Initial reaction: Fantastic. I’m in love with this book.
Now that I’ve had a little time to process, here are my thoughts in list form because I have a LOT of thoughts on this book.
-THORN. He is the perfect antihero. His past is so tortured and dark that is causes him to live in the shadow of a monster. His love for Rune was so raw and real that it made it easy for me to forgive all of the diabolical things he did.
-Rune and her gift. She has such an amazing talent, but the pain it causes her is just… haunting. The guilt and fear she carries is so real. Feeling her pain truly was like listening to an aria.
-Diable and Ange (mostly Diable, though). I love animals as supporting characters! Though they could not speak, they each played an integral role in the story.
-There is no love triangle! At first I thought there was going to be, but it was quickly dismissed. I really appreciate that the author focused all of her efforts in Rune and Thorn’s love instead is adding drama for the sake of adding drama.
-Dare I say?! THE PHANTOM! Ok, so for the majority of the book I did not like this guy. Wait until the last 25% or so. Once I heard all of his story, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him (which is exactly what he doesn’t want). He is still really F’d up, but I at least was able to understand the motive behind his madness.
-A.G. Howard’s prose. I fell in love with the writing style on this book. It is descriptive (but not excessive) and so romantic. The verbiage she uses is so beautiful. Even if I didn’t love the story, I would’ve still given the book a high rating on the writing alone.
-The cover of the book is beautiful and fits the story perfectly. I also love how the finished copies have red font!
-Rune’s friends at RoseBlood. They, especially Sunny, were a caricature of every cliche boarding school character that you’d expect in a YA book.
-The ending. While I loved everything building up to the ending, I didn’t like the way things were resolved between Rune and Thorn. Based off of their interactions with each other through the entire book, it just felt odd.
-The book is definitely slow burning. You have to stick with it in the beginning and middle because it is setting the stage for what is to come. The last portion of the book is completely worth the wait.
This is my first A.G. Howard book and it will certainly not be my last. Overall, this story is fantastic and I would recommend to anyone who enjoys retellings or music. I plan on recommending this book to a few friends who are not readers but have a love of opera.
I also would really love if some of the other characters got their own stories. For example, I would totally read a novella or book about Jipetto. Give me more of this world!