Darn you, Jess. I was so close to not going over what I set as my book budget, but you just haaaaad to post all those scandalous-looking teasers. (ButDarn you, Jess. I was so close to not going over what I set as my book budget, but you just haaaaad to post all those scandalous-looking teasers. (But thaaaanks for introducing me to this amazing book. All is forgiven, you amazing person, you!)
Edited because I just realized I tagged/"blamed" the wrong Jess. <3...more
While reading Joe Abercrombie's HALF A KING, I was struck by the most peculiar sense of deja vu. Something about the story felt so familiar to me - which is weird, because I'd never picked up anything by this author before in my life!
As I continued reading, eventually it hit me. HALF A KING is like a fantasy version of Robert Louis Stevenson's works. Just think about it for a second, hear me out. You have your teenage boy protagonist who ends up losing everything he has because of a tragedy. The people who are close to him betray him. He ends up kidnapped/in poverty, and is forced to make the best of his circumstances, while endearing himself to others because of his cleverness or kindness, later ending up better off than he was before. Add to that a generous dash of adventure and a bit of Viking-inspired mythology in a land of ice and snow, and you have a pretty compelling setting and story line.
We ended up reading this book in another reading group I'm apart of, and when I was explaining the book to people, I told them to imagine a Game of Thrones-like book for younger readers, only with Tyrion Lanister as the main character. Yarvi, the protagonist, really is a lot like Tyrion. He's disfigured (one of his hands is deformed), and therefore will never be as useful in combat as someone who is not. His father hates him/is embarrassed by him because of this birth defect, and treats him like poo because of it. The rest of his family sneers at him. When his father and brother both die before his time, Yarvi becomes king. An event he isn't really prepared for, since he was in training to become a minister, not a royal. He takes the crown, gets married, and boom - BETRAYAL!
The rest of the story follows Yarvi as he escapes death, is sold by slavers, and then, later on, is forced to brave the elements...all in the name of revenge. There's always a lot going on, and even though the book isn't super long, it features a pretty large supporting cast. At times, it could almost be exhausting, trying to keep up with all the new developments! I was like, "Oh my God, book. Wait for me..." And the book was like, "Nah, keep up, wimp. We're almost there. Just a little further."
Even though I really enjoyed HALF A KING, I do think the pacing was a little off. Towards the end, the book slowed down noticeably. Then it picked up, and there were some twists that surprised me. Like, I literally did NOT see them coming, and I always see them coming. So that was kind of cool. But the beginning of the book was nonstop action, so it was annoying to have to slog through a very long journey. I hate journey sequences. I also thought that Yarvi felt a little wooden at times. Sometimes he felt like a robot with his constant swearing of revenge.
If you're into the idea GOT: #TeamTyrion edition, though, pick this book up. It really does deliver in that regard, and I must say that I enjoyed reading about a character who actually was clever and didn't just have the narrator tell us he was.
Also, the female characters in this book are unanimously bad-ass whether a villainess or a heroine, so that was nice, as well.
Sorry for all the updates this weekend! I don't have a lot of time to write during the week, so I'm trying to set this all up now. :)
One-starring this because it's a first draft, and GOD, can this author NOT edit?*
*spoilers: no, she can't.
OK, I just remembered you can mark books as currently-reading to post updates about them, so now I can do that instead of just posting random status updates and blog entries.
Hi! This is a story I've been working on in secret for about a year and a half. I told myself if I stayed with it, I'd make my story public, and I did, so I did. It's still a pretty rough draft, but it's free to read on Wattpad. Yay!
It's been a while since I could get excited about writing anything, apart from book reviews (yesss, book reviews), so I can't tell you how good it feels to be pumped about my work again. ^.^
I've also written a blurb about it on my author blog, although it does contain spoilers. Nothing critical to the plot or anything like that, but some people like to go in completely blind when reading a new book for the first time and I respect that. If you're interested, here's another link.
