Don Juan of Terror is No Angel (The Phantom of the Opera – A Book Review)

The Phantom of the Opera

Author: Gaston Leroux

Published: 1909

On Goodreads

My Rating:

Rated D for the unrelenting drama of dread, death, and doting passion at the hands of a ghost.

“the shadow turned around; and I saw a terrible death’s-head, which darted a look at me from a pair of scorching eyes. I felt as if I were face to face with Satan…”

Christine, a sudden up-and-coming songstress for the opera, is toiled in a triangle dark and deadly triangle with Raoul and the ghost of the opera house, Erik. Though treated as a villain for his disfigurement`, Erik is determined to prove his love to Christine by teaching her to become a great singer. All the while, the opera house suffers at the hand of this opera ghost that bends them to his will, but Raoul refuses to allow this to go on. A game of cat and mouse ensues in terror.

Young love comes to life with a chilling ghost story. While a young singer of the opera is finally receiving the attention she’s always wished for, she has also gained attention that frightens her. Still, I have to hand my praise to Christine who was doing what she had to do to stay alive as well as keep those she cared about alive. It also made her the perfect damsel in distress. LOL.

The deep cavernous parts that made up Erik’s home had to be my favorite setting. It was chilling and left me with that hair-raising curiosity. I loved it so much. A classic setting for a horror. I just can’t get over the spooky lake and fog. The imagery was so powerful. And don’t get me wrong, the opera house was spooky but only because of those that made it so. The caverns were spooky all on their own. However, that masquerade was so dreamy! Envisioning such a beautiful event, the masks, music, and dancing. All of the mystery in it was divine.

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Romance can be spooky and I was living for this twisted, no-good love triangle. The romance truly does set this apart from other horrors. It’s not that I was oohhhing and ahhhiiinng. I was just riveted by the intensity between Christine, Raoul, and Erik that I couldn’t wait to get to the epic climax.

That and Erik becoming the fearful opera ghost all because of the rumors from everyone that went and worked there. Leroux really knew how to capture the reader’s attention. He wasn’t a true monster like Dorian Gray with his portrait or Dr. Frankenstein with his unnatural creature creation. While this story is most definitely a great show of romance with how hopeless Christine is, it’s also a major show of toxicity. Erik’s kidnapping of Christine, though he professed it to be love, was anything but. It left tragedy in the wake of what would naturally be an exciting time in one’s life.

The drama was real, ya’ll and it was unhinged and addicting. From the back and forth between Christine, Raoul, and Erik and the uproar of the opera house between the owners, workers and actors, it was a nonstop rollercoaster. It was a lot of fun and I couldn’t get enough. I especially enjoyed how Leroux wrote this as if from honest and true accounts, giving it so much more intrigue.

Overall

Lights. Drama. Horror. This has to be one of my utmost favorite classics now. Definitely recommend. Wonderful writing, enticing storytelling, imagery inspiring utter awe. And you’ll question whether the phantom ghost is truly a villain or not.

Quotables:

“Your soul is a beautiful thing, child, and I thank you. No emperor ever received so fair a gift. The angels wept tonight.” (Erik to Christine, p. 14)

“You know that one of your friends is in trouble; do not try to console him: he will tell you that he is already comforted; but should he have met with good fortune, be careful how you congratulate him: he thinks it so natural that he is surprised that you should mention it.” (p. 16)

“When you know the secret, Raoul, your ears, like, mine, will be full of lamentations” (Christine to Raoul, p. 91)

More to come soon…                                                                                               

  -K.

Song Today? Save Tonight by Zayde Wolf.

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