Fantasy

Sing Me Forgotten: An Enchanting ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Retelling

*I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher. All quotes used in this review come from the uncorrected proof. These are my personal, honest opinions. Thank you.*

4/5 Stars

Author: Jessica S. Olson

Publisher/Imprint: Inkyard Press

Edition: Paperback ARC, 325 Pages

Hardcover Publication Date: March 09, 2021

A Spine that Shines? Quite Well!

 

Book Synopsis

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.

Book Review

I am a shadow. A shimmer of black satin. A wraith in the dark.

-Jessica S. Olson, Sing Me Forgotten

Initial Thoughts

Hello, friends! I hope you’re all staying safe and enjoying the beginning of spring! I’ve been a bit absent from my WordPress blog – I fell into a bit of a slump after two deaths in my family. But it feels good to be back, and I’m excited to share with you my thoughts about Sing Me Forgotten! I thought this was a very creative fantasy retelling of Phantom of the Opera.

Let’s jump into some of the highlights:

  • The magic in this story is one of my favorite aspects of the book! Gravoirs and fendoirs are both born with deformed faces. Gravoirs have the ability to see and manipulate people’s memories when they sing. Fendoirs can actually extract people’s memory elixir (the substance that actually holds people’s memories) when they sing.
  • I’m so glad to finally find a YA author who plays around with these memory concepts! It is fascinating!
  • Everything takes place in a Paris-like fantasy world setting!
  • I also loved the atmosphere!
  • The book had an addictive quality that kept me reading!
  • The ending is quite an emotional roller coaster ride! So if you like emotional endings, you’d probably like this one.
  • You’ll also find a sweet romance!

They may have forced me into the dark, but I am not as powerless as they would have me be.

-Jessica S. Olson, Sing Me Forgotten

Characters & Romance

1B72D35A-AFFE-4C29-B5B2-78E034B6560BHere is a brief overview of the characters and the romance:

  • Isda is a gravoir who has been in hiding her entire life ever since the opera house owner took her in as a baby. She decorates her masks to make them look dazzling and elegant. She loves music and longs for a chance to live outside the opera house in the real world like a normal human being. Then one day, she hears a young man’s captivating voice singing, and it changes everything for her.
  • Emeric is a dreamy janitor boy with an angelic voice. He excels at making warm, sugary caramels and making Isda melt inside. Though there is more to him than meets the eye.
  • Cyril is the ambitious opera house owner who saved Isda when she was a baby. He fed her, clothed her, and gave her a place to live in the catacombs beneath the opera house.
  • The romance between Isda and Emeric is sweet, and I liked it a lot. However, it didn’t completely tug at my heartstrings until closer to the end. Emeric is very “good” – almost a perfect love-interest. By this I mean, he accepts almost everything Isda does, and I felt like there wasn’t as much tension as there could’ve been in those situations. But I still liked them as a couple.
  • While I’m on the topic of characters, I’ll also add that the “villain” character seemed a bit one-dimensional until the very end. He wanted to gain power, but for most of the book, I wasn’t sure exactly what he wanted to use the power to achieve.

If they want me to be a nightmare, then a nightmare I shall be.

-Jessica S. Olson, Sing Me Forgotten

Final Thoughts

Here are some final thoughts:

  • I noticed a few things here and there that didn’t totally add up or that weren’t completely fleshed out. For example, it didn’t make complete sense to me that Emeric would agree to voice lessons and follow a masked woman down into the depths of the catacombs after their first conversation. There are a few other things, but I don’t want to go into spoilers. I just told myself to go along with them since they didn’t hinder my overall enjoyment of the story.
  • I would’ve been interested to learn more about what some of the other rune symbols would do, but that’s just a small wish.
  • I also would’ve been curious to learn more about Isda’s parents. We see so many memories of Emeric’s background, but I sometimes felt I wanted more of Isda’s. Was it that easy for her parents to cast her aside without a second thought?
  • The writing style is certainly lovely, but here and there, I also thought that it was trying to be a bit too “flowery”; in some paragraphs there were a lot of metaphors or similes when I think one or two would’ve sufficed. Too much figurative language in one paragraph tends to distract me from the story. But of course, there are certainly many other beautiful lines throughout the book that I enjoyed. This is only a debut novel, and I think Olson’s writing style will continue to develop throughout her career.
  • The pacing is not totally consistent throughout the book. The first half of the novel was not as suspenseful as I had expected it to be. The focus is more on the characters and singing lessons, not so much on the “haunting” of the opera house. But the second half of the book really picks up with more of the bloody, action-packed type of scenes.

Overall, I really enjoyed this standalone! The ending made me so emotional! I look forward to reading Olson’s next novel A Forgery of Roses when it comes out next year! For now, if you’re a fan of magic, music, romance, and Phantom of the Opera, I recommend ordering Sing Me Forgotten ASAP from your local bookstore or library! I think you’d enjoy it! Happy reading, everyone 🙂

*Content Warnings: Fantasy violence and gore; gun violence.*

Copyright © 2021 by Spines that Shine (Caitlin Shaffer)

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Up Next on My TBR: Fable

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4 thoughts on “Sing Me Forgotten: An Enchanting ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Retelling”

  1. I first heard of this book at the beginning of the month when I was looking at new releases and the synopsis had me totally hooked! It immediately went on my TBR and clearly, I made the right choice. Reading your review has me even more excited to check out this book soon!

    Liked by 1 person

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