If you have time, please leave a comment. I'd love any sort of feedback. :)...more
I've been sitting here for several moments trying to figure out how to begin this review. The Lone City is such a weird YA trilogy: it's dark, and yet not dark enough; it makes genuine attempts to be gritty, but is bogged down by cliche and tepid romance; it appears to be a fantasy novel, yet the world-building is so terrible that it could just as easily be a drastically different version of our world. In short, The Lone City is the perfect storm of things that I don't generally like in YA, and especially NOT in YA fantasy, and by all rights, I should have figuratively thrown this book out the window (figuratively, because I read it on my laptop, woo).
And yet, by some miracle, The Lone City was...okay.
THE JEWEL was confusing and shallow, but was dark enough that I thought there might be something to the world-building. It raised more questions than it answered, however, so my expectations for book two went up. THE WHITE ROSE answered some of my questions, but raised a whole host of new ones and took the world-building in the complete opposite direction of what I thought the author was setting it up for. Suddenly, I wasn't looking at a dystopian future, but a bizarre alternate universe fantasy world, apparently.
Book three, THE BLACK KEY, was fair game. I decided that I just wasn't going to have any expectations; this time, I was just going to sit back and try to enjoy this crazy, crazy little ride.
Violet used to be a surrogate - an empty vessel for the rich upper class to impregnate and then kill when they were done with her. Except, all surrogates have magical powers. And it turns out that these magical powers are far more potent than anyone bothered to tell them, and are linked to the land. Because, as it turns out, the royal class are invaders in this world; the surrogates are the original inhabitants - "the Paladins" - who were enslaved and then exploited by the invaders.
At the end of the last book, it's revealed that Violet's preteen sister has been impregnated by Violet's ex-owner, so she and the other Paladins devise a plan to not only take The Jewel by force and free all the surrogates, but also to rescue Violet's sister. Violet's love interest, Ash, goes on to stage the rebellion while Violet poses as a lady-in-waiting inside her old house for reconnaissance. The clock for their grand coup is ticking down. All they need are the last few pieces of the puzzle.
The world-building was never fully resolved (or if it was, I missed it). We know that the royals are exploitative pieces of sh*t, but the middle classes weren't really explained. It's sort of implied that Paladin powers can skip a generation, which is why Violet's mom didn't have any, so I guess we're just supposed to assume that everyone who isn't royalty is a "native" inhabitant who was then subjugated by outsiders. We also never really found out where the invaders came from, why they can't get pregnant, and why the hell they have cars. (I'm still hung up on that getaway car from THE WHITE ROSE. It makes me think that, like THE SELECTION, this world might be a futuristic version of our world, but again, since the world-building was so badly done, I can't be sure.)
I felt the pregnancy thing with Hazel was a cop-out, but mostly I was relieved that a preteen hadn't actually been impregnated against her will because that would have been awful. I decided I hated Violet again in this book, because all she does is a) whine, b) blow cover, and c) make stupid and selfish decisions. When she's going undercover under the name "Imogen" she actually falls for it when someone tries to trick her by saying, "Violet?" Add to that the fact that she can't stop smirking at people and glaring at Carnelian (her "rival" for Ash), and it's amazing she wasn't discovered from page one of this ridiculous plan. But going back to cop-outs, in the conclusion of this book there are two glaring ones that I literally could not believe.
Cop-out #1: This whole plan has been building up to getting revenge against the people who exploited them. Violet has it in for The Duchess, who killed one of her friends, almost got her love interest killed, and then kidnapped her younger sister. At the end of the book, she has the opportunity to use her powers to kill The Duchess - in fact, The Duchess even challenges her to do it - and Violet actually says, "I could, but I'm not gonna." (Maybe not in those exact words, but it was close.)
I'm sorry, but WHAT?
Cop-out #2: Violet went undercover to save her sister. She knows that her sister was kidnapped because of her. She's constantly talking about how much she loves her sister. But when she thinks she might have to choose between her sister - who she's known and allegedly loved for years - and this boy she just met but has decided she loves for some reason, Violet literally freezes in place and does nothing, while thinking (again, not in these exact words, but close), "I can't make this choice!"
