Buy or Borrow: Buy
Source: Copy courtesy of the publisher!
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.
"He's not dead you fools. Legends never die."
I'm still not entirely sure what to rate this. I enjoyed it once I got in to it, but there are problems with it, so I'm torn between giving it a 3 or a 4, I keep changing it between the two! I'll probably change it again before I've finished typing up this review! The first thing I want to address is that this is being referred to as a retelling and for me, I felt it was much more a sequel, which is fine, but I was expecting certain things if it was a retelling!
I started to read the book, and I wasn't really sure. I enjoyed the writing but it didn't immediately jump in to the story. There's a lot of info dumping in the beginning about Rune's powers and the school and it's history and its connections to Phantom book. I think it would have been better to scatter tidbits throughout the story, because it made the book really hard to get in to in the beginning. I did however, get more and more in to the book until I was engrossed and read a pretty big chunk of it in one go.
I found myself lost in the dark, gothic and shadowy world of the book, it was very vivid and I could imagine the settings pretty clearly. There was an interesting authors note, so it's obvious a lot of research went in to the book. I enjoyed the twists the author made on real life and history. I also quite liked the twists to the original story, and how it was changed, and I really loved seeing Erik again.
Erik has always been an interesting character to me, and I found it heartbreaking learning about what happened to him after Phantom ended. But I also found it interesting and heartbreaking to see the struggle he had between the 'monster and the man' as Etalon phrased it. I was rooting for him, but at the same time, he's suffered so much. I really liked Etalon too. He wasn't at all what I was expecting, in fact nothing in this book was what I was expecting so I was surprised more than once with the direction everything took! But Etalon was another interesting character, operating in shades of grey and wanting to do the right thing.
I wasn't sure how I felt about Rune in the beginning. I felt sympathy for her and everything she'd been through but at times she really annoyed me with her behaviour and how she acted. I wasn't a crazy fan of the way purge and gypsy where thrown around either. Rune was pretty much the definition of a special snowflake and I think my problem was that while I could sympathise with her...I really wasn't that bothered about her. I was more interested in Etalon and Erik.
I really enjoyed the supporting characters, Sunny, Jax and Quan, I felt like we didn't get to see as much of Audrey. I wasn't expecting Jax to be how he was and there was a dreaded moment when I thought we where going to get a love triangle. Kat and Roxie...I expected more from them but more on that in a moment! I have to say, I really loved Ange the red swan and Diable the cat as well, they where cute second characters.
I found Roseblood to be a little bit chilling at times, and like I said, the writing was very well done. I enjoyed the authors writing for the most part. I couldn't stop my brain from singing Masquerade at one point and then at the end of the book my brain launched in to Down Once More. There's also a moment when Etalon says "go now" and all I could picture was the stage adaption for the 25th Anniversary, when the Phantom says the same thing to Christine, which is one of the moments that gets me everytime! Seriously, if you haven't watched the 25th Anniversary edition you're missing out! I saw both of the principals perform the first time I ever saw Phantom and I love the anniversary show so much! It's so good! I tried to find a video to show you but there isn't one on YouTube!
As for the romance I'm not really sure, it had it's cute moments, and I enjoyed it in places but there where parts that where a little hazy and where I was kind of iffy about it. The biggest thing that kept me hooked was the mystery, what Erik was up to and what had happened and so on.
Now for my issues with the book. I previously mentioned that it starts off slow with some info dumping, but there where also some parts that where a little bit confusing or where written confusingly and I'm not entirely sure if it was done on purpose or not. There where also things that I felt where never fully explained, like I still failed to see the whole thing with her grandmother, I don't think it was resolved very well and it seemed a little rushed. There where other parts that seemed a little bit rushed to me as well, particularly at the end as it felt like a rush to finish. I feel like some parts could have been expanded on a bit more or had more detail to them.
Another issue I had was that we spent a lot of time getting to know Rune's new friends, and as such I was expecting them to play a much bigger part than they actually did. I was expecting them to get involved and help Rune, but their presence petered out over the course of the book, and after the set up, I felt like it was a bit strange and a bit of a disappointment. The same can be said for Kat and Roxie. I feel like the back and beginning of the book weren't that great but there's a good chunk in the middle that was really good.
All in all, Roseblood was a bit of a mixed bag. I was so ready to completely love this book, and while I did enjoy it for the most part it wasn't a perfect book and it had some issues that led to a little bit of disappointment.