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The Phantom of the Opera

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First published in French as a serial in 1909, The Phantom of the Opera is a riveting story that revolves around the young, Swedish Christine Daaé. Her father, a famous musician, dies, and she is raised in the Paris Opera House with his dying promise of a protective angel of music to guide her. After a time at the opera house, she begins hearing a voice, who eventually teaches her how to sing beautifully. All goes well until Christine's childhood friend Raoul comes to visit his parents, who are patrons of the opera, and he sees Christine when she begins successfully singing on the stage. The voice, who is the deformed, murderous 'ghost' of the opera house named Erik, however, grows violent in his terrible jealousy, until Christine suddenly disappears. The phantom is in love, but it can only spell disaster.

Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows.

360 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published January 1, 1909

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About the author

Gaston Leroux

1,375 books940 followers
Gaston Louis Alfred Leroux was a French journalist and author of detective fiction.

In the English-speaking world, he is best known for writing the novel The Phantom of the Opera (Le Fantôme de l'Opéra, 1910), which has been made into several film and stage productions of the same name, such as the 1925 film starring Lon Chaney, and Andrew Lloyd Webber's 1986 musical. It was also the basis of the 1990 novel Phantom by Susan Kay.

Leroux went to school in Normandy and studied law in Paris, graduating in 1889. He inherited millions of francs and lived wildly until he nearly reached bankruptcy. Then in 1890, he began working as a court reporter and theater critic for L'Écho de Paris. His most important journalism came when he began working as an international correspondent for the Paris newspaper Le Matin. In 1905 he was present at and covered the Russian Revolution. Another case he was present at involved the investigation and deep coverage of an opera house in Paris, later to become a ballet house. The basement consisted of a cell that held prisoners in the Paris Commune, which were the rulers of Paris through much of the Franco-Prussian war.

He suddenly left journalism in 1907, and began writing fiction. In 1909, he and Arthur Bernède formed their own film company, Société des Cinéromans to simultaneously publish novels and turn them into films. He first wrote a mystery novel entitled Le mystère de la chambre jaune (1908; The Mystery of the Yellow Room), starring the amateur detective Joseph Rouletabille. Leroux's contribution to French detective fiction is considered a parallel to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's in the United Kingdom and Edgar Allan Poe's in America. Leroux died in Nice on April 15, 1927, of a urinary tract infection.

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Profile Image for Emily May.
1,989 reviews298k followers
January 24, 2019
Persons who are visited by the Angel quiver with a thrill unknown to the rest of mankind. And they cannot touch an instrument or open their mouths to sing, without producing sounds that put all other human sounds to shame.

Erik, AKA The Phantom of the Opera, is Paris's Heathcliff. This book is a dark tale of a man's descent into violence and madness, and the woman who forms the obsession at the centre of his life.

I should probably confess: I am a shameless lover of The Phantom of the Opera musical, which I have seen many and not enough times, as well as the 2004 movie version starring Gerard Butler and Emmy Rossum. I think the story, the setting, and the music make up one of the most beautiful displays of love and loneliness that I have ever seen. It can also be incredibly sexy, but that might have a little something to do with Mr Butler.

The musical version is truly wonderful. If you're curious, watch this wonderful scene from the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t75ST... There's just so much love and sadness wrapped up in just a two and a half minute reprise. Honestly, this story is one of the few things that thaws my cold, unromantic heart.

Christine: In the night there was music in my mind
And through music my soul began to soar
And I heard like I've never heard before
Raoul: What you heard was a dream and nothing more.
Christine: Yet in his eyes, all the sadness in the world ♪

I couldn't help but compare this book to my favourite book of all time - Wuthering Heights. I felt myself drawing so many parallels between the two stories, even though one is a rough and wild story set on the Yorkshire moors and the other is set amid all the finest luxury of nineteenth-century Parisian high society. Both stories create complex villains that earn our pity as well as our disgust. Neither Erik nor Heathcliff is meant to be excused, or even forgiven, for their violent and cruel behaviour; they are not romantic heroes despite the love and passion that fuels both stories.

