
She begins to think her troubles are over until she starts to receive visits from the phantom who’s haunting the academy. He promises to help her with her curse, to free her from it, but there’s a darker side to his promise. As they spend more time together she discovers that he isn’t who he says he is, but that doesn’t vanquish the feelings she has for him. The two find themselves interwoven in a tragic opera of their own, working against time in order to save Rune from a deadly villain set on leading Rune to her destruction but his immortality.
It started out good. Really good. But then it went downhill. Severely unfortunate. The book was a rollercoaster of ups and down with the emotions and drama. Rune was living in the drama. I, however, started out loving it and then didn’t. I haven’t yet read The Phantom of the Opera and I understand this is a spin-off tale of it. Magic and darkness being intertwined with the tale and with the art of opera were impressive and the most interesting part of the whole book. Otherwise, the further in I got the less interested I became. Rune’s interests, mingling with her thoughts, blended with intense and vivid description just didn’t fit together. A jumble of a mess and I got a little lost here and there. Rune’s teen life and darker, deadly one didn’t quite blend together. It felt chopped up and at many times, rushed in its scenes and in some cases with its characters.
I do know who the famous phantom is. Erik, the infamous ghost of the opera, known for watching Christine from afar with obsession being cranked into a villain was intriguing. It added a layer of darkness I never thought about. It made him even more dangerously alluring. I was holding on, following him around every sharp turn he made. His desperation was twisted and left me feeling sad for him more than any other character. He became the monster he looked like. Tragic as hell.
However, the most tragic and disappointing part was discovering and coming to terms with Rune’s discovery about herself and what she can to do people with her powerful voice. I’m sorry, I don’t like being disagreeable, but I am being disagreeable and I’ll make real short. I will believe that Rune is a form of succubae/incubi way more than a flipping-fracking psychic vampire. In any case, that part was unclear, so I’m still unsure roof which it was Thorn was trying to claim her to be. A self-discovery of this magnitude should be such a fun and surprising part of any book and here I felt like Howard was trying to fit a triangle into a circle. The supernatural isn’t a pizza. You can’t shove two species together like that. Lol.
Enlightening and educational. I’ve never known much about opera, but this book really cracked me open like a nutcracker does a walnut with it. I know zero about opera. I’ve never watched one, experienced one, taken a class to study it, sang it. Getting immersed in the beautiful vernacular and art form was just incredible. One of the main reasons I kept going actually. I’ve never had any thought about opera but now I kind of want to see one. Howard really knows her stuff and it didn’t feel forced in how she included her knowledge.
The book itself is a gorgeous piece of work. With a cover giving tribute to the phantom and showcasing Rune and her obsession, it made it easy to pick this up. Open the pages and I was left breathless with rose-red font and detail and meaningful epitaphs at the beginning of each chapter. Inside and out, while I may not have loved the book 100%, it was beautiful through and through.
Starting out promising, RoseBlood became increasingly erratic and I just lost interest. However, there were more things I enjoyed about the book. In this case, it was the story that lost me and nearly everything else that kept me going. I am keeping this primarily because it’s utterly gorgeous. I’m not deterred from ready Howard’s other books. In fact, after I get to The Phantom of the Opera, I may return to this one.
“He’d walked as a ghost in the gloomy bowels of this opera house for so long, darkness had become his brother; which was fitting, since his father was the night, and sunlight their forgotten friend.” (p. 27)
“How to make enemies in less than sixty minutes flat. I wrote the freaking book.” (Rune, p. 51)
‘…Inspiration is a fickle and vicious mistress.” (Erik, p. 173)
“I am a trapped rabbit, helpless against the wolf closing in.” (Rune, p. 307)
“Guard your throats and hide your eyes. He’s not dead, you fools. Legends never die.” (Christine, p. 368)
More to come soon…
P.S. Song today? We’ll Be A Dream by We The Kings feat. Demi Lovato.
Thoughts? Let’s chat in the comments below!