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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  10,940 ratings  ·  818 reviews
"Absorbing... tantalizing... from the first page, the reader is drawn, spellbound, into [this] poignant story".-- "The Times-Picayune" (New Orleans). A child is born... His mother's only gift is a mask. Precocious and gifted, he will live friendless and alone. taunted and abused, he will flee, only to find himself caged again-as a freak in a Gypsy carnival. A brilliant out ...more
Paperback, 544 pages
Published December 1st 1992 by Island (first published 1990)
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Kari Lehrer
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Dominique It is an author's interpretation of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera's, life story starting from his birth. If you are familiar with the Phantom of the…moreIt is an author's interpretation of Erik, the Phantom of the Opera's, life story starting from his birth. If you are familiar with the Phantom of the Opera book written by Gaston Leroux then you should be able to understand/enjoy the book. (less)

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4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,940 ratings  ·  818 reviews

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Feb 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Susan Kay's Phantom is the unbelievably tragic and dramatic story of novel character Erik from the Phantom of the Opera by (Gaston Leroux). Susan Kay has written a terrific novel. Content and Lyrics are very impressive. "The Phantom" is written exciting and entertaining and full of beautiful and wise sentences as well as rousing passages. The book is impressive from the first page.

Conclusion: It is an exciting, fascinating but also sad novel, which I can recommend anyone who is interested in the
Sep 30, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Phans and only phans
Shelves: romance, duds
If Kay had stopped where The Phantom of the Opera book and musical started, she would have had a decent book on her hands. Despite turning Erik, the Phantom, into a terrible Gary Stu, she did give him an interesting and detailed history. In fact, if you stop reading the book before Christine comes in, I'd imagine it's pretty enjoyable. However, I kept reading, and there's my problem.

(Possible SPOILERS)

Once Christine and Raoul entered the story, I moved from wariness, to shock, to disbelief, to t
Aug 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow, I cannot say enough about this book. If you were captivated by any version of The Phantom of the Opera and loved the characters - especially Erik - you need to read this book. It was the first book to ever make me cry. Kay was so imaginative when she wrote the character of Erik and I thought she wrote him beautifully. I loved finally getting to explore his mind and the reasons why he was the way he was, and enjoyed reading of his supposed travels and finding out how he gained all of his kno ...more
This book pretty much killed my future enjoyment of published "fanfiction" (like all the Jane Austen stuff and whatnot). Not because it was bad, but because it was so good. Kay didn't give the feel that she was a silly fan playing around in her idol's sandbox, like what is the case with so many who write books based on another's creation. This book was an agonizing read, and the Erik here is a brilliantly rendered character. His journey from the depths to heights of humanity yanked me through th ...more
Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults
Recommended to Anne by: Phantom Phans

Well, I finally read Susan Kay's "Phantom." Before I wrote my own book, I had read nothing but the original Leroux book as I did not want to be influenced by any other writer.
I must admit that this book is heartwrenching, sad, but beautifully crafted. I was continually amazed at the ability of the author to see into each character in the book and put it to paper.
Erik, of course, broke my heart. I was sick after the first chapter when I saw how his mother treated him. It was a miracle that he wa
Feb 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My mind has touched the farthest horizons of mortal imagination and reaches ever outward to embrace infinity. There is no knowledge beyond my comprehension, no art or skill upon this entire planet that lies beyond the mastery of my hand. And yet, like Faust, I look in vain. I learn in vain...For as long as I live, no woman will ever look on me in love....

My kingdom lies in eternal darkness, many feet below the level of the Parisian streets outside, shrouded in the chill silence of the grave. Dar
Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*

Phantom by Susan Kay has been a favorite of mine for a really long time. I first got hooked on Phantom of the Opera stuff in high school. I watched the movie with Gerard Butler, I read the original novel by Gaston Leroux and I found this book. Then, in college among moving stuff from dorm to home and back again, I lost my copy of it! It's probably still floating around somewhere but I bought a new copy and I'm so thrilled that I was able to read it again.

Phantom really delves into the mind of th
Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
Buddy-read with the amazing Hufflepuff Kitten commencing (finally! Thank you for your patience, my dear ♥ ) June 22nd!

Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Re-read For Valentines Day :)
And won't change my rating...still 5 stars!

In the Original novel by Gaston Leroux, few details are given regarding Erik's past, although there is no shortage of hints & implications throughout the book.
Susan Kays novel Phantom, fills in those missing parts starting with Erik's birth & the fact his mother was horrified by his appearance.
The story unfolds with how she copes or I should say dosen't cope with this "monster child."
Right away you feel such powerf
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody who likes to read
Shelves: favourites
First I have to say, I never really was interested in the Phantom of the Opera. I'm still not inclined to see this musical anytime soon.
But the book is different. The author uses beautiful language that describes the emotions of the characters so well that you really emphasize with them. Especially the main character Erik, who was born with a mutilated face and has to wear a mask constantly to hide it.
The book is divided in several parts with different point of views. The first part is written f
Aug 05, 2011 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A.G. Howard
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have no words for how amazing this book is. BEST adaptation of the Phantom of the Opera I've ever read. Just ... wow.
Rating: 4.5 stars

I recently read The Phantom of the Opera, and while I liked it, I didn't love it. The character of Erik fascinated me, but I resented it when Christine and Raoul interrupted his story; they seemed almost superfluous, they bored me, they got in the way. So when Susan Kay's Phantom was recommended, I jumped at the chance to discover more about the enigmatic Erik.

Phantom begins with his birth; horribly disfigured, he's instantly rejected by his mother, a rejection which will impac
Mar 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh boy. I could talk about this book for longer than it takes to read it, but I think I can sum up my feelings on it in one sentence.

It is my absolute favorite novel that I have ever read.

I have read quite a few novels. It's hard to decisively say which is my favorite. That is, it would be hard, had I not read this book.

I've been in a sort of love affair with the story of the Phantom of the Opera for a year or so now. It started with a webcomic. That's another story. Right now we're talking abou
I first read this book when I was 14, so it's hard to know how I would have felt about it if I'd read it now, because it is so deeply ingrained in how I approach the Phantom mythology and the character of Erik.

That said, I loved this book so much at 14 I remember reading the book during my freshman year classes, and then reading the whole thing over and over and over. Even now, I can pick up this book, flip to any random page, and just love wherever I'm at. There are only 2 other books I can do
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite books. If you like the story of the Phantom of the Opera, you'll be both astounded and heartbroken by Susan Kay's portrayal of Eric's life - from his birth, to after his death.
Often, with tales from the "bad guy's" perspective, you start to feel sorry for the antagonist. The traditional Phantom of the Opera does this already; you feel sorry for the "bad guy," but you ultimately end up siding with Christine.
Phantom does something a little different. You fall in love wi
I've met my match. I have never ever ever come across a book, barring this one, that I just couldn't handle reading for extended periods of time. Not because it was bad, but because it was just so darn sad!

I'm a huge fan of Leroux's original novel and I'm always nervous about reading anything to do with Phantom of the Opera (I'm still recovering from The Phantom of Manhattan), but there really wasn't anything to worry about with this one. Susan Kay did a remarkable job of fleshing out Erik's pre
May 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about this book when I happened to see an interview with Hugh Panaro, the then-star of "Phantom of the Opera" on Broadway. He suggested the text as required reading for anyone looking to play the character of the Phantom or anyone looking to understand his character on a deeper level. Since "Phantom of the Opera" is (hands-down) my favorite Broadway show, and since I promised my father that I would find a way to produce the show with the Drama Club I direct, I thought I'd give it a ...more
Kamryn Koble
Jun 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel seems to flawlessly set up every mysterious bit of The Phantom of the Opera, only to then proceed to fix every "mistake" of the story. At first I was baffled by how diligently Kay wove the tapestry of Erik's only life to scream "screw you!" at Leroux directly after.

I'll be the first to admit it - I have never finished the original novel; however, I do consider myself a connoisseur of the stage show, and know enough of the work it's based upon to realize just how many liberties Kay dec
Jun 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely a must-read for any Phantom fan!

