Sing Me Forgotten

Inkyard. Mar. 2021. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781335147943.
Gr 8 Up–This absorbing fantasy is a gender-swapped twist on The Phantom of the Opera. White, red-headed Isda, 17, has lived her whole life hiding in an opera house in Channe, Vaureille. She’s a gravoir, born with gnarled cheeks, with the magical ability to manipulate other people’s memories when they’re singing. Gravoirs are so feared, they’re killed at birth. Cyril Bardin, the white manager of the opera house, saved newborn Isda from drowning. Now Isda, masked and hidden, secretly manipulates the audience’s minds to praise the opera’s performances, ensuring its success. A talented composer, Isda is mesmerized by the singing voice of newly hired janitor Emeric, a handsome white man too untrained to perform in the opera. Isda offers to secretly coach him so she can access his memories. She sees he had a little sister who was a powerful gravoir and was captured. Unlike gravoirs, fendoirs, also facially scarred, are tolerated because they can siphon singing people’s memories. The wealthy buy the elixir of people’s memories to enhance their own ability to remember the past. As Cyril uses Isda’s magic to advance his career, she discovers she’s more powerful than she realizes and craves the freedom she’s been denied. The story’s leisurely beginning ramps up to a fast-paced, action-packed ending, with some fairly intense brutality.
VERDICT Readers will empathize with Isda’s desire to be treated like a human being and not a monster. The bittersweet but satisfying ending remains true to the characters and their story.

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