Today, I am reviewing one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2021 – Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson! This is a genderbent Phantom of the Opera retelling with magic and I was so excited to be a part of this tour! Thank you again to Turn the Page Tours for allowing me to participate in the Sing Me Forgotten blog tour! I absolutely loved this book and can’t wait to share my favorite quotes and 5 reasons to read this book. Be sure to check out the tour schedule for more amazing content!
I received an e-ARC of this book from Inkyard Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is an honest, spoiler-free review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson
Published: March 9, 2021
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Genre: YA Fantasy
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 am a huge Phantom of the Opera fan, so going into this book, I was already excited. We meet Isda as she sits up in her hiding place in the opera house, watching a performance down below. As she calls her magic up to wipe away and change the bad memories and cracked notes to ones of a glowing performance, I was head over heels for this book.
They may have forced me into the dark, but I am not as powerless as they would have me be.
Isda is a gravoir, a magical being able to change memories, so long as the person is singing. Her connection to music through her magic makes her a suitable Opera Ghost as she stays hidden to enchant the audience and leave them with wonderful memories. Her adoptive father and caretaker, Cyril, is happy to have his little secret stay hidden so long as it brings in more money for the opera. And Isda is happy to live in her crypt, with her organ and her masks, for the chance to maybe one day get to sing on stage.
Until she meets Emeric.
“We’re all monsters. Every single person in this Memory-damned world.” He places his hands on either side of my face. “What someone looks like isn’t what determines their humanity.”
I loved the magic system in this book. There are gravoires, like Isda, who are killed on sight due the powerful nature of their magic and as a consequence of a group of three gravoires who sent the world into chaos for two years, before being taken down. Then you have fendoires, beings who can pull memories and a persons soul from their body as an elixir. This elixir is almost like a currency, as the more you have, the better your life is, while the less you have the worse it is. This elixir is connected to memories and a person’s life force, which is why this magic is heavily controlled, only allowing fendoires to live and work in regulated conditions.
“You are no more monster than I. You are a song.”
While I love the magic system, I really wanted to see more of it. Because gravoires are killed at birth, I understand not getting to see their magic in action (besides Isda), but I really wanted to see more about fendoires! It would have been so cool to see the comparison between their magic and understand why Isda is different from them. I really wanted to scene where Isda watches the fendoires work, though it was mentioned they work in secret, regulated environments that prevent them from taking control or taking too much.
They forgot I was raised in the darkness, that I’ve been imprisoned my whole life. They can threaten me with blade or poison or death, but they cannot make me afraid. Not anymore.
Isda and Emeric’s relationship was also one I wanted to see more of. I loved the gender-bent retelling aspect, as Isda is the Phantom tutor with the naturally talented Emeric at her side, but I wanted more moments outside of their tutoring. This book had me wanting so much more from everything – I couldn’t get enough of the magic, the relationship, this whole world in general. This was a book I wholly devoured in a few hours, unable to step away from the world without my thoughts drifting back to it.
If they want me to be a nightmare, then a nightmare I shall be.
Overall, it’s easy to say that I’m in love with this story, and am currently back on my Phantom obsession! If you’re looking for a magical, gender-bent, phantom inspired story – look no further. This book will leave you wanting more and more as you watch helplessly from the sidelines.
Five Reasons to Read Sing Me Forgotten
- Genderbent Phantom of the Opera inspired story
- Gorgeous music and imagery
- Unique but deadly magic system
- Tattoo worthy quotes
- An unforgettable story you don’t want to miss out on
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.