As with Wuthering Heights, this book is about a man who has lived his whole life with nothing but cruelty and hatred from others (in this case, due to his facial disfigurement). His own mother presented him with a mask so she didn't have to look upon his face. Erik becomes obsessed with Christine Daae - the object of his love and desire - and makes her the centre of his universe. But no man or phantom or angel of music can suffer through a loveless childhood and years of being a freakshow attraction without developing some serious issues. And the phantom, quite frankly, is as messed up as he is a musical genius.

Erik manipulates, terrorizes and even kills to fulfill his mission of furthering Christine Daae's career in the Opera House. He really is the best kind of character - twisted, complex, angry and evil, but I don't think we ever really hate him. I like how this book doesn't turn into something akin to a modern day YA romance where the heroine falls for the bad dude anyway because it's TRU WUV; that isn't the story being told here. Erik is not a hero, but a monster. And this is the monster's story.

It is the monster's deep, unrequited love that makes him human to the reader. I don't want Christine to be with him, that would weaken the true power of the story... but nevertheless, I had to fight back tears when he says:

"And yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself. If you loved me, I should be as gentle as a lamb; and you could do anything with me that you pleased."

The *almost* ending scene is my favourite in the musical, in the movie, and now in the book too. The movie's sad reprise of the song Masquerade sung by the phantom just hits me in the heart every time:

Paper faces on parade
Hide your face so the world will never find you.

A beautiful book.

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Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,118 reviews44.8k followers
April 16, 2020
The Phantom’s greatest tragedy in life is the fact that he came so close to gaining the heart of the girl he loved, a sense of acceptance he has wanted for an entire lifetime, but because of his scarred and damaged soul he did nothing but terrify her; ultimately, shattering the initial allure and glamour she felt in his presence.

In the vein of Frankenstein and Heathcliff, Erik’s shattered visage, his ruined face, permeates his soul. Society, humanity, perceives his appearance as evil and twisted; thus, he takes on these traits in a cruel mockery of what is expected of him: he becomes the very thing he is branded as. And it becomes his most powerful weapon and it also becomes his downfall. He is beyond bitter. He is beyond twisted. His heart oozes with venom for a world that has always shunned him and left him an outcast in the darkness.

The Phantom of the Opera is a tragedy in every sense of the word. All the Phantom ever wanted was love and when he finally finds it, it practically destroys him. It pushes him out of the shadows and makes him bold; it makes him yearn for what he thought impossible. And he acts. He sees his chance, the very essence of what has brought his voice and his soul back to life is before him, and he seizes it albeit too forcefully. He becomes vicious, demanding and overwhelming. The loneliness of his soul dominates his faculties. He loses the cold, practical, cunning that has kept him alive for so long and follows the unthinking possessive whims of his heart.

"And yet I am not really wicked. Love me and you shall see! All I wanted was to be loved for myself. If you loved me, I should be as gentle as a lamb; and you could do anything with me that you pleased."


Such words are uttered with the utmost truth and geniality. Erik comes forth into the light. In this moment he casts aside the guise of The Phantom and reveals his vulnerability and his ability to rejuvenate to Christine. He puts his heart out there, but like everything is his life love is illusory. In his misguided state he drastically misunderstands the situation and his erratic behaviour destroys any chance he ever could have had. His love has power, but he fails to understand that not everybody is as painfully desperate as he.

Leroux clearly loved opera houses and his phantom is beautifully dark concept. His descriptions of the theatre are vivid and verging on the enchanting. His prose is smooth and faultless, though his pacing is poor and the plot is weighed down with many non-essential characters that over complicate the situation. I love the story here, though the execution falls short of the faultlessness you would expect when you consider the sheer strength that surrounds the central plot and characters.

For me, the Phantom will always be better on the stage. The true pain of Erik’s soul pours out of the music and wrenches the hearts of the audience. The final scenes, the reality of the ending, place the story on the fringes of the modernist movement and show that romance is not always storybook despite how our hearts may yearn otherwise.


