Review: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

28818314 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. .

2.5 Stars

Never has a book disappointed or frustrated me as much as RoseBlood has. I mean, I don’t even know where to start. I was just not feeling it. Too weird, but mostly RoseBlood just wasn’t satisfying.

And now for some pre-review context: if you know anything about me, you’ll know that I am obsessed with all things Phantom. I mean, there’s just so much to this story. That and the fact that the Phantom is sexy AF. Anyway, The Phantom of the Opera is an epic, haunting story about a disfigured man’s decent into murder and violence. A dark look at love verses obsession, the Phantom manipulates, tortures and even kills in his quest to possess Christine’s heart.

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And of course, we couldn’t get through this review without mentioning my utter devotion to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s productions of Phantom of the Opera and it’s sequel Love Never Dies. Let’s just say I’ve seen every version I can get my hands on. That includes the horribly miscast film version and my personal favorite, the 25th anniversary production filmed live at the Royal Albert Hall staring Sierra Boggess and my favorite leading man Ramin Karimloo.

There was a lot of material for A.G. Howard to work with and I was super excited to see how the dynamics would change in a modern adaption. That being said, maybe I was a little too close to the source material? I can defiantly see how that might have impacted my reading experience.

Regardless, and which ever way you look at it, Roseblood just didn’t cut it for me. And I wanted to love this book – I really did – but it was a struggle from page one. A struggle that only grew worse the harder I urged myself to trudge on. I ended up having to bargain with myself just to press on. Even then, I think I pretty much skimmed the last hundred or so pages. And I never skim. Ever.

Phantom Of The Opera Abort GIF - PhantomOfTheOpera Abort RunAway ...

Anyway, there were many factors at play as to why Roseblood fell short. The most blatant was the flowery prose. A.G. Howard writes with this very unique style. It’s atmospheric, lush and seriously creepy but, as beautiful as it was, I felt too detached from story. If I’m being 100% transparent, probably 98% of the time I was only reading words on a page. I couldn’t immerse myself in the characters or the plot.

The prose also play a huge role in slowing down the action, another issue I had with Roseblood. The influx of adjectives made the plot drag giving Roseblood this uneven, almost choppy pacing. I mean, there were parts that were gripping while others moved at a glacial pace. The trudge was real. What I really needed from Roseblood was a fast moving plot with a huge helping of darkness and horror. After all, that’s what the source material demands.

Then there’s the plot. The Phantom of the Opera is a gothic novel featuring one of literature’s most complex and layered characters. The Phantom is neither hero nor villain but a vulnerable victim of circumstance and cruelty. I desperately needed A.G. Howard to do this classic justice. What I got was an angsty high school drama, ridden with a plethora of cliches. Oh, and the Phantom is now a subterranean energy-feeding vampire because sure, why not?

PhoenixWing18 (Tiene(cheh-nuh)) - DeviantArt | Musicale

Okay, so you’re probably wondering why the 2.5 rating?

I know I just hated all over Roseblood. Look, it’s just not the book for me. That being said, there were a few redeeming qualities which bumped up my initial rating. Original source material aside, A.G. Howard’s characters were interesting and I enjoyed the dynamic between Thorn and Erik. It was their relationship, the love lost between father and son, that redeemed Roseblood and kept me from DNFing. Their arch and backstory was the definition of heartbreaking.

At the end of it, was Erik as terrifying and dark as Leroux’s phantom? No. Let’s be real, no one could ever top Leroux, or even Andrew Lloyd Webber for that matter. But I did find A.G. Howard’s characterization of him compelling enough to see me through to the final page. Just to be clear though, I will never forgive the whole subterranean vampire thing. Yikes.

Side note: I actually loved A.G. Howard’s ingenious chapter titles. The use of “Overture” as a substitute for prologue was an obvious nod I seriously appreciated.

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12 thoughts on “Review: RoseBlood by A.G. Howard

  1. […] Urgh these books… I just can’t. What frustrated me the most about both Wintersong and Roseblood was the fact that I was so excited to read them – YA retellings of Labyrinth and the Phantom of the Opera? Um, hell yes! However despite the gorgeous covers I had more than a few issues with what was inside. Wintersong was by far the very worst book I’ve ever had the misfortune to read. Basically 50 Shades of Labyrinth this book has since become my arch nemesis. Curious as too why these books just didn’t cut it for me? You can read my Wintersong Review here and my Roseblood Review here. […]

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  2. Oh no … it’s on my wishlist ! I wanted to read it so bad ! I wanted it for christmas and then I finaly went for A court of thorns and roses by Sarah J Maas (that I haven’t read yet, but I must !)
    I think I won’t buy it :/

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    • You never know – you might end up liking it. I found it a little like Wintersong but if you know what you’re in for then you might have more fun than I did. The good thing about Roseblood is it has stronger characters and a plot haha. I would recommend seeing if you can borrow it from the library or even buying it second hand. That’s what I do when I’m unsure about a book but really want to read it. That way if you love it great – now you can get your own copy! If not at least you saved your money 🙂

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        • Okay don’t laugh but now all I can picture is Belle’s “small provincial town” from Beauty and the Beast haha. But jokes aside that must be so beautiful! France is on the very top of my bucket list, such a beautiful country 🙂

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              • Well free, not entirely, like you have to pay for lunch, or if the school is doing a trip (even though you never have to go if you don’t want to), but for example, I paid like 80€ for University (around 120 australian $) because I’m not “rich” but the “wealthy ones” pay like hundred euros, which is nothing compare to the United States or what so ever ahah
                We do have schools that want you to pay 10 000 € a year but they are private

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                  • In France we are really lucky. As I told you we have a pretty good healthcare (for example, going to the doctor is almost free and if you have a mutual health it’s totally free. If you have to go the hospital it’s the same, a lot of surgeries are refund, and for example when you have a baby the government gives you 1000€ to help you with the furnitures. We have a really good country to help you live

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