Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-Rune Germain has sung opera since she was four years old, as her father played arias on his violin. She sings beautifully, and often the music becomes so strong that it bursts out of her, but each performance leaves her feeling ill, especially following her father's death. After Rune has a devastating encounter with a boy at a party, her mother sends her to her aunt's music conservatory, RoseBlood, near Paris, hoping that it will cure Rune of her "affliction." The school has a past that scares Rune. Originally a theater modeled after the one in Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, the building burned down and has been partially rebuilt with funds from an anonymous benefactor. At RoseBlood, Rune experiences cruelty from jealous classmates, but she also makes good friends, and at night, lovely violin music lulls her to sleep. Then, in a secret encounter, she meets violin-playing Etalon, who helps her understand the mysteries surrounding the school as well as her own identity. In a complex interweaving of teen school story, romance, and horror, the novel combines Phantom narrative elements with a cast of energy-sucking psychic vampires. Rune is a multifaceted, artistic character whose actions and reactions feel believably young adult as she confronts questions about family secrets and heredity. This is an accomplished undertaking, although the slow reveal may fail to engage some readers, especially those unfamiliar with the source material. VERDICT A good purchase for paranormal romance collections, and the connections to a classic work of literature add appeal.-Janet Hilbun, University of North Texas, Denton © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Booklist Review
Most preternatural gifts, it seems, come with a catch, and for Rune Germain, it's the illness that strikes every time she unleashes her otherworldly voice. Now she's been shipped off to RoseBlood, a French conservatory for the arts and the rumored inspiration for famous novel-turned-musical The Phantom of the Opera, where she encounters Thorn, a mysterious boy who turns out to be the adopted son of the infamous Phantom himself. The Phantom wants Rune for one singular, sinister purpose, but as the connection between Thorn and Rune deepens, Thorn's loyalties are torn. This alternates between Rune's first-person narration and Thorn's third-person musings, and it's more sequel than retelling: references to the original novel are frequent. Readers interested in musical theater will be better served elsewhere, as the focus here is more on Rune's supernatural talents and the sometimes-fuzzy reason behind her magical connection with Thorn. This is for a narrower audience than Howard's Wonderland-inspired Splintered series, but fans of dark, all-consuming romance will find plenty to sing about.--Reagan, Maggie Copyright 2016 Booklist