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Profile Image for zuza_zaksiazkowane.
378 reviews33.8k followers
August 11, 2022
Pierwsze 50 stron mi się bardzo podobało. Potem zaczął to być nudny romans, potem wręcz sensacja. Poza historią Erika, która to rzeczywiście jest bardzo smutna i przejmująca, nie znalazłam w tej książce ani ułamka czegoś, co działałoby na moją wrażliwość. A z kolei sama historia Erika gubi się kompletnie w natłoku tych absurdalnych wydarzeń po drodze. Ostatnie 100 stron zmęczyłam tak okrutnie, że nie będę wspominać tej książki miło. A szkoda :(
Profile Image for Fabian.
956 reviews1,623 followers
September 1, 2020
Excellent, marvelous. A phantasmagorical (ha ha!) PERFECTION. NO JOKE. This is one true House of Horrors, perhaps the best one ever orchestrated (maybe discounting Poe). Yes, EVER. The prose is so simple, so readable, that the barest of essentials are there, in all their power & glory: the haunted house, the victim-lover, the victimizer/lover, the clandestine meetings, the haunted past, the switch-over of protagonists, the uncertainty caused by one elegant overflow of optical illusions, the Victorian conventions all intended to spook the hell out of a reader that's totally in awe of the way a classic story can be so expertly conveyed. Both this & "Dracula" are revolutionary in that uberentertaining way in which the plot is given to us: through letters & witness accounts. Yes, the only way to be frightened is to have the monster in the backdrop, a perpetual threat that's under the velvet curtain. It is truly, TRULY (I want to scream out my window!) delicious-- how nobody from the Paris Opera knows exactly what the phantom looks like, how they all put up their own fears projected unto the myth (who, I must admit, is a true turn-of-the-century bad-ass-- a Micheal Myers combined with Hannibal Lecter... you must meet this version-- he's a more maniacal and romantic phantom than the musicals!). I could not ask for more in a book, its brevity is bittersweet (you wish there were more details, more certainties... this effect, of course, is genius); its use of freak show conventions are all aligned beautifully. This is a masterpiece to be savored! (Read it to your cool kid or niece/nephew!)

UPDATE: just caught the show this last Wednesday night (9/7/16) at the Buell. No musical is as technically rich as this one (which is SO like the Phantom himself). It IS the decade of the 80s-its very opulent (quint)essence! And this is the decade of my birth...

UPDATE: Second time, with the first black Phantom on tour at the Buell! (11/6/19)
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
June 25, 2011
Before we start off, let me clarify something: because I can't be bothered to create a "the Broadway stage adaptation is better" shelf, my "the movie is better" shelf will have to suffice here. The Phantom of the Opera, the show, is a giant, absurd, bombastic display of every bad misconception of theater, and is the main reason Andrew Lloyd Weber is able to fall asleep on a bed made of money every night. It's not my favorite show, is what I'm saying - in fact, I don't even really like the show, come to think of it (which begs the question of why I read this book in the first place, but whatever). So, with all that in mind, Madeline Reviews Inc now presents:

Why The Phantom of the Opera the Book Is, Somehow, Worse Than The Stage Show And Every Movie Version Released So Far

-Everyone in the book is a moron. Like, even more than they are in the show. I got about halfway through the book when I realized, "Wait a minute, was I supposed to be surprised by the revelation that the Phantom and Christine's tutor are the same guy? Haven't we known that from, like, page twenty?" Even if I hadn't seen any other versions, I feel sure I would have figured it out - come on, the story is about people trying to learn the identity of a mysterious, invisible guy and the title of the book is The Phantom of the Opera. Were Gaston Leroux's readers really that stupid?

-Annoying characters from the show are even more annoying here. Christine is still a useless twit, and in this version comes upgraded with zero observation skills and a seriously misguided sense of priorities. When she admits to Raoul (after like two months of bullshit) that the Phantom scares the hell out of her and she wants to escape him, Raoul makes the very sensible point that maybe she should stop wearing the ring the Phantom gave her. Christine's response: "That would be deceitful." GAAAAAAHHHHH.
Raoul is even worse. In the show, he's simply a well-meaning schmuck who fails spectacularly at saving Christine every opportunity he gets. In the book, he's a selfish dick. This is a paraphrased account of an interaction between him and Christine:
Raoul: "Christine, I know there's something super weird going on with this guy you're running off to see, and I want you to tell me what's up because I love you and want to protect you."
Christine: "It's too dangerous, I can't tell you."

-We never get to see anything from Christine's perspective. This is important, because in the book she spends at least two months as the Phantom's prisoner, and all we get is her description, later, of what it was like. Instead of seeing the Phantom through Christine's eyes, where he might have been a more compelling character, we just get to watch Raoul follow her around like a creeper and then listen to Christine give lengthy expositional speeches after events happen.

