Yes, I skipped over Thorn’s (Etalon, whatever) POV. I tried it once, almost fell asleep and got annoyed at it all. Nearer to the end I just flipped through it, but I never really was interested in it. He was a great character, but I didn’t want to see his POV.
Now before I get to the good stuff, there are a few things that I need to get out of my system first.
The nicknames of Rune and her friends. It reminded me of Harry Potter, the 4 people who made the Marauder’s map. We have a Blackbird (Audrey), a Songbird (Rune), a Sunspot (Sunny), a Moonpie (Quan). Really whut?
The fact that it really got annoying that Thorn was Thorn in his POV, but when he was with Rune, and in Rune’s POV he was Etalon. Really. Can’t we just have one name instead of making it confusing?
Also The Phantom got called Erik, then The Phantom, then Erik again. Sometimes even in the same sentence.
Then we have one last thing that bothered me.
Now having those things out of the way I can talk about the stuff that I liked. For instance that this was an Phantom of the Opera Alternative Universe telling. I wouldn’t call it a retelling as this one takes places years after the Phantom of the Opera, plus there are various things that just make this a continuation/alternative universe story, stuff I can’t tell as it would be a spoiler, and I don’t want my review to be full of spoiler tags.
It is quite an interesting idea to just continue with the story, let us know what happened to Christine/a, how the Phantom works, blend in some family stuff, curses, souls, and more.
Then there is the boarding school setting. Everyone who knows me knows that I LOVE boarding schools and reading about them, and this was no different. I loved reading about the lessons, about the chores the kids have to do, about the auditions, about the room (I want a loft in my home too), about the dance, the trips to Paris (even if they were really really sparse). This was a great boarding school story, and I am delighted.
Add to that the creepy setting of a giant garden, a forest, hidden tunnels, hidden words being said through vents, cats that pop up from nowhere, creepy rooms filled with props or death. I could just imagine myself walking around in that school. Singing, learning (though I would have loved to see more lessons), having a great time with my friends.
Yes, friends, I really loved Sunny from the start, she was so much fun, and also interesting. I was worried that everyone in the school might be uppity and high and mighty (given that one just didn’t get into the school that easily), but then we meet with several characters and I was just so delighted. Of course Kat (and also Roxie, though she was just a copycat, and also had another reason (awwww) to follow Kat) was the typical OMG I have heritage type. But Quan, Jax, Audrey, Sunny? They were all terrific, and I loved how they cared for Rune even if they just got to know her. Even later on, they were protective, sweet, and they really were great friends. I loved reading about them, especially Sunny’s antics were fabulous.
Rune was a very interesting girl, though she did feel several tropes that annoy me. She is so perfect in many things. From singing to how she looks. Also how she just endangers herself without a care in the world. I wouldn’t have minded a bit plainer, more careful girl (finding out everything is OK, but endangering yourself is a no-no).
I wasn’t all to delighted with her at the beginning, and how she ruined that audition. Couldn’t she just have gone somewhere else? Also later there were some inconsistencies. Like Rune saying she could burst windows with a high note, but then we never see that caution in the rest of the book, it just seemed weird.
But when she starts to master her ability she became a fun girl, and I was definitely happy with her.
I loved how strong she was, and how she never gives up. She will find out the truth about what is going on with her, with her life, and nothing will stop her from finding out. Even if it means she has to dig deep.
I also have to give bonus points to the cover (so pretty and fitting) and to the font (red! So pretty, more books should have coloured letters) to the chapter headers (thorny perfection).
I would definitely recommend this book to everyone. It has some fun twists and turns, great characters, a wonderful boarding school setting, and lots of mystery. But be warned, this is not a retelling per se. There are some stuff about the PotO that have been changed, but mostly this is just a continuation on the story. At least in my opinion.