YA Book Review

Roseblood by A.G. Howard

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“I’m not stepping into a musical. It’s a horror story. With a side of obsession and gore.”

Roseblood is both a retelling, and a sequel of sorts, to the famous story of The Phantom of the Opera. This story is full of horror, passion, betrayal, and love. Though a bit confusing at times, this one holds entertainment and the lure of mythical creatures.

The Plot: Rune Germain has an intense ability for opera singing, and a terrifying affliction, and secret, linked to her ability. Believing that she is in need of creative direction, and not knowing of the mysterious affliction, Rune’s mother decides to send her to Le Theater Liminaire, where it is rumored that the phantom legend originated. In trying to avoid her classmates finding out about her terrifying abilities, Rune meets a mysterious masked violinist named Thorn. The two discover romance, a way to unlock Rune’s song, and a horrifying plot from the true phantom. Together, can they survive the phantom and the unveiling of secrets?

I was pretty conflicted about this one. I wanted to love it because I loved The Phantom of the Opera movie that came out several years ago, and I always love a good retelling. Roseblood was marketed as a retelling, but read more like a fictional sequel with bits of historical retelling. It had some enjoyable moments, but also held a lot of confusion and un-enjoyable aspects.

“Once a song speaks to my subconscious, the notes become a toxin I have to release through my diaphragm, my vocal cords, my tongue.

So, lets talk about the things I did not enjoy first. It seemed like the character POV tense kept jumping around too much. Thorn was mainly in past tense and Rune was mainly in present tense, but there were occasions where Rune would jump to past tense as well. The situation with Aunt Charlotte felt really predictable to me. The secret behind Rune’s abilities was also predictable, and mildly confusing because it felt like the author tried to make a mashup of about three different mythical creatures. There were a few moments where plot twists were revealed but most of them lacked buildup. A lot of the plot just felt jumbled.

Now for the enjoyable bits of the book. I loved the color of the text in the physical book and the beauty of the cover. I admired the use of describing music with colors, and the fact that Rune could see the color of someone’s aura. I enjoyed Diable, the cat, and his human-like characteristics, and I enjoyed the budding, soul-linking passion between Thorn and Rune. I also applaud the author’s attempts at trying to create a unique, mythical creature.

“He opens his mouth, and one pristine note escapes, so pure, lyrical, and heartrending, its like the marriage of every harp, violin, cello, flute, piano and bell that has ever been played.”

In terms of a main character, Rune is kind of a hit and miss for me. She has some good qualities and some bad. She is pretty mature for her age and I really love her singing ability, her use of visual imagery with music, and her connection to music itself, but she doesn’t feel like she has a solid personality. he doesn’t stand out as much as I would like her to and she can be quite wishy washy with her choices.

“My dad and my grandma spoke of auras a lot, as if they could see them. And since I see rainbows when I sing, I used to think that ability passed on to me.”

Thorn was an intriguing character. Though, I did not like how blindly he followed the phantom. He was dark, mysterious and handsome. He held a great sense of morality toward the end of the book, but he still wasn’t 100% there for me. I did enjoy some of the passionate scenes between he and Rune.

Erik, the phantom, was another main character that I wanted to like, but did not completely get in to. He was supposed to be the infamous “Opera Ghost”, but his character fell short of my expectations. He was quite conniving, but had a strange, confusing motive for wanting Rune.

All in all, Roseblood had enough enjoy-ability to keep me reading, and I may or not recommend. It did not, however, have enough enjoy-ability to receive 4 stars. It had the potential to be a great sequel/retelling, but it just fell short for me. It did have enough enjoyable moments, though, that I am still going to read Howard’s Splintered series, but I would rate it about 3-3.5 stars. We’ll be using 3 faeries since it would be quite cruel to cut a faerie in half.

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(All quotes used are found in the book, written by the author.)

Check out the discussions posts from our #CGBReadAlong on Melanie’s page!

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21 thoughts on “Roseblood by A.G. Howard

  1. This one was a little strange for me personally. The magic system, dialogue, and character reactions just didn’t feel believable. I really liked her other series, but I think that style really lends itself well to an Alice retelling. Not so much for Phantom.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I agree. I had such high hopes for this one too. It just didn’t feel cohesive and it was confusing since it seemed to be marketed as a retelling but was more of a sequel. The whole incubus/psychic vampire thing seemed like an attempt to be original but just didn’t work. I do still want to read the other series though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree completely unfortunately. It’s one of the few books that I’ve really been disappointed in this year. I will say that the cover, end pages, and design of that book is stunning though!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I found this one disappointing, too. Like you, I thought it would be a Phantom of the Opera re-telling, but it definitely was something different. It still had some good things, but not one I am tempted to ever pick up again. I do love that cover, though!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I see how this one could be a conflicting read… There are some positive and interesting things but, overall, it just doesn’t captivate.
    I’ve had this one on my radar for a while as I enjoy retellings WAY too much, but I’m not in a hurry to get to it. I’ve been reading tons of mixed reviews on this one and I can see why.
    Amazing post πŸ™‚ (and I’m glad you didn’t cut that faerie in half! xD)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely review! I have read the first book in the Splintered series and was a bit confused about it all, though I loved the originality of the retelling. I have heard good things about Roseblood, but also read some mixed reviews like yours and saw so many people being disappointed. Too bad, the retelling seemed kind of promising! Thank you for sharing this πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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