Rune Germain, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained after each performance. Convinced that creative direction will cure her, Rune's mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts at a renovated opera house, rumored to have ties to the Phantom of the Opera.
Shortly after arriving at the RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The masked 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 nineteenth century, she realizes that with his musical guidance she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the Phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose.
As friendship deepens to romance, 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.
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Romance / Classic Re-tellings
3 out of 5 Stars
Review: I love the Phantom of the Opera so I was really excited when I heard about this book. I've been following the author since reading her Alice in Wonderland re-telling Spintered series. There has been quite the buzz made about this book, and much hype.
This novel for me, did not live up to the hype at all.
We start out with a stomach churning, information dump as our misunderstood lead, Rune, is sent away to boarding school in another country (are you choking on YA cliches, yet?) Rune's father is dead, she and her Mother have trouble communicating, yet they are magical best buddies when the plot demands it. Rune has the voice of an angel but when she sings opera she suffers. An interesting concept, a horrible execution of it. The story flips from Rune to Thorns perspective, Thorn is infinitely the more interesting of the two. The set up takes way too long and the reveal is ultimately lackluster. The story is really more of an imagined sequel, than a re-telling, something that I think should be made more obvious to the consumer.
Rune is just so annoyingly predictable. She is for the most part every other YA heroine; smart, mature, a bit of loner, doesn't really fit in. Rune spends most of the novel having random epiphanies that don't really lead anywhere. I really wanted to like her more, but I didn't. Also I didn't like how the first kids she meets magically become instant life-long friends who would risk their lives for her—only in a YA novel right?
Thorn is fascinating right from the start. He has a tragic backstory that helps you to understand his complex relationship with Erik. But he also wears a mask when he doesn't have a deformity, which is just weird.
Can I briefly mention how insane the "two halves of the same reincarnated soul thing" is? Because it's stupid, sooooooo stupid.
The plan to lure Rune in is so far fetched, it's hard to imagine the Phantom coming up with such a faulty maneuver. It's actually sort of insulting to his character, I think. That is one of my biggest pet peeves of this book. That the seductive, powerful, magical figure of Leroux's novel (and several musical) is reduced to a haggard, boring old man clinging to the body of his dead love and prepared to blow up a school. I did not care for her version of Erik at all.
The ending is abrupt and has little resolution, Howard just decides it's over, nearly everyone survives, and murderous Erik is sent away to live with others of his kind in Canada. Which I guess he's suddenly okay with???
My advice: Skip this awful novel entirely.