So my name is Rashika and I am weird. I read a lot (duh) and I watch a lot of TV. I also like to review. Check out my blog (where I co-blog with awesome people).
***This review has also been posted on The Social Potato
When I first found out that Sarah Fine had a new book coming out, I was over the moon. My expectations soared as I read the blurb, and I knew I needed this book in my life. It was only a couple weeks before reading this that I found out that this book was actually a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. I don’t remember much from the movie (and I’ve never read the book) but I remembered the haunting atmosphere and the chills and how absolutely scared I was at some points (I was also 8 when I watched the movie, so there is that) and I was definitely curious to see how Fine would incorporate all the elements of the tale into this retelling. She aced. While this was not a 5 star read for me, it was definitely a memorable one.
Wen was a very likeable character. I’ll admit there were moments when I wasn’t her biggest fan, but for the most part, she was pretty likeable. After her initial prejudice, she quickly realized that everything she has been told about the Noor wasn't true and perhaps they weren't the savages people make them out to be. She started seeing the injustice they suffered. When she made these realizations, she did her best to compensate for the mistakes she has made and the pain she has caused and that was what made her so likeable to me. She was compassionate, but at the same time, she was guilt-ridden which made her more human and real.
One of the things that really stuck with me throughout the book was the injustice the Noor suffered. To say it broke my heart is an understatement. I was genuinely terrified at times at the ignorance and how easily judgement could be passed to a whole group of people. I was horrified at how at every turn, there were so much bad treatment done against them just for who they were. The sad thing about this is that it isn’t as uncommon in our own world as one might think.
But what really made me happy was how in spite of all the injustices they suffered, they remained strong. They kept their heads up, but they also didn't go out of their way looking for fights because they realized that they would become targets and endanger themselves further.
Melik, their leader, stole my heart. Melik was the kind of love interest I love. He was incredibly sweet, but at the same time he was strong. He stood up for what he believed in and would always protect his own. I am not going to say more about him because I don’t know what to say, except that he was an INCREDIBLE character and a swoonworthy love interest.
The romance between the two could be considered slightly insta-love, but in all honesty, I didn’t mind in the slightest. It was just so sweet. It's the kind of romance I enjoy and the best thing is that it didn't take over the plot. There were so much more going on than just the romance even though it did play an important role, considering the position of the Noors in the society.
Take note, though, that in my mind, there wasn’t a love triangle in this story, although there were hints of one. If you’ve seen or read The Phantom of the Opera you’ll already know what I mean and if you haven’t, I hope you have fun finding out!
What really made this book so incredible was the atmosphere the author created. It was gloomy and there were times while reading the book I felt so overwhelmed, especially in the beginning, but the author weaved in other things to make this book the masterpiece that it is.
Fine marvelously entwined elements of the original tale into this book, and at times I almost wanted to jump up and clap my hands when I noticed something. The world she built based on the original tale shined and I was definitely not disappointed.
Especially in terms of the plot. Fine managed to create something thoroughly original with this retelling and I was always on my toes. I devoured the book and I was so surprised when it came to a somewhat abrupt end.
All I want right now is a copy of the sequel in my hands.
With all that said, I haven’t even mentioned one of the most important characters in this book, the ghost (who shall not be named for fear of spoilers). And I will not be discussing the ghost further because this is a character you need to get to know yourselves. The ghost was exquisitely developed and was definitely a fantastic character. Whether or not I liked the ghost… well, that’s another story.
This is a gloriously written book and I was not let down in the least. With a great set of characters, a gloomy atmosphere and an almost chilling plot, this book is not something you would want to miss.