Title: The Architect of Song
Author: A.G. Howard
Pub. Date: August 15, 2016
For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.
To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.
This will be a spoiler free review. I listened to the audiobook via Audible.
So, I’m honestly pretty conflicted about my feelings for this book. A lot happens – and I mean A LOT, and some of it I thoroughly enjoyed and some of it had me rolling my eyes.
I read the Splintered series back when it came out and loved it. It’s beautiful and such a unique take on Alice in Wonderland. Roseblood wasn’t my favorite but Stain was an instant favorite when I read it last year. A. G. Howard’s writing is flawless, stunning and just brings her worlds to life.
Before choosing to listen to this book, I don’t know if I ever actually read the synopsis, which probably plays a role in my feelings towards this book. I swear to god, I honestly thought this was a NA/Adult Phantom of the Opera retelling – and yes, I know Roseblood is a YA Phantom retelling.
So, I went into this book expecting something else. And can you blame me – well, yes because I didn’t read the synopsis, but if you look at the cover – you can’t tell me it doesn’t look like a Phantom retelling!
Overall, I liked this book. The story is beautiful. It’s about accepting who you are, choosing to embrace your differences, and to stand up for yourself. It’s about finding yourself, figuring out who you are and what you want. I really liked Juliet. I thought her journey was one of the best things about this book. She’s not weak or broken, despite what society has led her to believe. In fact, she’s incredibly strong. I can’t think of a single issue I would have with her. I loved her.
I will say that the pet names she and her uncle have for each other felt a little weird. Actually, the whole relationship with her Uncle – not the “he stepped into a father figure role” part, but like, all the things that came with that. It just felt a little like “I’m super jealous of my brother, so I’m going to adopt his life.”
Also, because this is set in like, Victorian England, men know what’s best and her uncle is a tad condescending. Like, he means well, but, if he were my uncle, we’d have problems.
Moving onto Hawk and Thornton.
Jfc, this book had me simping after a ghost. A GHOST. I loved Hawk. He was a tad possessive and jealous, but the tension between him and Juliet. Talk about slow fucking burn. I got to a point where I just wanted to smash them together and force them to kiss, but he’s a ghost. And the way A. G. Howard wrote the spicier scenes between them…I was trash. I am trash. I’m still simping after Hawk.
I’m also utter trash for Thornton. I got to a point, where with Juliet’s conflicted emotions and budding attraction for Thornton, I was just ready for the three of them to live happily ever after. Yeah, Hawk’s a ghost, so what. They would have made it work. I legit couldn’t chose who I thought she had better chemistry with. Not that it mattered, because one is alive and the other is a fucking ghost!
Then at roughly (maybe) the 75-80% mark things had me rolling my eyes. It was plot twist after plot twist. While they weren’t bad, and they were a little bit surprising, I also found them kind of predictable and a little disappointing. I don’t think I can accurately explain my emotions without spoiling or sounding too contradictory, but I just felt a little underwhelmed. They almost seemed to add unnecessary drama to the story? I literally keep flip-flopping my feelings, but know that overall, I did enjoy this and I definitely recommend it.
By the end, I was back to enjoying it. There are some big revelations and some explanations and a little more drama, but I loved the way it ended. Everyone got what the needed, and Juliet grew into an amazing woman.
I’m so excited to dive into the next book in the series. While it doesn’t directly follow Juliet, I have a feeling she’s in it. I love it when series stay in world, but each new book is a new character, but familiar faces pop up. I’ve already added all the books to my cart, and I cannot wait to buy them and have physical copies. The covers are stunning and having very few expectations going into this book, I was pleasantly surprised. And like I said, I definitely recommend this book!