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RoseBlood Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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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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Top Customer Reviews
This was a highly anticipated book by me, because on top of my fascination for all things Wonderland [and yes, yes I did foam at the mouth over the Splintered series minus a few flaws with it.] So why wouldn't I also foam at the mouth when a retelling of one of my childhood favorites comes to light? About a girl who is cursed with a voice of the angels and what she is capable of?
And then... her counterpart, her phantom who has been mentored by the actual phantom! Slips into the story, in a historical, faraway place in France.
It sounds interesting, the cover is beautiful, but but but... it literally took me almost two months to finish it, because nothing really happens to begin with. I mean, sure some things happen, but it's mostly touching on the historical aspect of the story which is nice, but it also takes away from the actual story that Howard is trying to tell. Instead of getting me invested in the story I'm stuck on tangents of the past and the angst is through the roof on both parts.
Things become weird as the book draws on and it comes to light just what Rune is and who Thorn is and what he is capable of, as well.
It had the potential to be a really unique take on Phantom of the Opera, but it was lost on me. I think I would have been keen on Thorn if I was allowed to be invested IN the characters. The constant draw away from them made it difficult. I was more than halfway through the book when I wondered the story was actually heading. I'd put it down and make myself continue to read it.
I think the story would have been better if the historical aspect [the original phantom,] was a backdrop to the actual story instead of an invasive story that seemed to overshadow the REAL story. Still, that doesn't solve the strange, strange quality to this tale. The unbelievable supernatural aspect that just seemed too far fetched and over the top. Ah, well!
"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!!!
What I really liked about this story is that it took the idea of the original, and well it almost made it a sequel of sorts, or like what would have happened if the original had a happier ending. Don't get me wrong I don't always need a happy ending to be interested or satisfied with the story, but let's be honest, most people who know about the original ending (and your book's ending notes was great about giving me a synopsis on the original, plus added notes about research you did--most writer's don't bother mentioning it).
Personally, I've always wondered about a female version of the Phantom (always wanted to do a story like that, where the roles are reversed, but never really thought I had the talent (or rather the time) to do so. I suppose that's what I initially thought seeing the female in the Phantom mask, on the cover, though Rune does not wear it. Thorn and Rune are so likeable and relate-able, and even the minor characters were fleshed out. It was interesting how you kept Eric fairly close to his character in the original, with his willingness to do 'anything' making him susceptible to madness (but I kind of liked how it didn't end with a crushed heart). Even though, let's be honest some of the things he was doing made me feel like he was a Doctor Phibes of sorts, and some of the horrific things he was capable of. And even though, though has little of his mentor's intentions, he still would not be someone I'd want to tangle with, and hoping I'd keep on his good side. I had never read anything by this author, but now I'm confident if I read other things in the future, I'd be fairly satisfied. It would be nice if at some point you would do another sequel to this book, perhaps continue on and have Thorn/Rune and Eric visit Canada (as was mentioned near the end), though I know writers don't always want to be continually tied to the same story (though sometimes easier since you've already set up the info for at least one future story). Good job overall. I would say this is an excellent resource, for someone who knows nothing about the original, because you do reference back to it a good deal. This would be a good premise for a movie plot if you ask me, though I'm no professional, just one person who loves a good story and finds the people who have the courage to write them, very fascinating. Oh, and a minor detail but still great, I love that you refer to operatic and music terms quite frequently. I had high-lighted many passages that were note-worthy, many of them were about music metaphors. I feel like there is a reason you know so much about this, words like staccato, vibrato, crescendo, while many people who like opera might know these terms, most average people don't really use these terms in everyday speech, so it was nice to see it incorporated into the story. You have made me curious as to the original, though I am aware that I will probably be a little depressed upon reading the ending, but if I ever need a pick me up going back to your story, would seem fitting.
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