-The Phantom isn't actually that cool. He's always bursting into tears and begging Christine to love him, and the rest of the time he's so incredibly misguided about his relationship with Christine that it's almost funny. He comes off sounding like one of those perverts on cop shows who insists that he and the ten-year-old locked in his basement actually have a very special and loving relationship, while the cops are just looking at him like, that's nice, man, but your ass is still going to jail.

-There are way more characters than we need, and a lot of them are different (read: worse) than they are in the show. Madame Giry, last seen as a cool, commanding ballet mistress, is merely a crazy old woman who works for the Phantom because he deceived her with the most idiotic lie ever. The book also features The Persian, a guy who literally hangs around the Opera and shows up whenever it's thematically necessary. He might as well have been named Deus Ex Machina.

-Leroux's pacing sucks. Any drama is instantly ruined by his digressions or abrupt scene-changing, and all momentum is lost. When the Phantom kidnaps Christine after her final performance, the story is going along well, everyone's freaking out and trying to find her, and then Leroux pops up. "Hey!" he says, "You guys remember how on page 20 I told you that the new managers have to pay the Phantom 20,000 francs once a month? I bet you guys are wondering how that's going, huh? Let's check in with them quick." And before you can say, no, Gaston, I actually wasn't wondering that at all, he makes you slog through two goddamn chapters about the new managers trying to figure out how the Phantom collects their money.
Similarly, once Raoul and the Persian have gone after the Phantom and are almost at his lair (a journey that takes way, way too long) they get locked in his torture chamber (which involves torture so stupid I won't even describe it) and the plot comes to a damn standstill as Raoul and the Persian spends hours trapped there. It made me actually long for the show, where everything skips along at a fast clip and the worst digressions are five-minute love songs.

-The ending is stupid. Christine gets the Phantom to release her and Raoul (after a lengthy imprisonment that, again, we only get to hear about rather than see), not by having a sexy quick makeout session with him, but by crying with him. That's it. The Phantom kisses her (on the forehead), bursts into tears, and Christine cries with him. This somehow convinces the Phantom that she loves Raoul and that he should let them go, and that's how the Phantom is defeated. I am in no way joking.

In the interest of fairness, the book has two good things going for it:
One, Leroux's portrayal of the opera house as a sprawling, complex maze that's a contained city is pretty incredible, and he's at his best when he's describing all the intricacies and hidden secrets of the opera house.
And two, at least in the book, we are never subjected to a performance of Don Juan Triumphant. Thank you, Jesus.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
August 13, 2021
Le Fantôme de l'Opéra = The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera is a novel by French writer Gaston Leroux. It was first published in volume form in late March 1910 by Pierre Lafitte.

In Paris in the 1880's, the Palais Garnier opera house is believed to be haunted by an entity known as the Phantom of the Opera, or simply the Opera Ghost.

A stagehand named Joseph Buquet is found hanged and the rope around his neck goes missing.

At a gala performance for the retirement of the opera house's two managers, a young little-known Swedish soprano, Christine Daaé, is called upon to sing in the place of the Opera's leading soprano, Carlotta, who is ill, and her performance is an astonishing success.

The Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, who was present at the performance, recognizes her as his childhood playmate and recalls his love for her.

He attempts to visit her backstage, where he hears a man complimenting her from inside her dressing room. He investigates the room once Christine leaves, only to find it empty.

At Perros-Guirec, Christine meets with Raoul, who confronts her about the voice he heard in her room.

Christine tells him she has been tutored by the Angel of Music, whom her father used to tell them about.

When Raoul suggests that she might be the victim of a prank, she storms off. Christine visits her father's grave one night, where a mysterious figure appears and plays the violin for her.

Raoul attempts to confront it but is attacked and knocked out in the process. Back at the Palais Garnier, the new managers receive a letter from the Phantom demanding that they allow Christine to perform the lead role of Marguerite in Faust, and that box 5 be left empty for his use, lest they perform in a house with a curse on it.

The managers ignore his demands as a prank, resulting in disastrous consequences: Carlotta ends up croaking like a toad, and the chandelier suddenly drops into the audience, killing a spectator. The Phantom, having abducted Christine from her dressing room, reveals himself as a deformed man called Erik.

