A.G. Howard’s Splintered series is quite well known and on my list of TBR. So I expected good things, and although my rating isn’t that high, I did really the book. For me, there were some specific things that could have been worked on that would have got her a higher star rating.
I love the concept of synesthesia, having studied it in my Psychology degree, and I’ve never read a book with energy sucking powers, so this was new to me. YA readers will love this book.
A.G. Howard returns with a creepy, clever novel that will thrill readers. Rune has a mysterious affliction thats linked to her musical talent. Her mother believes creative direction will help, so she sends Rune to a French arts conservatory rumored to have inspired The Phantom of the Opera. When Rune begins to develop a friendship with the elusive Thorn, she realizes that with him she feels cured. But as their love grows, Thorn is faced with an impossible choice: save Rune or protect the phantom haunting RoseBlood the only father he’s ever known. Fans of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the Splintered series will adore this retelling of one of the most famous stories of all time.
A.G. Howard was a new author to me; I haven’t read her Splintered series, but I’d heard good things about RoseBlood, so I was hoping for a good book, and I got it. RoseBlood was a cracking read. Howard has a beautiful voice and is reminiscent of Lauren Oliver. If you liked her Delirium series, I suspect you would like RoseBlood too. Howard’s voice is dominated by her beautiful and detailed descriptions that are perhaps a little heavy for what I am used to in YA fantasy, and remind me a little more of an older school fantasy style, but I am seeing more and more YA fantasy authors writing in a heavy descriptive style.
Nonetheless, I adored her style of writing, which were particularly suited to describing the synaesthesic-like powers the characters have. Her style creates rich images in my mind, and that very quickly drew me into the story. I adored the characters powers and the concept of drawing energy from different living beings. That’s not a power I’ve seen done before, so it felt fresh and novel.
The characterisation was good. I was a little confused about the twins in the book especially early on. I don’t think there was enough clarity on their relationship and at one point I almost thought the siblings had incestuous feelings. Clearly, I’d misunderstood, but it’s something to note.
The other thing that confused me initially was that the book is written from two different Points of View. When in chapters written from the protagonist’s POV, it’s written in the first person. When from the love interests POV it’s written in the third person. At first, I struggled with the swapping about, but after a few chapter swaps I soon got used to it and found it very easy to jump between the two. Perhaps my only real criticism is that when writing in the third person, I did find myself occasionally confused between who things referred to: Thorn or Erik.
I liked all the characters; I think they were unique and individualised and with the exception of the twins, I remembered them all and quickly distinguished them all. I also liked the complexity, depth and rich detail to the history of the antagonist; this was quite exceptional.
For me, the end didn’t quite live up to the rest of the book. I’m trying not to add any spoilers here, but while I loved how it ended between the two main characters, the third main character kinda just rolled over and played dead and after 460 odd pages of doing the exact opposite I was surprised, to say the least. I might well read the follow ups to this book if there are any as I’d like to see whether there are some consequences to the rollover and play dead reaction of this particular character.
This is a 3 out of 5 for me. Although my personal rating isn’t that high, don’t let it deter you, this was a great read with beautiful vivid images, it’s just a reflection of my personal taste on book endings.
My thanks to Netgalley and Amulet Books for a review copy.
Have you read the book? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.