Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review: The Phantom of the Opera

The Paris Opera House is haunted, everyone knows it. Christine Daae is the new hot ticket at the Opera House and the ghost has set his sights on her. However, Christine's childhood sweetheart is back and is offering the phantom some competition. As this early 20th centruy Perisian love triangle plays out we discover who will eventually win Christine's heart.

Title: The Phantom of the Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
Publication Date: 1909
Publisher: Pierre Lafitte and Cie.
Number of Pages: 360
Where I Got It: Barnes and Noble- Huntersville, NC
Dates I Read It: May 20 - May 27, 2013
Number of Stars: 3.5/5
Read It For: Classics Club Spin #2, The Classics Club

I actually finished reading this book over a week ago, but I have had no drive to write this review because though the book was good, it just didn't stick with me. As you can see, it only got 3.5 stars from me, and that was generous. It wasn't that this was a bad book, it was just not very memorable for me. This book was #6 on my Classics Club Spin #2 which means that it fell into the category of "books I feel neutral about". I started out feeling neutral about this book and I ended it feeling the same way. It was just as I had expected it to be. I wasn't blown away by it, nor did I hate it, it just was. Am I glad that I read it- not really. Do I recommend it- only perhaps to someone who is seeking a degree in French Literature. It was nothing special, and it was only somewhat entertaining.
Everyone knows the story of the Opera Ghost that haunts the Paris Opera House and falls in love with a beautiful singer yet he is so hideous that he can not be with her in his true form. However, sometimes the writing took on a tedious tone. This is especially true when Leroux goes into long descriptions of the Opera House and all of it's underground tunnels and chambers. Another distraction to me with regards to the writing was that at times it would feel rushed and very disjointed. I would have loved more in depth background information about Erik (the Phantom) and how he ended up the way that he did, both physically as well as emotionally. It was extremely difficult for me to feel any sympathy for Erik. Had the reader been given more information on his motives and perhaps some scenes from his point of view, I think that I would have cared more for him and I would have felt more development happen with his character. I began this book having never seen the musical or any televised translation of the book, expecting to feel sympathetic towards the misunderstood phantom; instead, I ended up loathing him. The phantom turned out to be a manipulative kidnapper with a torture room- who is this guy, Christian Grey?!
One thing that I do have to praise about this book is the fact that aside from the long descriptive passages, the book overall did flow very well, especially for a translation. The book had some great elements of romance and suspense yet there was still something very much lacking for me.

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