Erik intends to keep her in his lair with him for a few days, but she causes him to change his plans when she unmasks him and, to the horror of both, beholds his noseless, lipless, sunken-eyed face, which resembles a skull dried up by the centuries, covered in yellowed dead flesh.

Fearing that she will leave him, he decides to keep her with him forever, but when Christine requests release after two weeks, he agrees on the condition that she wear his ring and be faithful to him.

On the roof of the opera house, Christine tells Raoul about her abduction and makes Raoul promise to take her away to a place where Erik can never find her, even if she resists.

Raoul tells Christine he will act on his promise the next day, to which she agrees. However, Christine sympathizes with Erik and decides to sing for him one last time as a means of saying goodbye. Unbeknownst to Christine and Raoul, Erik has been watching them and overheard their whole conversation.

The following night, the enraged and jealous Erik abducts Christine during a production of Faust and tries to force her to marry him.

Raoul is led by a mysterious opera regular known as "The Persian" into Erik's secret lair deep in the bowels of the opera house, but they end up trapped in a mirrored room by Erik, who threatens that unless Christine agrees to marry him, he will kill them and everyone in the Opera House by using explosives.

Christine agrees to marry Erik. Erik initially tries to drown Raoul and the Persian, using the water which would have been used to douse the explosives, but Christine begs and offers to be his "living bride", promising him not to kill herself after becoming his bride, as she had both contemplated and attempted earlier in the book.

Erik eventually releases Raoul and the Persian from his torture chamber.

When Erik is alone with Christine, he lifts his mask to kiss her on her forehead and is given a kiss back. Erik reveals that he has never received a kiss, not even from his own mother, nor has been allowed to give one and is overcome with emotion.

He and Christine then cry together and their tears "mingle". Erik later says that he has never felt so close to another human being. He allows the Persian and Raoul to escape, though not before making Christine promise that she will visit him on his death day, and return the gold ring he gave her.

He also makes the Persian promise that afterward he will go to the newspaper and report his death, as he will die soon and will die "of love". Indeed, sometime later Christine returns to Erik's lair, buries him somewhere he will never be found (by Erik's request) and returns the gold ring.

Afterward, a local newspaper runs the simple note: "Erik is dead".

Christine and Raoul (who finds out that Erik has killed his older brother) elope together, never to return. Passages narrated directly by the Persian and the final chapter piece together Erik's life: the son of a construction business owner deformed from birth, he ran away from his native Normandy to work in fairs and in caravans, schooling himself in the arts of the circus across Europe and Asia, and eventually building trick palaces in Persia and Turkey.

Eventually, he returned to France and, wearing a mask, started his own construction business. After being subcontracted to work on the foundations of the Palais Garnier, Erik had discreetly built himself a lair to disappear in, complete with hidden passages and other tricks that allowed him to spy on the managers.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش ماه جولای سال 2003میلادی

عنوان: شبح اپرا؛ نویسنده: گاستون لورو؛ مترجم: مرتضی آجودانی؛ تهران، کتابهای جیبی، 1343، در 368ص؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، علمی فرهنگی؛ سال1394؛ در هفده و 491ص؛ شابک: 9786001215285؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان فرانسه - سده 20م

عنوان: شبح اپرا؛ نویسنده: گاستون لورو؛ برگردان: آرش حجازی؛ مهدی حریری؛ تهران، کاروان، 1381؛ در 443ص؛ شابک: 9647033389؛ چاپ دوم 1382؛ چاپ پنجم 1385؛

نخستین بار فیلم را چند بار دیدم؛ سپس گشتم و ترجمه ی جناب آقای «آجودانی» را یافتم؛ رمان «شبح اپرا»؛ داستان دل انگیزی در دل خویش نهان دارد؛ خوانشگر، و بینشگر، هرگزی داستان و صحنه های فیلم، و یا واژه های کتاب، از یادشان به جای دیگر کوچ نمیکنند، و نمیروند؛ یادم مانده که آن دخترک «کریستین»، چگونه به آن فرشته ی موسیقی دل باخت؛ همان فرشته، یا شبح خوفناک، که در سردابه های ساختمان اپرا، مسکن گزیده بود، و تنها برای شنیدن موسیقی به کنار صحنه میآمد؛ نیز نام فیلمی موزیکال هم هست که بسیار دیدنی ست، در نوشته های دیگری در باره ی شبح و اینکه او کی بوده، بسیار نوشته، و از ایران و دوران ناصری هم یاد کرده اند؛

