[A quick note: I am pretty pleased with how this photo turned out. I wanted a beautiful photo to match the beauty of this book. I used some of my piano sheet music as the background. I love how the bottle of glitter also looks sort of like one of the vials of memory elixir mentioned in the book and on the cover. I was THRILLED when Inkyard Press Sent me a copy of this book to review. I literally squealed. No lie. It was a privilege reading and reviewing this for you guys. And i plan to post and gush more about it over the coming months on my Instagram.]
**please note that quotes are subject to change based on the final version. These came from the arc. I will check them against the final version once this book is out**
“𝐈𝐭 𝐬𝐞𝐞𝐦𝐬 𝐧𝐨 𝐦𝐚𝐭𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐰𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐚 𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐨𝐧’𝐬 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤𝐬 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞, 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐦𝐬 𝐞𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐬 𝐮𝐬 𝐢𝐧 𝐢𝐭𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐮𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐱𝐩𝐥𝐨𝐫𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐨𝐟 𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐩𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐟𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐠𝐫𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐡𝐨𝐩𝐞𝐬.”—Jessica S Olson
MY QUICK SUMMARY:
Through song, Isda lives a thousand lives, but never a life of her own. Isda exists within the opulent walls of Channe’s opera house, a prisoner of the world’s making, hunted for what she is—for the magic she possesses. She is one of the rare few who can manipulate a person’s memories. They need only sing. She is bound to this fate, forever, until Emeric appears. With a voice unlike any other, she sees a path to freedom in his memories. A way to live a life that might finally be her own.
Beautiful. Staggering. Lyrical. These words only begin to describe the poetic quality found in Jessica Olsen’s portrayal of Isda, the opera ghost haunting Channe’s opera house. Modeled after Paris, Channe immerses the reader in a French setting filled with late nights at the opera, pages full of music, and a fight for freedom that Isda is willing to kill for. This story gave me joy and brought me to tears.
Cursed with a misshapen face, Isda spends her life hiding—hiding the monster-magic she bears. She works her magic night after night for a man who saved her life, altering the memories of opera-goers to enhance their experience. In this way, the opera business remains steady. Yet, through music, Isda has found happiness, eked out an existence, managed to survive in the shadows. All this changes when she discovers that freedom might be possible for someone like her. That’s where Emeric comes in. He shows her that there is more, fills her with hope, and gives her something worth fighting for.
At the heart of Isda’s struggle is the hatred she contends with. People like her are killed at birth. Feared for her magic, she was dumped in a well as a baby, only to be rescued by Cyril to live at the opera. But she cannot show her face. Cannot step out into the open. And remains hidden and masked. It is an awful way to exist. This made for a compelling story.
“𝐈𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤, 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐞𝐚𝐮𝐭𝐲 𝐢𝐬 𝐚𝐬 𝐮𝐧𝐥𝐢𝐦𝐢𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐜 𝐈 𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞. 𝐈𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐝𝐚𝐫𝐤, 𝐈 𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐛𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞, 𝐠𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐰𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞, 𝐝𝐨 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠. 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐜𝐫𝐲𝐩𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐤 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐩𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐥𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐨𝐟𝐟𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐦𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐫𝐞𝐞𝐝𝐨𝐦 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐠𝐞𝐭 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐛𝐲 𝐛𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠.”
This story isn’t all beauty. There are some gritty parts. Death. Darkness. Murder. There is also a deep personal conflict that make Isda monstrous in some ways, but truly human in others.
As a gender-bent phantom of the opera, this story was so unexpected! But in a good way. I really didn’t know what I was in for. I absolutely loved it. I couldn’t stop highlighting and marking passages. When I read the last page, I closed the book and held it against my chest, simply to savor the final words. For a debut author, Jessica Olson has impressed me on every level! Please read this book. 𝗠𝗬𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚 𝟱/𝟱⭐️
A HUGE thank you to Inkyard Press for the advanced reading copy in exchange for my honest opinion on this book. Thank you!