Classics, I find, are either super boring or AWESOME, and rarely in between. I don’t know why that is, but this one is definitely in the latter category! Of course, I was predisposed to love it, since I love the musical so much–I’ve seen it on stage at least once, memorized the soundtrack and have played the score on piano. But it had been awhile, so it was fun to revisit the story.
The book followed the plot of the musical version quite closely for the most part, with only a few changes that just made sense: two characters who were important in different parts of the story were combined into one, and the details leading up to the final climax were rendered more consistent and dramatic in the stage version I think–in the book, the Phantom (repeatedly called Eric, though I can’t recall whether his name ever appears in the musical) writes his own opera, called Don Juan Triumphant. It never gets performed; Christine just hears snippets of it toward the end. In the musical version, the opera company actually casts and performs his opera, and it is during this that Christine is abducted in the end (though she is abducted while performing in both versions).
I thought the prologue and the epilogue especially interesting, because Leroux seems to be working very hard to convince the reader that the story is true. I was a little confused by the end about whether that is just part of his frame story, as the auction is at the beginning of the musical, or whether any of the events of the tale actually are grounded in fact. The story is of course so fantastical that much of it can’t be true, but perhaps a real story grew to legendary proportions?
At any rate, paranormal and mystery fans will love this. Those aren’t my traditional genres of choice, but this is a tale that defies genre, I think.
My rating: *****
Sexual content: none
Political content: none