Rating: 3½ ♥’s
March 9, 2021
Genre: Fantasy
Pages: 336

Description: Isda does not exist. At least not beyond the opulent walls of the opera house.
Cast into a well at birth for being one of the magical few who can manipulate memories when people sing, she was saved by Cyril, the opera house’s owner. Since that day, he has given her sanctuary from the murderous world outside. All he asks in return is that she use her power to keep ticket sales high—and that she stay out of sight. For if anyone discovers she survived, Isda and Cyril would pay with their lives.
But Isda breaks Cyril’s cardinal rule when she meets Emeric Rodin, a charming boy who throws her quiet, solitary life out of balance. His voice is unlike any she’s ever heard, but the real shock comes when she finds in his memories hints of a way to finally break free of her gilded prison.
Haunted by this possibility, Isda spends more and more time with Emeric, searching for answers in his music and his past. But the price of freedom is steeper than Isda could ever know. For even as she struggles with her growing feelings for Emeric, she learns that in order to take charge of her own destiny, she must become the monster the world tried to drown in the first place.

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley & Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review

I have always enjoyed The Phantom of the Opera story and when I read the description I thought oh my is this a retelling of it?! Yes, it was, just gender-switched and of course with a different reason for why she is hidden, and technically she is the Opera Ghost. The reason Isda is hidden is that she was born with powers, and these powers make you look deformed and she has to keep her face hidden, especially since she wasn’t even supposed to be saved. I liked that her powers were different than you were expecting, it is cool she is able to put images into people’s minds, although also scary because she can always put bad stuff in there.

I thought the book flowed well and it was written well. I like that we learn more background on people like Isda as she learns memories from other people when they sing. I thought Isda and Emeric’s relationship was a good one. Emeric made me laugh, especially when he kept talking to the skull outside her door. I do wish there had been more time with them together to where you really got to see how good they could be together, but it isn’t easy when she has to stay hidden and Emeric has a voice that needs to be heard.

I thought the characters were fairly well written. Isda seemed kind of typical to me in the sense that she is wanting to have a life outside of what she knows and she blindly trusts the wrong person, then when she finds out it is a lie she wants to break free, but also at the same time she wants to protect those she cares about and gives up some of her happiness to do that. Emeric was likable and he did truly love Isda for who she was. Cyril was a good bad guy character as well. I think mainly the characters seemed just kind of typical, I know it is a retelling but I wanted some more from them.

The book overall though was a fun read and I enjoyed a different take on the story. I am curious to know what happens to Isda after this story takes place! Does she find what she is looking for, a world where she can be somewhat free in to not live in the shadows? Do her and Emeric cross paths again, and what becomes of his sister? I am also looking forward to reading A Forgery of Roses that comes out this year!

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