There are truly no words to explain the beauty and the humanity that Erik a.k.a. The Phantom possesses in this book. It made me cry, it made me laugh, it made me gasp in horror and tremble with anticipation. Susan Kay does a fantastic job capturing the war-ravaged heart of Erik, giving him a horrible, loveless background but a deep-set humanity that surpasses all expectations. It is needless to say that I fell in love with this man for the beau
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical, adult
I first read this one as a teenager, when I went through my Phantom of the Opera obsession phase. (I mean, didn't we all?) I still pull this book out every few years and reread it -- and it always holds up. The writing borders on purple sometimes, but rarely (if ever) actually crosses the line. And the story... I mean, where to begin? Five stars. Let's leave it at that.
E.A. Bucchianeri
Gaston Leroux's tale of a disfigured genius living in the cellars of the Paris Opéra and falling in love with a beautiful singer has become a classic, thanks due to the many film adaptations and especially to Andrew Lloyd Webber's award-winning musical sensation.

After the début of Webber's version, the Phantom theme has grown into a cultural phenomenon with a league of “Phans” enthralled with the love story cum mystery thriller similar to the Romantic generation of the 19th century that was capt
May 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this novel a long time ago. I remember I was a teenager when I read this book. I've read it like 5 times and it still makes me burst in emotions.
I remember the book's edge slightly peeping between others in my parents book shelf, all red and full of dust. I just wanted to read something and I was instantly drawn to pick it up. And when I did, I blew the dust away and there I saw the beautiful cover. A golden mask, the name "Phantom of the Opera" by Susan Kay in all its red background glo
I love Phantom of the Opera more than... a lot of things. In fact, I'd say that it is my all-time favorite "love" story/musical/production/movie (2004) ever. I have no shame in the fact that I'm literally obsessed with POTO. But, of course, there are a few problems. I think this book a phenomenal retelling of the origianl work, and I appreciated how she attempted to stay (somewhat) close to Gaston Leroux's, and I enjoyed learning about Erik's past, whether or not it was true. I had some problems ...more
Michele Harrod
Dec 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I have just found my copy of this book. I brought it years ago, in England and have loaned this book to so many people now the pages are barely still in tact along the spine, and the cover is threadbare. But I will keep it forever - as this is one of the finest, most heart rending explorations of a 'character' - that I had already become completely intrigued with after seeing the opera in London. The book gave said character more life than anything I have ever experienced on stage. Erik, for ...more
What can I say about this book, really? This was a re-read. A re-read, in fact, of many many times. I've lost count of how many times I've read this book since it first came out in the early 1990s. The book tells the story of Erik's (the Phantom of the Opera) life from birth to death. Kay does an amazing job with taking those little hints Leroux gives about Erik's life and expanding them out into believable sections that ultimately shaped the man to become who is seen in the Leroux novel (which ...more
Una Tiers
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A long look into the mind of the Phantom of the Opera. I love the music and the opera and now understand the underground architecture. Poor Erik is raised without affection although he has talents and skills that are insurmountable.
A sad ending to a hard life.
Goth Gone Grey
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, phanfic
Dark, sensual, nearly perfect

I read this shortly after it was published and remembered it as a captivating tale, a worthwhile tribute written in devotion of Erik, with his supernatural strengths and all too human weaknesses.   I was pleasantly surprised that it held up to my memories. 

Unlike other Phan Fic that starts midway though the tale, this story starts early, shortly before Erik's birth, spanning his life.  It's told from a collection of viewpoints, including his, to explain his physical,
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Honestly one of the best adaptions of the phantom of the Opera. The chapters about his childhood are heartbreaking. Very descriptive, very emotional.
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Susan Kay (b. 1953) is a writer.

She is most known for her book, Phantom, which expands upon the history of Erik, the character from Gaston Leroux's The Phantom of the Opera, in an episodic format of seven chapters from different characters' points of view.

Susan Kay did not travel to Iran to research the novel, although she did research in person at the Paris Opera House.

Her first novel was Legacy,
“None of us can choose where we shall love...” 338 likes
“My mind has touched the farthest horizons of mortal imagination and reaches ever outward to embrace infinity. There is no knowledge beyond my comprehension, no art or skill upon this entire planet that lies beyond the mastery of my hand. And yet, like Faust, I look in vain, I learn in vain. . . . For as long as I live, no woman will ever look on me in love.” 47 likes
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