هشدار برای کسانیکه میخواهند خود این داستان را بخوانند؛ چکیده داستان را افشا میکند

چکیده داستان: فیلم در سال 1919میلادی و به صورت سیاه و سفید آغاز می‌شود؛ بخشی از اموال اپرای پاریس به حراج گذارده شده و از جمله شرکت ‌کنندگان در حراج، مرد سالخورده ای است که با عنوان «ویکونت رائول دو شانی» معرفی می‌شود؛ نخستین مورد حراجی عروسک میمونی است که سنج می‌زند، و «ویکونت» آن را می‌خرد؛ پس از آن نوبت به حراج چلچراغ عظیم اپرای پاریس می‌رسد، که با پرده‌ ای پوشانده شده ‌است؛ برای نمایش آن پرده را کنار کشیده، و چلچراغ را به بالا می‌کشند؛ با بالارفتن چلچراغ زمان به عقب و سال 1870میلادی یعنی دوران رونق سالن اپرای پاریس برمی‌گردد و فیلم رنگی می‌شود؛ نمایشی عظیم قرار است اجرا شود، و بازیگران مشغول تمرین هستند؛ ناگهان پرده ی پشت صحنه، به شدت در نزدیکی «بانو کارلوتا»، بازیگر نقش اصلی فرو می‌افتد؛ بازیگران می‌گویند که این کار شبح اپرا است، و «کارلوتا» به حالت قهر آنجا را ترک می‌کند؛ گردانندگان اپرا که بازیگر اصلی خود را از دست داده‌ اند، به تعطیل کردن نمایش می‌اندیشند، اما «مادام ژیری»، «کریستین» را به عنوان جایگزین «کارلوتا» معرفی می‌کند؛ از «کریستین» خواسته می‌شود تا آوازی را بخواند، و او به زیبایی آن را اجرا می‌کند، اما از گفتن نام کسی که آوازخواندن را به او آموخته خودداری می‌کند؛ نقش به «کریستین» داده می‌شود، و در شب افتتاحیه، «رائول - ویکونت شانی» که در جمع مهمانان است، درمییابد که «کریستین» همان دوست دوران کودکی اوست، و پس از اجرای نمایش به پیش او می‌آید؛ «کریستین» که از دیدن «رائول» زیباروی، بسیار شادمان شده مدتی را به گفتگو با او سپری می‌کند

در پشت صحنه گل‌های فراوانی برای کریستین فرستاده شده اما در میان آنها یک رز سرخ قرار دارد که روبانی سیاه به آن بسته شده‌ است؛ فرستندهٔ آن گل کسی نیست به جز «شبح اپرا»، یک نابغه ی موسیقی که به دلیل نقص مادرزادی ‌ای که در چهره ‌اش دارد، خود را در زیرزمین اپرای پاریس پنهان کرده، و نقابی بر چهره گذاشته ‌است؛ شبح عاشق «کریستین» است، و اوست که آوازخواندن را به «کریستین» آموخته، و در ازای آن می‌خواهد که «کریستین» برای همیشه با او بماند؛ او همچنین تمام تلاش خود را بکار می‌بندد تا «کریستین» ستارهٔ اصلی نمایش‌های اپرای پاریس باشد، و با ارسال نامه‌ ای به گردانندگان سالن اپرا، آنها را تهدید می‌کند، در صورتی که نقش اصلی نمایش بعدی به «کریستین» سپرده نشود، باید منتظر عواقب بدی باشند؛ اما آنان به این تهدید توجهی نکرده، و برای دلجویی از «بانو کارلوتا»، نقش اصلی را به او می‌سپارند؛ شبح که از این موضوع ناراحت شده، با عوض کردن افشرهٔ صاف ‌کنندهه س صدای او، باعث گرفتگی صدای «کارلوتا» شده، و به ‌ناچار «کریستین» جایگزین او می‌شود؛ اما شبح تنها به همین کار اکتفا نکرده و مسئول تغییر پرده‌ های نمایش را با طنابی دار زده و در برابر چشمان تماشاگران آویزان می‌کند

