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4.33  ·  Rating details ·  11,396 ratings  ·  874 reviews
This incredible portrait of Erik--the Phantom--recreates his entire life, from his survival as a child in a carnival freak show to his creative genius behind the Paris Opera House--and its labyrinthine world below--to his discovery of love.
Paperback, 468 pages
Published March 15th 2006 by Aeon Publishing Inc. (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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Average rating 4.33  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,396 ratings  ·  874 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
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
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
May 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, dead-tree
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
Nenia ✨️ Socially Awkward Trash Panda ✨️ Campbell
Me, with anything PotO related:

Feb 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Aug 05, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 powerful emoti
Sep 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
This is one of the books I've re-read many times and loved it!
It is a book I re-read when I need a heart-wrenching story that makes you cry!
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
A.G. Howard
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
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  ·  review of another edition
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
rachel ~ trans rights are human rights
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
Jun 01, 2009 added it
Shelves: fiction, historical
2020 Edit: I know 2008 me was not a critical reader so I will cut her some slack but after briefly revisiting this book, I'm gonna say... yikes. That is why I'm removing the 5-star rating but keeping my glowing review because of growth.

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. Sus
Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, historical
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
Susan Kay's Phantom is my favorite book of all time.

There. I said it.

The author, who won the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel for her excellent novel Legacy about Elizabeth I, here takes up the challenge presented by Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Opera. Leroux's titular character flits through his novel like the Opera Ghost he calls himself, glimpsed only in snatches and largely explained by a post-action epilogue in which the author's almost equally mysterious Persian gives a very brief explan
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
Goth Gone Grey
Mar 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: phanfic, 2018
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,
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
A heartwrenching yet beautiful creation of the Phantom of the Opera's biography. Every stage of his life was fascinating and the reader watches him being skillfully and brutally shaped into the man he became.
This was really interesting. The story reminded me of Perfume by Patrick Süßkind, telling the life of a person that is a murderer but also a genius.

Erik is a terrible person without a doubt, he has been made cruel by the people around him and his deformation. I think most of the book is well ballanced in portraying him as a villian as well as a tortured soul. The various stations of his life are interestingly told and build well on each other.

I read reviews which said the book would have been be
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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,

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