Book Review: Sing Me Forgotten

Title: Sing Me Forgotten

Author: Jessica S. Olsen

Pub. Date: March 9, 2021

Pages: 336

Pub: Inkyard Press

Genre: YA Fantasy Retellings

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

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.

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’m often extremely excited and a bit wary going into Phantom retellings/adaptations – my past luck has been so-so. Thankfully this book lived up to its hype and I’m so glad I was able to read it early!

I really enjoyed this. I was honestly a little worried going into this that I wouldn’t like it as much as I was anticipating I would. Sometimes I feel like Phantom retellings/adaptations can be hard to pull off, since the music is such a crucial part of the narrative. It’s what drives the emotion in the musical and it can be really hard transcribing that to a book. And while I’ve enjoyed Phantom adaptations in the past, they always end up falling flat.

Not this book.

While I still wish there were a way to include live music in a book, the fact that this book is more character driven – Isda’s needs and wants taking precedent – works in its favor. The music is important, for sure, but the emotions and feelings that the music elicits for Isda is what’s important. The experience of life that she gets every time someone sings is magical – it’s what drives her.

Her desire for human connection – the chance to live and love and not be persecuted for something beyond her choosing – that’s what drives this story. The music is just the tool that allows her those magical moments.

So, yes, it’s important, but it didn’t feel like it was the driving force behind the narrative in the same way it is for the stage production of Phantom.

And, swapping the roles, making Isda adopt the Phantom roll – the Angel of Music – brilliant. I loved that she had the power, the control and the ability. I loved that it made her strong. And then with the juxtaposition of that with her vulnerable desire to be free, to be loved…I ate it up.

Isda and Emeric were so good together. I loved their chemistry – the ups and downs of their relationship. It’s not easy. It’s messy but it works. He brings caramel and joy into her life, makes her feel scene and beautiful and it’s just so wonderful. I loved that he just accepts her for who she is.

I just loved them so much.

Cyril was and wasn’t what I expected. I wanted desperately to be wrong in my suspicions, but alas. His betrayal cut deep and while he sucked, I can appreciate a good character. If anything was going to affect Isda deeply, it would be Cyril.

I truly did enjoy this book. It was basically everything I wanted in a Phantom retelling. I do have one minor complaint – and it really wasn’t enough to pull me out of the story. I just had a hard time understanding the world. I don’t know why I couldn’t just suspend my disbelief and accept the world – but I just wanted more. I wanted more backstory, more history to make the world clearer. I just didn’t fully understand how the Fendoirs came to exist – I get how the Gravoirs came to exist (that’s explained). But it just seemed like the Fendoirs just kind of popped into existence one day. And the whole memory element – while insanely cool and unique – I just didn’t fully understand why the world worked the way it did.

Ultimately, I just wanted more clarification.  

Overall, this book was super good – a binge in one sitting kind of read. Once you start, you don’t want to stop. Isda is charming, bad ass and her journey is lowkey heartbreaking – but still so enjoyable. That sounds kind of terrible, but it’s the truth. As far as Phantom retellings/adaptations go, this is easily my favorite. You should add this to your TBR right now, and pick up your copy today!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Sing Me Forgotten

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