Release Date: March 9th 2021
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: YA fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings
Read: March 3rd 2021 – March 4th 2021
CW: fantasy bigotry/othering, self harm (for magical purposes), violence, murder, kidnapping, child abuse, memory manipulation, infantcide, referenced poverty & homelessness
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 ended up loving this book a lot more than I’d expected to! I’ve never seen a performance, either in person or online, of The Phantom of the Opera, so my knowledge of the original story is shaky and I was wary going into this because of that. I didn’t need to be. Olson has done an excellent job of making this understandable and enjoyable to non-Phantom fans. I was able to spot a few nods to the original story, and I’m sure that Phantom fans will be able to appreciate this aspect of the book a lot more than I’m able to, but even without that background knowledge this book was a great time!
I really loved Emeric! He was open, friendly, and had a great sense of humour. His interactions with Isda left me smiling more often than not, and like Isda I found myself wanting to see more of him from practically the first time he showed up. He’s proof that a character can be quick witted without being a ‘snaky asshole’, and his dialogue was often pretty realistic. He was like a ray of sunshine, which contrasted with Isda’s life in the shadows so well!
I’m intrigued by the magic system set up by this world, and all of its implications. In the book’s world, people retain memories only through a substance called ‘memory elixir’. People produce seventeen years worth of their own elixir naturally, but if they want to remember more than the last seventeen years of their life then they need to consume more, and the only way of getting more is if somebody else has had theirs extracted. This has resulted in elixir being used as a second currency, with it being seen as normal that the most destitute inevitably end up selling so much of their own elixir that they forget everything about themselves. Conversely, those with the ability to extract the elixir of others cannot produce their own, and will never forget a single thing that’s happened to them since their birth. The ethics of remembering only at the expense of others, and of the capitalist system that allowed this situation to come about, aren’t explored in this book because that’s not Isda’s primary concern. She’s not trying to overhaul any systems, she’s just trying to get through the night, and that’s totally fair of her. But since finishing this book I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about it and would love to see it explored further!
The second half of this book was intensely satisfying. It brings to mind this quote that’s been floating around the internet for the last couple of years: ‘Are you tired of being nice? Don’t you just want to go ape shit?’. All her life, Isda has heard that people like her are dangerous monsters who must be killed immediately before they can be allowed to wreak havoc and destruction. Put simply, if she hadn’t been treated like a danger to society, then she never would’ve become a danger to society. It was very cool to see a character react in the way that she did. It was iconic, honestly. Ethics and morality had gone out of the window and I was cheering her on the entire time.
Also the stuff Isda had to say about being a better singer was accurate. It was pretty cool to see stuff that my old singing teachers used to tell me in this book!
If you like morally grey protagonists, likable love interests, or unique magic systems, then I highly recommend checking this one out!
I recieved an e-arc through Turn the Page tours in exchange for an honest review and the rest of this tour stop! You can find a link to the full tour schedule here or by clicking the banner at the top of this post. Thank you so much for having me on the tour!
“I am a shadow. A shimmer of black satin. A wraith in the dark.”
“The tree rustles in the autumn breeze. Somewhere far away, a cab’s wheels clatter across cobblestones. A horn blares. Crickets strum a harmony. It is more beautiful than any symphony I’ve ever heard.”
“You could shatter the sky with a voice like that. If only our world would let you.”
“When is it my turn? When do I get to step out of the shadows and live?”
“I make your world brighter? I make music better for you? What about me? What about what makes my world brighter and better?”
“But that’s the problem with believing. It doesn’t guarantee truth.”
“If they want me to be a nightmare, then a nightmare I shall be.”
“Destruction is a music all its own.”
My method of creating playlists inspired by fictional works is based on a mixture of vibes and lyrical content. My music taste is also a little inconsistent. This can lead to some weird playlists. So here are some songs that I associate with this book, and I refuse to apologise for any of it ❤
Untouchable – Taylor Swift
Golden – Harry Styles
Unfortunate Soul – Kailee Morgue
Invisible – The Beautiful Monument
Medusa – Heather Dale
you should see me in a crown – Billie Eilish
One Man Army – Sleeping With Sirens
Kill the Lights – Set It Off
Tsuioku – Kalafina
The Phantom Of The Opera – Original London Cast
About The Author
Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home, but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her three wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. Sing Me Forgotten is her debut novel.
Jessica is represented by Christa Heschke of McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency.
About The Blogger
El is a 21 year old university student from the UK who loves to read and loves talking about what they read. They particularly like to focus on books featuring lgbtq+ main characters.