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RoseBlood Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Rune Germain has sung opera since she was four years old, as her father played arias on his violin. She sings beautifully, and often the music becomes so strong that it bursts out of her, but each performance leaves her feeling ill, especially following her father's death. After Rune has a devastating encounter with a boy at a party, her mother sends her to her aunt's music conservatory, RoseBlood, near Paris, hoping that it will cure Rune of her "affliction." The school has a past that scares Rune. Originally a theater modeled after the one in Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, the building burned down and has been partially rebuilt with funds from an anonymous benefactor. At RoseBlood, Rune experiences cruelty from jealous classmates, but she also makes good friends, and at night, lovely violin music lulls her to sleep. Then, in a secret encounter, she meets violin-playing Etalon, who helps her understand the mysteries surrounding the school as well as her own identity. In a complex interweaving of teen school story, romance, and horror, the novel combines Phantom narrative elements with a cast of energy-sucking psychic vampires. Rune is a multifaceted, artistic character whose actions and reactions feel believably young adult as she confronts questions about family secrets and heredity. This is an accomplished undertaking, although the slow reveal may fail to engage some readers, especially those unfamiliar with the source material. VERDICT A good purchase for paranormal romance collections, and the connections to a classic work of literature add appeal.—Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton
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*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration.
I enjoyed the author’s debut, the Alice in Wonderland retelling entitled Splintered, even though at times the second through third acts became overwritten. I was drawn to the cover of this book, the name of a familiar author, and the premise. The opening six or so chapters did not disappoint. Rune is an American gypsy girl possessing both a blessing and a curse – she can sing beautiful operas, even ones she’s never heard before. But it’s only because she is mysteriously compelled to, like a reflex, and if she doesn’t, it’ll virtually explode out of her. Whenever she finally sings, it depletes her of all her energy, to the point of illness.
Rune’s father believed in her supernatural gift, and used to help cultivate it. But since he’s dead now, she’s left with her mother who rejects the supernatural and believes the best way to straighten her daughter out while feeding her need for music is to send her away to a French music school in Paris. But Rune is leery of the old boarding school, believing it to be haunted by the same phantom who inspired Gaston Lereux’s writing of The Phantom of the Opera.
The story started out very strong. The mystery of Rune’s past and her talent kept me turning the pages, and I really enjoyed all the YA-ish parts about the friends and enemies she was making at her new school. But it began to lose focus once chapters were being told from the new phantom’s POV. Because we learn early on who the phantom is and what his motives are, there is no longer any sense of suspense or fear on Rune’s behalf when she encounters him. The storytelling would’ve been improved if we were learning about him at the same time as Rune, through her eyes, and not given such an omniscient perspective to know the answers to the mystery while our heroine does not.
While the author’s writing skill is beautifully displayed throughout most of these pages, as the plot thickens, the narration becomes convoluted, the sentences themselves purple, overlong, tedious. The characters became too lost in their own inner-monologue and backstory that, by midway through, it was no longer clear what was going on. If I were the editor of this book, I’d have suggested using short action sentences and focusing only on what was happening at present. I kept pushing because I really wanted to believe in this story, but by 40%, I knew it was time to move on to the next items on my reading list.
That said, this book may still appeal to the right audience. YA urban fantasy readers who don’t mind a denser and more detailed read, and anyone particularly interested in all things Phantom of the Opera, may find it better suited to them.
"I know you," I say, dreamily, "I was never able to see your face in the memories or visions. But somehow, I know you. You feel like home to me."
Rune was a wonderful protagonist. She was an amazingly strong person, who had been through some really hard things in life, but still came out of them a kind, caring friend, daughter and especially to Etalon...who she finds needs her as much as she needs him. Etalon had survived so much, but Rune awoke something in him that his mother taught him, and that he had forgotten. But even with everything he'd been through, he had such a kind heart. He enjoyed saving hurt creatures in the wild and nursing them back to health and then setting them free. He had a very compassionate heart.
I'm so glad I read this. It's the type of book that will stay with you for a while. DON'T LET THIS ONE PASS YOU BY!!!
Most recent customer reviews
I’m pretty sure I about gagged right there. Full disclosure for the rest of this review, there will be a lot of spoilers because I don’t think...Read more
My review is not of book’s content but of my purchasing/receiving/returning.Read more