B*tch, I don't see a Kellogg's label on your forehead, so you cannot POSSIBLY be cereal.
But don't worry, Violet doesn't have to make any hard choices at the end, because Raven - who has undergone much more terrible things at the hands of the royal class - kills The Duchess and saves both Ash and Hazel, so Violet doesn't have to decide between her sister and her insta-love. I couldn't help but feel like the author wanted to keep Violet a "nice" person, and thought that Violet wouldn't be able to be "nice" anymore if she had a murder under her belt, however deserved. There was a lot of cognitive dissonance and back-tracking, with Violet deciding things like, "Oh hey, Carnelian isn't a bad person after all, even though she tried to steal my boyfriend (whom I technically stole from her...) because she totally saved my boyfriend for me so I wouldn't have to lift a finger! Wow, what a great gal!" It led to some serious character inconsistencies, and I lost whatever respect for her character that I reluctantly gained over the last two books. I've decided she's a spoiled twit.
The Lone City is a strange trilogy. I can't say it's one of the best I've read, but it was engaging enough that I couldn't put it down and never really felt bored. Some readers might be annoyed by Violet's selfishness and confused by the world-building, but it's different enough that they'll probably be grudgingly fascinated by it, like I was. If The Lone City is anything, it's definitely unique.
The Kitty Norville series got old, fast, but I still think Carrie Vaughn is a great writer. She's written some fantastic shorts that you can read for free on Tor.com and her non-Kitty Norville books, which are mostly standalones, are unique and daring and mostly enjoyable. You can imagine my excitement then when I found out that Vaughn had decided to break the mold yet again and publish what looked like young adult space opera.
Speaking as someone who was reared on a steady diet of Star Wars and Star Trek, there are no two words in the literary universe that will have me running in your direction faster. Well, okay, that's not entirely true: "free bodice-rippers" would also have me getting pretty speedy in your direction, but I'm not sure whether the hyphen counts as cheating or not.
MARTIANS ABROAD isn't about actual aliens, but a bunch of teenagers who were reared on a Martian Colony and are now being sent to Earth to attend a prestigious academy. Our narrator is a teenage girl named Polly Newton, who is going with her "twin" brother Charles, and a handful of other Martians. Polly makes a huge stink about going, and throughout the book her refrain can basically be summed up as "Earth sucks, Mars is better."
And she wonders why she's not making any friends...
The Galileo Academy is like elite boarding school meets military school. They're closely supervised at all times by the tyrannical Ms. Stanton, have pretty much no free time, and it's clear from the get-go that many of the students and faculty are biased against Colonists...for some unspecified reason. Polly, on the other hand, is small and thin because of Mars's lower gravity, and she has trouble getting accustomed to the weird Earth food, can't eat certain things because of her gut bacteria, and isn't quite acclimated to the heavy gravity, thus finding herself constantly out of breath.
I appreciated the thought that clearly went into what it would be like living on a planet other than the one you were born on (gut bacteria and gravity were nice touches), but the story itself was boring. Polly is an incredibly immature heroine who acts more like a preteen than a teenager, and apart from her flaunting the rules and getting into fights with everyone from her brother, to the parents of other students, to the principal herself, there's pretty much no action until the very end. As a reader, I really didn't think that ending was worth the payoff. It felt like a pretty big cop-out.
How was it a cop-out? Let me put it like this - when I was in elementary school, there was this book I used to really love in a popular series you probably read, too. It was about a camp where the other students were curiously hostile, the faculty were either aloof or overtly threatening for no apparent reason, and horrible things kept happening causing the other campers to just disappear. At the end of the book, the author M. Night Shyamalan'd the heck out of me: it turns out that the camp was just a "test" to see if the kid, who is actually an alien, is ready to journey to planet Earth.
The twist in this book wasn't nearly as exciting.
