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.
RoseBlood is almost the worst, and certainly the most disappointing, book I have ever read. It reads like a delirious fan-fic that was never meant to see the light of day. It was extremely formulaic, completely illogical, and got progressively worse forcing me to stop halfway. After reading some detailed reviews on Goodreads, and realizing that the story was only going to go even further downhill, I DNFed, and do believe I made the right decision.
It’s a shame because I really really love The Phantom of the Opera and this looked like such a promising retelling. But what could have an awesomely creepy story was instead a highly unoriginal young adult paranormal romance: there’s a girl who doesn’t realize how pretty she is and who may or may not have special abilities and be the chosen one. She instantly makes enemies with a rich, popular girl at boarding school and is stalked by a really hot guy who has special abilities. Before they even meet they know they are perfect for each other and fall instantly in love in a relationship that somehow manages to be even creepier than the original Phantom story.
Then, if that weren’t bad enough, RoseBlood proceeds to contradict the original in ways that not only lose sight of the whole point of The Phantom of the Opera but that are laughably atrocious. I’m still struggling to get over some of the parts I read because I just can’t understand why anyone thought any of it would be a good idea. A retelling should be a clever reworking of a well-know story, allowing you to see it in a new light, not turn it into something horrible and barely recognizable. I will admit that this is more of a sequel than a true retelling, but that doesn’t make it any less abominable.
I am also unsure of the purpose Rune’s friends served, as instead of being the ideal friends group I’m assuming they were supposed to be, they came across as downright creepy and annoying. In keeping with the original, Rune having only one friend would have made a lot more sense and probably would have worked a lot better. In fact, the decision to focus on Rune’s ‘normal’ life at school only served to hinder the progress of the plot, making RoseBlood not just horrible but boring too.
Finally, to top things off, RoseBlood continually refers to Romani people as gypsies, which is a very dated and highly offensive term. Rune is constantly bemoaning her “cursed gypsy blood” which isn’t just wrong, but racist.
Literally the only positives I can come up with is the beautiful cover and the school building itself (an old Opera house in Paris) but other than that, this book was a catastrophe. I definitely do not recommend it.