Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson is a Phantom of the Opera retelling. Isda has always lived in the shadows, but in Sing Me Forgotten, she finally has a reason to come out in the light.
Isda is a Gravoir. Gravoirs are people who can experience other memories by hearing them sing and, in some cases, manipulate those memories. She is not to be mistaken for a Fendoirs, who can only pull memories from consenting people to make elixir out of them. The elixir is a powerful substance that is a large part of this world’s trade system. You can tell who gravoirs are because they have a terrible marking on their face. All gravoirs are to be killed upon birth, but Isda was saved by opera owner Cyril.
“Is that my fate? To always watch and envy and imagine?”
“When is it my turn?” I ask. “When do I get to step out of the shadows and live?”
Isda’s job is to adjust the audience’s memories of the opera. She lived under the opera and operated in the shadows. That is until she meets Emmeric, the first person whose memories are in color. She risks everything to become Emmeric’s vocal tutor and get him on the stage. Slowly, she falls in love, and the world she thought she knew falls apart.
“He has ignited me.”
Olson does a fantastic job of retelling Phantom of the Opera in a new world. She pays homage to the old story with some of the more negative personality traits of our Phantom. The general plot is similar to the original story, but the details have changed to create a new world. I think this can be difficult because sometimes people take it too far one way or the other. The Phantom of the Opera is my favorite musical, and this book does it justice.
“I am a shadow. A shimmer of black satin. A wraith in the dark.”
I found the romance in this book aligned with the original story, but that doesn’t mean I liked it. I adored Emmeric and his kindness to Isda. However, the entire situation seemed like a case of “the first man I’ve seen” for Isda. She has been imprisoned her whole life virtually, and the first man to notice her is also the one she falls for. The story was romantic and sweet, but these coincidental romances always rub me the wrong way.
“This boy, with his caramels and his dimples and his lullabies, is too good for the things the lurk below my skin.”
The hot and cold relationship between Isda and Cyril, her foster father, was really an interesting touch on the entire story. Part of you wondered if he did actually love her, and part of you wondered what his intentions were. He honestly had her brainwashed to love him, and that was a dynamic I didn’t expect to see in this retelling. The additional backstory that we received about everyone from their personal memories was also really unique, including that without taking focus away from the ongoing story. All in all, I found this to be one of the best retellings I’ve ever read. I loved every second of reading this book, and not a single moment was dull.
“And a world without you in it? That’s not a world I want to even imagine.”
“I never knew music could be like that.”
“Like it’s taking over my soul. Like it’s changing me from the inside out. Like it’s filling the world with color and light.”
Thank you to Edelweiss for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.