Author: A.G. Howard
Genre: Fantasy, Retelling, YA
Synopsis: Rune has a mysterious affliction that’s linked to her musical talent. Her mother believes creative direction will help, so she sends Rune to a French arts conservatory rumored to have inspired The Phantom of the Opera. When Rune begins to develop a friendship with the elusive Thorn, she realizes that with him, she feels cured. But as their love grows, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: save Rune or protect the phantom haunting RoseBlood, the only father he’s ever known.
Spoiler Free Review
I thought this book was okay. I wanted to really like this, I love Phantom of the Opera and I was excited to read a retelling of it. I’m not sure if it was the book or my reading slump but it took me about a month to finish this book. The beginning started out okay but somewhere in the middle it just got weird and fell flat for me.
One thing that confused me was the way the author brought the musical and novel into this world. So the novel is based off of events that Leroux researched, and the author kept all of that in this world, the main character even makes a reference or two the musical and novel. Where it got confusing for me was the fact that the author has the Phantom a.k.a Erik as an actual character. In the novel Leroux took the strange affairs the happened, like the chandelier crash, and developed the character known as the Phantom so to have him as a real character in this retelling made things a little confusing for me.
I was excited for the plot in this but I felt that it was a bit all over the places. For instance, in the beginning it’s mentioned that when Rune gets a song stuck in her head she has to sing it or something happens. But it never was explained why she had to sing whatever song got stuck in her head. And then Rune, Thorn, Erik, and other characters are something and I feel like it was just a weird addition to the story and it felt a bit out of place. There is also this twin flame thing that I felt was never explained very well and I was kind of confused about that.
Being a Phantom retelling I was trying to figure out who represented who. Christine was easy to figure out, that was Rune. Figuring out who was the Phantom was a bit difficult even though the Phantom was an actual character in the book. It was a bit difficult because Thorn was also the Phantom. Raoul was also difficult, for awhile I thought the author just didn’t include Raoul. And then I thought maybe it was Rune’s friends because they were looking out for her and Raoul looks out for Christine. But toward the end of the book I still wasn’t sure if the author included a Raoul representation but in my eyes, it was Thorn and Erik was the Phantom.
My favorite characters in this book were the side characters and I really wish there were more scenes with them! Rune isn’t a bad main character, I just didn’t care for her or what happened to her. I felt bad for her at some points in the book but in all honesty, Erik can take her🙈😂 Thorn, I guess I liked him. When I learned about his backstory I felt sorry for him but besides that I think he was a little one dimensional. I feel like all the characters weren’t well developed besides Erik but that’s only because he was already a developed character by Leroux. Rune’s whole character was based around her singing problem, Thorn’s was deciding between Rune and Erik, and the side character’s in the beginning was looking out for Rune mainly.
One thing I liked about this was there was a reference to the 2004 Phantom of the Opera movie! Thorn uses a red skull wax seal to seal a letter and that is something Gerald Butler’s phantom does as well! There was also a little reference to the sequel of phantom, Love Never Dies.
Overall I was sorta let down by this book. It’s cover is gorgeous so its got that going for it! Phantom phans, and anyone wanting to read a phantom retelling, I would say skip over this one.
Something I have to add was that like in Love Never Dies, Christine and Erik have a baby. This isn’t a major thing but I am kind of annoyed of how the author changed the sex of their child. In the musical they have a boy named Gustave but in this book it’s a girl.