Thanks to Netgalley/the publisher for the review copy!
As a nod to black history month, my romance group decided it would be fun to read a historical romance novel featuring two characters of black ancestry. We chose this book. I was really excited about this pick, because I've quickly grown to love Beverly Jenkins's work. Her writing style is reminiscent of Lisa Kleypas and Courtney Milan. Her headstrong heroines and swoony males, remind me of Kleypas, as well as how much attention she pays to the side characters, even having them walk in and out of later books. She reminds me of Courtney Milan in how she focuses her efforts on empowered women and people of color, which is so important because of how those narratives are often pushed aside.
FORBIDDEN is about a black woman named Eddy Carmichael. Both her parents are dead and she's estranged from her prostitute sister. After being robbed, she decides to head out to San Francisco while depending on the kindness of strangers to get there because her sister won't give her a dime. Of course, she gets robbed again, and then left for dead in the middle of the desert by a con artist just as soon as he discovers she won't trade him her body.
Rhine Fontaine, the hero, is the one who finds her and helps nurse her back to health. Rhine, the dreamboat on the cover, is a wealthy business owner and an active player in Nevada's Republican political scene. He's also the son of a slave, and has been "passing" for White for all these years because of the many opportunities it offers him that he wouldn't have access to otherwise. Rhine never questioned that decision until he meets Eddy and finds her much more appealing than his fiancee, a white society woman who is absolutely determined to wrap him around her finger.
I was actually picturing the hero and heroine in my head as Tiana and Naveen from The Princess and the Frog. Eddy is an excellent cook (oh my God, the food descriptions in this book) and wants to one day have her own business or at the very least be totally self-reliant. Rhine, on the other hand, is a smooth-talking ladies' man who knows he is good looking and entirely too used to getting his way because of it. I wasn't completely sold on the romance between them at first because when Rhine meets Eddy, he's already engaged to another woman and makes advances towards her anyway. She turns him down and in the end, he decides to break things off with Natalie, his fiance, not just to be with Eddy (although mostly) but also because he realizes that she isn't a nice person.
Funny, how it often takes another woman to make dudes realize that in fiction...
I've only read two books by Jenkins, the other was DESTINY'S EMBRACE, but I'm already noticing some common themes. Jenkins seems to favor the "virgin and the rake" trope: both heroes in these books were man-whores, and both heroines were virgins. The heroine is both these books is so beautiful that she literally (especially in the case of DESTINY'S) has to fight off a line of suitors. Jenkins is also a fan of history, so a significant portion of the book usually focuses on some aspect of that - well outside the degree necessary for simply setting the scene. DESTINY'S EMBRACE talks a lot about the history of California, especially in Yolo County. FORBIDDEN discusses Republican and Democratic politics in the U.S. before they switched platforms, as well as racism.
I'll admit that the ending made me raise my eyebrows a bit because it felt so dramatic. But given what I knew about Natalie's pride and her desire for others to see her as superior, I guess it felt like what happened could have happened. Maybe. I also felt like Rhine's "big reveal" was rather anticlimactic. A lot of people owed him money and probably resented his power. Given what I know about bigotry and cognitive dissonance, I'm sure that far more people would have been quick to attempt petty revenge once he told everyone the truth about his heritage. That said, it sure was satisfying to see Rhine anticipate their every move and put them all in their place. Take that, bigots!
FORBIDDEN was a quick, fun read. It had some problems, sure, but I loved the characters and it has some pretty steamy scenes between the hero and the heroine that were much better written than the ones in DESTINY'S EMBRACE. Plus, I haven't been feeling well lately so it was nice to read something light. The research Jenkins did for this book was obvious, as was the care she put into developing the secondary characters and making them all feel three-dimensional. Reading this reminded me that I still have THROUGH THE STORM to read, which is about Rhine's younger sister, Sable. Maybe I'll pick that one up next. There may be a Rhine cameo in it for me. ;)
It's been a while since I committed myself to finishing one of those accursed YA trilogies, but with The Winner's series, I just couldn't help myself. Book one, THE WINNER'S CURSE, was an excellent book mired in intense political intrigue and a forbidden love story rooted in hatred and class differences. Book two, THE WINNER'S CRIME, was even darker, exploring the terrible costs of war in surprisingly brutal terms for YA. There was more emotional angst than I normally like in my books, but it was (mostly) warranted and didn't bother me as much as it would have in another book. THE WINNER'S KISS, the final book in the series, brings the story arc to a close with complex strategy, high-risk battle tactics, all overshadowed by doomed love.
