RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I think I'm just going to have to stop reading A.G. Howard books. I'm always drawn in by the cover art and the premise of the stories. In this case, we're treated to a rendition of Phantom of the Opera. Other than direct retellings in popular culture (musical and movie), I honestly don't know of any other versions of this story being told in literature.
This time we're with Rune, a young girl with a voice that can kill. After an accident at a party, she is sent to a boarding school for musical artists in Paris to live with her Aunt. Since the death of her father, Rune (yeah...her name is Rune) has been unable to control herself when it comes to her naturally operatic voice. Sometimes she finds herself unable to stop her voice from singing out even though once she does it makes her sick.
After a disastrous introduction to her fellow classmates, Rune manages to carve out a little circle of well meaning friends. Meanwhile Etalon/Thorn, who is an orphan taken in by THE Phantom has started stalking her on behalf of his father in order to bring her into their family.
The twist as to who/what the Phantom is and where Rune fits into the mythos is a decent one…but yet again I find myself thinking the book has gone on too long. That there's just too many details involved in the explanation about how things work in this world.
I love dense fantasy novels, I really do enjoy a thoroughly built world. What I don't enjoy is having four page monologues from side characters explaining how the world works or having secrets revealed in this way. I know that this is just a personal preference of mine so I can't really hold it against the author.
Here's an analogy that if you're like me…you might understand about how I feel about this book. If Leigh Bardugo or VE Schwab is the fantasy equivalent of Stephen King…A.G. Howard is the Dean Koontz. Excellent stories but way too many details for my taste.
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