Chrysann's Reviews > The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
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's review
May 30, 2012

did not like it

There are so many things I could say about this book, and most of them aren't good. There was literally ONE thing I actually enjoyed.

Leroux presents the "strange affair" of the Phantom to us as if it were fact. Normally that wouldn't bother me too much, but it is continually insisted upon until you want to shout that there is no way it is at all possible and to kindly take your insanity elsewhere in case it's catching.

The plot is convoluted at best and constantly bounces between the main action and irrelevant side stories that only drag things out. No one needs a chapter on how precisely Erik collects his "salary" each month. I honestly spent half the book wondering when anything was actually going to *happen*.

I actually picked this up out of a desire to know more about Erik himself. At the time, the only things I knew about him came from the movie and anyone can tell you the movie gives you very little detail about his past or anything else. Instead of getting a nice in-depth look at his past and the way he ticks, he's only ever viewed through the eyes of others that can't possibly understand him enough to round the Phantom into more than a formulaic villain. Christine is, if possible, even more foolish and useless. There is way too much time spent on characters largely unneeded.

Now, my one pro: Raoul is hands down my least favorite character in the Phantom universe, but in this version he actually manages to say something that makes me think he isn't as terrible as he used to be. During the scene on the roof as Christine tells him everything (why does she do that exactly?), Raoul asks if she loves Erik in that way that was so powerful you were afraid to admit it even to yourself. Given what we know of the couple from other books, the movie, the musical, etc, we know that the answer is an overwhelming yes, but in Leroux's world this is the only indication she is anything other than purely terrified of Erik.

I know other people like this book and I'm not trying to offend them, but it just didn't work for me. Things progressed at a snail's pace, the characters were flat, and nothing was really explained. Whether you like it or hate it is your call, but I will NEVER be reading this one again.
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08/13/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Jess I'm puzzled by the comments, "in this version" or "the way he used to be" ... This is the original novel. Raoul was written
this way as well as the rest of the characters. It just seems odd to compare their later incarnations against the original. I know not everyone is over the moon about this book, but without it there are no other "versions"

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