You can read my reviews of the first two books here and here, since I won't be discussing them too much. THE WINNER'S KISS is a relatively long book and there's a lot to go over.
Book two ends with Kestrel betraying her people, and in the beginning of this book she's already in the midst of reaping the consequences for her treason. It's pretty brutal, and by the end of the book she still hasn't quite recovered from the effects of her punishment. Arin, meanwhile, is still wallowing in his feels and exploring his tentative new alliance with the Dacran people and their scarred prince. He has no idea what has happened to Kestrel; as far as he knows, she's betrayed him, too.
I said in a status update that book one was intense, book two was tragic, and book three just punches you unrelentingly in your feels while laughing at you and calling you a crybaby. As unbearable as the angst and the whining was in book two, it's a lot easier to stomach than the sheer psychological and physical tortures that Rutkoski subjects her characters to in this book. There were passages that would have had me gripping the covers with white knuckles had I been reading a hard copy, and I skimmed over those passages a little more quickly than I should have just to ensure that everything was going to be all right. I was never 100% sure - until the very end of the book, I couldn't be certain that Rutkoski wasn't going to pull a George R. R. Martin.
The political intrigue alone makes this book worth reading. I hypothesized in my review of book two that the author's living room is probably piled high with nonfiction, and judging from her afterword, where she gives thanks to some of the authors whose works she used for research/inspiration, this is probably true. That weighty research really shows in how battles are fought, prisoners are treated, alliances are formed broken, and coups are staged in all of the books, but THE WINNER'S KISS especially. I also want to say that I am so glad that Risha was not killed, because I grew to love her character over the last two books, and some authors have the unhappy habit of killing off people of color in fantasy novels (and fiction in general) to further the development of the main characters.
This was a really great series. It only just ended last year, so I feel lucky that I was able to read all the books right away without having to wait for the new book. There's so much going on in these novels that I'm sure it's very easy to forget the minor details that make the world-building in these books. Richelle Mead's Age of X series was like that for me. I loved the world-building, but since I was receiving them as advanced reader copies, I'd have to wait quite a while between books. They were so detail-heavy that I eventually gave up, because the wait was impacting my ability to appreciate the series. If you're going to start these books, I suggest that you get all three at once, so when you get hooked you can just binge all three without any wait time in between.
I can't wait to see what this author comes up next. Hopefully more fantasy - or maybe space opera. Regardless, she's earned a spot on my "I need it NOW!" list of auto-buy authors.
Reading GLASS HOUSES is a lot like watching a horror movie. The main character is an idiot, and all plot development in the story line requires that you suspend your disbelief about said idiocy. What makes it hard, though, is that Claire Danvers is branded as a "genius." She's sixteen - "sixteen and a half," she'll be quick to tell you - and yet, got accepted to Harvard, MIT, Yale, and all these other great schools, but her parents don't want her to be far from the house (dafuq), so they send her to a school that's a cross between a party school and a community college (I repeat, dafuq), in the middle of Morganville, Texas. "You can transfer, later," is the argument.
Claire immediately cheeses off one the "popular" girls, named Monica, who is basically a cross between Joffrey from Game of Thrones and Regina from Mean Girls. She's one of those "mean girls" who hangs out with a clique of her own (Claire calls them the Monickettes, which is just one example of her brilliance). She's also a studied psychopath who thinks it's perfectly okay to beat people up, attack them with beakers of acid, and then later set them on fire. You're probably wondering where the adults are in this book, because that's what I was wondering, but Claire (stupidly) lies to her parents and her friends about her safety, over and over, and a code of non-interference is built into the rules of Morganville, which is run by vampires, so no adults are ever going to look out for her safety.
