Friday, June 4, 2010

Classic Review - The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (4.5/5 stars)

I love the musical but had never read this book before.  So I downloaded it to my Kindle for free.  The formatting was okay on the Kindle version but all of the color plates were missing with an insert stating (color plate here).  Overall the story itself was wonderful and really added to my understanding of the musical.

I think just about everyone should be familiar with this story.  It is the story of an Opera Ghost who is mentoring Christine Daae to become a great opera singer.  Of course when the Opera Ghost's wishes are not met by the new managers who run the opera house a series of disasters befall the opera company.  Christine becomes increasingly entangled with the Opera Ghost and her childhood sweetheart, Raoul, tries his best to save her.

The book starts out a bit slow.  It is told from the point of view of an investigator who is trying to piece together the whole story behind the Phantom of the Opera.  Things really pick up as the Opera Ghost starts to torment people and Christine and Raoul start their false engagement.
My favorite part was the last third of the book when Raoul and the Persian are trying to navigate the area beneath the theater.

This book fills out some major parts of the story that you don't get in the musical.  There is a lot more background on Raoul and Christine's childhood.  More time is spent explaining the past of the Opera Ghost, Eric, and what made him the way he is.  At the very end the investigator details how all of the ghostly things that happened in the story were done.  Also the scenes under the opera house are much more vicious, involving a incredibly unique torture chamber, threats to flatten a few blocks of Paris, and more.

I was surprised at how engaging the writing style was.  This was not a tough book to read at all, it was incredibly engaging and easy to read.  There is a sly sense of humor in parts of the book and I found myself laughing out loud a couple times.  I really enjoyed it.

My only complaint (and my husband's complaint) is that I kept humming parts of the musical as I read the book!  If you are a fan of The Phantom and the Opera musical definitely check out this book; it makes parts of the musical make a lot more sense.  It is much more interesting and creative and engaging than the musical too!  The first third of the book is kind of slow but if you can make it though that, the rest of the book is definitely worth it!

This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
The Phantom of the Opera: The Original Novel

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