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.
Description taken from Goodreads. I received an advance copy of this book, to be published January 10th, 2016, via the publisher in exchange for a honest review. These opinions are my own.
I thought that Roseblood might be able to break the curse of my anticipated books, but alas. Almost every book that I was really looking forward to this year completely fell through for me, but I’ve read A.G. Howard’s (fabulous) work before, so I thought this one could be different.
Overall, Roseblood‘s a great story. I love the premise of it, and the plot develops smoothly over time. By the time I DNFed, I could see the plot going places, but I’d seen it since the 10% mark, and I was tired of waiting.
Here’s the problem with Roseblood: it’s boring. I’m not usually one to DNF a book based on that factor alone, but that’s the best way I can sum up all of my problems with the story.
When I came into the story, I was expecting something along the lines of Splintered, but when I picked up Roseblood, the writing wasn’t elegant the way it was in Howard’s previous novels. The world-building wasn’t lush, and I didn’t get drawn into the characters. Instead, I felt like I was on the outside looking in. Everything was described with tell, not show.
Of course, I tried to make allowance for this. I came to the conclusion that Howard was busy setting up her story, and that eventually it would get better. It didn’t. Instead, it got worse: it got confusing and cliché. I appreciated Howard bringing in all the different aspects of the Phantom of the Opera story, but there came a point where too many people were being introduced, the POV was hard to understand, and–worst of all–I didn’t want to understand it. The school setting was overdone, and many of the characters seemed like filler characters rather than tangible people.
With that in mind, I would say that if you’re a fan of the Phantom of the Opera, then I would recommend this one. The story, as far as I followed it, wove the ideas behind the original intricately, and the cleverness behind Splintered made its way into this one as well.
Overall, I would recommend Roseblood… to the right person. That person is probably already an A.G. Howard fan and/or a The Phantom of the Opera lover. The pieces of the story are all there, and most of this has to do with me, not the book. Personally, I found the characters to be bland and hard to relate to, but I could see the potential of Roseblood as a whole. Many people will enjoy this one, but unfortunately, I wasn’t one of them.
If you’re interested in the retelling aspect of the story, I would recommend anything by Marissa Meyer, especially in her Lunar Chronicles series if you’re going for the darker side of Roseblood.
If you’re going for a good mix of the creepy appeal and the boarding school appeal, I can’t vouch for them personally, but I would recommend checking out the Hex Hall series and the Libba Bray books.