Claire ends up staying with these "cool" "alternative" kids in a place called The Glass House, which is amusing for two reasons: 1) The Glass House (2001) is the name of a so-bad-it's-good horror thriller and 2) it is incredibly dated with what passes for cool. Not only is the "it's so lame to be smart" thing outdated, but Claire's new reject friends are a Goth, a musician, and a punk-ish tough guy. It's so early 2000s that it almost physically hurts, you guys. Her new friends tell her about how the town is run (by vampires) and this is arguably the most interesting aspect of the story, because I thought Caine did vampire politics in a relatively interesting way. The vampires own the city, and the cops. Important humans have Protection in the form of bracelets (basically: do not bite) and can carry over to family members, but like health insurance, expire when the wearer turns 18 (yet another reason this story is dated - thanks, Obamacare!). The best way to avoid being bitten is to stay off their radar, play by the rules, be home before curfew, and oh, yeah, don't invite them in.
That's actually another thing I liked about GLASS HOUSES: Caine uses traditional vampire lore. Garlic and crosses repel vampires. They can't be out in the sunlight unless they're very old or very powerful. They can't cross your threshold unless they've been invited in. They kill to feed. Make no mistake, these are the evil kinds of vampires that your mom grew up with, and honestly, my personal favorite kind. The world building was something I had absolutely zero problems with, and I kept thinking to myself what a shame it was that the main character was so freaking stupid.
I just couldn't get on board with Claire. Her friends were okay, but their dialogue was very wooden and they didn't have much in the way of personality, either. Even though it's written in the third person, there's a lot of annoying asides that are supposed to be Claire's "voice" and it's very annoying - more so, because never once does she display that "intelligence" that got her accepted into all those good universities. What's wrong with writing a female character who's intelligent and cunning? Why does she have to be a vapid, spineless victim who does nothing but remind people that she's almost seventeen, cry, get herself almost murdered by at least three different people, and cry some more? And she's so dumb. This is a character who could be around the corner from the guy with a chainsaw, and be all, "How delightful. A swarm full of friendly, happy bees have come to bring me honey! :D"
I'm a little afraid to pick up the next book, but I bought books 1 & 2 bundled so now I feel obligated. Rachel Caine, I thought you could do no wrong. Your Weather Wardens series is awesome. :(
ROSEBLOOD is about three of my favorite things: The Phantom of the Opera, the Comte de Saint-Germain, and vampires. All three together? Oh, heck yes. Set in a gloomy boarding school/converted opera house in the middle of France, I was certain that this neo-Gothic, ROSEBLOOD, would be able to do one of my favorite classics justice in a new and interesting way.
I was wrong.
It kills me to say this, because the writing in ROSEBLOOD is so beautiful that it actually almost convinced me that ROSEBLOOD was a better book than it actually was. A.G. Howard can write. However, her characters and story-telling choices are odd. Like, campy 80s horror movie odd. There were so many moments in here that had me blinking, and going, "Did that really happen?" Towards the end of the story, it happened more and more.
**WARNING: THAR BE MAJOR SPOILERS**
First, let me get something out of the way that really bothered me. I hate this new YA trend of taking the "ugly" characters in classic stories and making them beautiful. Sarah J. Maas did this in A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, taking the "beast" and making him a gorgeous fairy prince cursed to wear a mask. A.G. Howard does this in ROSEBLOOD, with the "phantom" love interest being not the tortured, disfigured genius, but the tortured, disfigured genius's adopted (but gorgeous) son, Thorn. Coincidentally enough, Thorn also wears a mask, just like Tam Lin, only for fun. When you do this, it takes all the original meaning out of the story. Part of what made Beauty and the Beast such a powerful story was that the beast was a horrible man when he was attractive and human; it took being ugly and monstrous to make him realize how lonely and awful it is to be despised when your exterior matches your interior, and it took a love that was based on more than looks (well, you can argue about that, since, you know, "Beauty" and the Beast) to redeem him. Likewise, part of what makes Phantom of the Opera such a tragic story is that Erik's genius and artistry goes unappreciated because of his lack of looks; what draws him to Christine isn't just her ethereal beauty and innate talent, but also because he sees her as his soulmate; the beautiful foil to his hideous appearance.
