Book Review: RoseBlood – A.G. Howard

Nine days

Then I realised how behind schedule I am for reading when I stare at my shelf tragically


Name: RoseBlood
Author: A.G. Howard
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Release Date: January 10, 2017


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.

Book Cover Comments

I must say our heroine looks a little bit too tragic? Idk for some reason she doesn’t look natural… well I mean she is illustrated but still- also for the first tiem I noticed her hair lmao- I find this book cover very confusing due to the similar color palettes, but nonetheless the mask makes my lightbulb go on because #references

The Actual Review

I must say I have mixed feelings with this book. It wasn’t too terrible, but what makes it bad in my opinion also became the book’s flaw.

The concept that Howard had put into the world building, where our heroine Rune —our Christine— has her mystical voice powers (I won’t spoil what it actually is) and how Thorn —our Phantom— helps Rune with her voice to maybe or maybe not heal and help Rune sing better.

Howard combined a lot of magical rituals and lore into the story that made it really interesting: the oh so many ties with the gypsies and fate, reincarnations amplified the fantasy element in this book. Solving the mysteries in terms of finding what was linked to what, how one event led to another made the reading experience much more enjoyable: who doesn’t love a good revelation?

I certainly rooted for Rune and Thorn’s blooming romance. Throw a romance at my way and I am 99.9% sure that I’d be rooting for it and just enjoying the moment of flourish even if I don’t completely enjoy the book as a whole. You’ll find out more about Rune and Thorn and how they’re related to all the gypsy magic I was talking about above. This, in my opinion was what made Rune and Thorn’s relationship much more raw and vulnerable. It was pleasant and honestly lovely.

And yet the entire Phantom of the Opera “retelling” concept became the book’s exact problem: rather than a classical retelling, in which the author uses a whole new world and place characters that follow the footsteps of original fairytales/stories, RoseBlood —as much as the fact that we do have a new Christine and Erik— has the problem because rather than a new universe, it is a continuation —SPOILER ALERT: and in a sense, reincarnation—  of the original story, extending the timeline before and after the events and giving the original Erik —who plays a big role in RoseBlood— a fictional background and history. I’m not saying the story and character building isn’t interesting —it is— but it was difficult to really dive into the book because at moments, it felt more like fan fiction than a classic concept of what a retelling should be.

The book in general felt more like what the author wanted to see and hear as an extension of the original universe and characters, and it was odd in general. The motive behind Erik’s actions were also somewhat understandable yet starting to get cliché (I mean its only the second time I’ve really seen it, since something extremely similar happened in this other very popular YA series).

There was a concept with the gypsy magic and ties going on -it was a very solid and high potential concept- and yet I felt that it would have been better used elsewhere rather than a retelling like such.

The book in general had a very bittersweet feel when you sometimes don’t know who’s side to take, and yet the unity of two flames that were destined to be together made it so much more beautiful. And yet, it didn’t exactly live up to my expectations because of how it took on the concept of retelling.

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Joanne Lumiere

Joanne is the narcissistic founder of her book blog, Joanne Lumiere. Born and raised in Hong Kong, this 18 year old brat is currently attending college in Los Angeles, and still doesn't know how to read books with sophistication, and yet she runs a blog.

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