Author: A. G. Howard
Age Group: Middle Schoolers and above
Rating: 3/4 Stars
Synopsis: “Rune, whose voice has been compared to that of an angel, has a mysterious affliction linked to her talent that leaves her sick and drained at the end of every performance. Convinced creative direction will cure her, her mother ships her off to a French boarding school for the arts, rumored to have a haunted past.
Shortly after arriving at RoseBlood conservatory, Rune starts to believe something otherworldly is indeed afoot. The mystery 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 19th century, she realizes that in his presence she feels cured. Thorn may be falling for Rune, but the phantom haunting RoseBlood wants her for a very specific and dangerous purpose. As their love continues to grow, 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” (Amazon.com).
I really enjoyed A. G. Howard’s Splintered series. Her writing in those books is so descriptive and I love retellings, which is why I became interested in her books. Going into this book I was super hyped, which is probably why the first hundred pages were slow going for me. I don’t mind slow plots generally and I think I was just expecting it to be really intense as soon as it started. This expectation was also enhanced by the connection with Phantom of the Opera, which is a pretty intense musical. After a while, though, the plot did really pick up and get really intense.
Okay, so the ideas in this book are super original and kinda crazy. They are something that I’ve never seen before in a book and that’s definitely a seller for me. I don’t want to spoil it, because it doesn’t totally makes sense until a while into the book, but it basically has to with energy transfers. I really like the ideas that the author created and she did a great job making them fit in with the original story of Phantom of the Opera. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if I mixed up some of what I learned in this book the next time I hear the musical.
The main thing that stands out to me about this book, besides the total originality, is the characters. I will admit that I didn’t like Rune or Thorn very much when I was first introduced to them. I especially didn’t like Thorn because his connection with The Phantom made him seem untrustworthy, but I’m so glad I got over those feelings about him. In fact, I would say that the character development in this book was probably my favorite thing about it. As Rune finds out more about her family and her past she changes a lot. The relationship of Thorn and Rune together also changed both of them, which is made potently clear through descriptions and plenty of conversation about their amazing relationship dynamic.
The overall theme of this review is this: I didn’t originally like the book because aspects of the plot were confusing and the characters hadn’t yet reached their full, and beautiful, potential. That’s why I’m glad that I kept reading! My opinion of this novel definitely changed as I was reading it and I continue to be astounded by A. G. Howard’s lovely descriptions and creative ideas.
I want to share the first few sentences of this book because I think they are so artistic and intriguing:
“At home, I have a poster on my wall of a rose that’s bleeding. Its petals are white, and red liquid oozes from its heart, thick and glistening warm. Only, if you look very close, you can see the droplets are coming from above, where a little girl’s wrist–camouflaged by a cluster of leaves–has been pricked by thorns as she reached inside to catch a monarch”(Howard 1).
Happy Reading 2018–Let’s fly together!