STOP MAKING THESE CHARACTERS GORGEOUS AND SHALLOWING EVERYTHING UP.
Anyway, to the plot of the story. Our heroine is named "Rune." She has a tragic history. She doesn't want to go to this special school because she has a special ability: she is compelled to sing at certain moments, and always does it beautifully. Naturally, she is "compelled" to do this while the resident Queen Bee is auditioning, before pretending to pass out. Her mother sticks around for a while but is about to go on honeymoon with Rune's new stepfather, so like Bella Swan's mom, or Mindy from Animaniacs, she goes, "Okay, I love you, bye-bye," and swans off, leaving Rune to her own devices. Luckily, Rune makes a whole bunch of friends, immediately, who are so fascinated by her lack of personality and her special secrets that they see absolutely zero problems about sneaking into her room and snooping into her belongings. This happens several times.
Rune meets a boy named Thorn who appears around the Opera House. He always wears a half-mask, but is super attracted to the half of the face that she can see. He tells her that they're "twin souls." No, literally, they are two halves of the same soul: incarnations of the Christine from the Phantom of the Opera myth. Only, Thorn can't sing because when he was young, he was kidnapped by sex traffickers, and his voice scared them so much that they poured lye down his throat. So instead of singing, Thorn plays the violin, and when he plays, Rune no longer feels sick after she sings.
This is because Rune, Thorn, and the Phantom (Erik), are all PSYCHIC VAMPIRES who use their magical abilities to draw out people's life force.
Erik even owns a themed club in Paris. A rave club, where he picks off victims when he's so inclined. This is one of many moments, when I was just shocked and could only mumble, "Phantom...of the Rave? Phantom...rave...huh? Rave...phantom...rave..."
PHANTOM OF THE RAVE.
I'm sorry, I can't let that go. Erik doesn't belong anywhere near a rave. I refuse to believe that his artistic integrity would allow him to tolerate dub-step.
If you're wondering where Rune fits into all this, it ties back to the Phantom. Apparently, he and Christine got together at one point and had a baby (YESSSSSS). The baby was stillborn, but Erik has been keeping it alive in a Frankenstein-style incubator for all these years, waiting for Christine's reincarnation so he could kidnap that person, cut out their vocal chords, and implant them in the baby...because this will bring the baby to life again for some reason. All his attempts to get to Rune have been to activate her power, have Thorn seduce her, and then basically cut out her throat.
I've seen and read several Phantom of the Opera adaptions, and this was one of the worst because it was so weird. It reminded me, actually, of that bad Italian remake, Il fantasma dell'opera(1998), which features Julian Sands looking less like the Phantom of the Opera and more like a reject from Interview of the Vampire since a) he's not disfigured (and is actually pretty hot), and b) the movie is less about him pursuing Christina for his sensually artistic purposes and more about sex (if I recall correctly, it actually features an orgy scene) and countless violent murder sprees. Not that ROSEBLOOD was gratuitously violent or needlessly sexual - it wasn't; it's similar because, like Il fantasma dell'opera, it was so over the top that in its attempt to differentiate itself from the work it was paying homage to, it pretty much lost sight of the original's purpose and become something totally and completely different. For better or for worse.
P.S. I'm disappointed to say that the Saint-Germaine connection basically goes nowhere, which is a shame, because he was a fascinating guy. For another story about Saint-Germaine and vampires that's actually pretty good, I suggest you check out Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Saint-Germaine series.