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