Author: Jessica Olson
Narrator: Caitlin Kelly
Audiobook Length: 11 hours 24 minutes
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.
Sing Me Forgotten is a gender-bend tale on a Phantom of the Opera retelling. As I absolutely love the musical and book, I was very excited to give this book a try. The audiobook was amazing as I enjoy Caitlin Kelly, who also narrated the entire Folk of the Air series. Unlike Phantom of the Opera, there is not a love triangle in this story. Instead, our “phantom” is Isda, while the characters of Christine and Raoul get blended together to create the love interest, Emeric. The other main character is Cyril, who is a combination of Madame Giry, Firmin, and Andre. While having a very familiar base, the author did a great job of making it her own.
The story follows Isda, a nice morally grey character. She is not a bad person, but she has some darkness in her while still being a little naïve and wanting to find answers. She is a gravoir, he most powerful magical being, that has the ability to take memories from people as a power source and also has the ability to manipulate memories. By law, all gravoirs must be killed at birth because of fear of their power. After being rescued and raised by Cyril, Isda now lives below the Opera House as she needs to hide out from the world. Cyril has Isda manipulate the memories of the audience of the opera to prevent any negative thoughts. Isda meets Emeric, a new janitor at the opera house. He has an amazing singing voice that fascinates Isda. The story goes through Isda becoming Emeric’s secret singing mentor and the two of them begin to get to know each other. Emeric in turn, aside from Cyril, becomes the only other person that Isda interacts with and he helps her social skills.
The story is set in France, which comes through in some of the language used, but it was difficult to tell fully when this story was set. It does not take away from the reading experience, but this story seemed to rely more on the base material for its world-building. For me, I just wanted more to make me feel immersed in the story. I did enjoy the concept of memories and elixirs to run society and the sales of them. The writing itself was easy enough to follow as the story flowed through Isda and her life in isolation before flowing into her time with Emeric. There are a lot of secrets that come to light and Isda is determined to get to the bottom of everything, even if it means making some reckless decisions.
Overall, this story had an amazing concept and gave beautiful imagery. The ending will be dividing for readers as I know many who loved it and those that felt it was lacking. For me, I fell somewhere in between where the ending is understandable, but it felt rushed as it was a sudden shift from the expected. I would rather have a little more time to either build up to the ending or more foreshadowing throughout the story. Again, as a fan of the original story where the phantom is a sympathetic character that may or may not “deserve” a happy ending, I just did not feel the same connection to Isda. There was always something that was missing from her character to make me connect and root for her. While I felt this story had the right pieces and a lot of potential, it just did not fully come together for me.