کریستین که عاشق «رائول» شده به او می‌گوید، که از شبح می‌ترسد، و رائول با خواندن آوازی به او می‌گوید، که همواره در کنارش خواهد بود، و از او مراقبت خواهد کرد، و «کریستین» با بر زمین انداختن گل سرخی که شبح اپرا برایش فرستاده، به «رائول» می‌پیوندد؛ آنها نمی‌دانند که شبح اپرا شاهد دیدار آنهاست و او که قلبش شکسته، به فکر کشتن «رائول» و نگاه داشتن «کریستین» برای خود می‌افتد؛ دو مرد هنگامی که «کریستین» بر سر مزار پدر خود رفته ‌است، با یکدیگر رودرو شده، و بر روی هم شمشیر می‌کشند، اما پیروزی از آن «رائول» است و تنها نفرت برای شبح باقی می‌ماند

نمایش «دون خوان» در حال اجراست، و «رائول» نگهبانانی مسلح را در سالن اپرا مستقر کرده ‌است؛ با این وجود شبح با کشتن ��کی از بازیگران مرد، خود به ‌جای او وارد صحنه می‌شود؛ او در کنار «کریستین» شروع به خواندن می‌کند، ولی «کریستین» ناگهان نقاب از چهره ی او برمی‌کشد، و صورت بدشکل شبح نمایان می‌شود؛ شبح که غافلگیر شده، طنابی که چلچراغ عظیم سالن اپرا را نگهداشته، پاره می‌کند؛ چلچراغ بر روی جمعیت که در حال فرار هستند می‌افتد، و شبح در حالیکه «کریستین» را در آغوش گرفته، ناپدید می‌شود؛ «رائول» از «مادام ژیری» که تنها کسی است که راه مخفیگاه شبح را می‌داند، می‌خواهد که به او یاری کند؛ «مادام ژیری» راه را به او نشان می‌دهد، و «رائول» برای نجات «کریستین» می‌رود؛ اما شبح او را گیر انداخته، و به «کریستین» می‌گوید که نجات جان «رائول» به گزینش او بستگی دارد؛ «کریستین» که درمانده شده ‌است، شبح را می‌بوسد؛ شبح که احساساتش تحریک شده، به «کریستین» و «رائول» می‌گوید، که از آنجا بروند، و خود شروع به شکستن تم��می آینه‌ های موجود در مخفیگاهش می‌کند؛ نگهبانان و کارکنان، به مخفیگاه شبح می‌رسند، اما به جز نقاب او، و اسباب ‌بازی میمونی که سنج می‌زند چیزی نمی‌یابند

ویکونت شانی، که یادمانهای گذشته را به ‌یاد می‌آورد، سوار بر ماشین، به سوی گورستانی می‌رود؛ در آنجا «کریستین» آرمیده ‌است، و او عروسک میمون سنج‌زن را، که از حراجی اپرای پاریس خریداری کرده ‌است، بر سر مزار «کریستین» می‌گذارد؛ اما به هنگام بازگشت متوجهٔ شاخه گل سرخ‌رنگی می‌شود، که روبانی سیاه به آن بسته شده، و در کنار سنگ مزار «کریستین» گذارده شده ‌است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 30/06/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 21/05/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Piyangie.
529 reviews489 followers
July 18, 2023
I fell in love with The Phantom of the Opera after watching the 2004 movie adaptation. Since then, I have wanted to read the book. I didn't know what a surprise there was in store for me. The movie was simply a love triangle between Raoul, Christine, and Erik - the "opera ghost" and nothing more. But the book is much more than that. It is a gothic horror story, quite different from the movie, and is very dark. Reading the book reversed my whole perspective of the story and its characters.

The "Poor Erik" of the movie was not so "poor" after all. He is not so much the wronged, unlucky man I thought him to be. He is a monster who kills, injures, blackmails, and kidnaps to achieve his desires in life. Just when I thought I have read the darkest classical character in Heathcliff, Leroux presents me with a more sinister Erik! He terrorizes the whole of the opera house with his brutality, especially the young and innocent Christine Dae. Erik is nothing but a villain who deserves no sympathy. And Raoul is no hero. He is more of a fool, with his doubting heart, his childish actions, his short sight, and impatience. Leroux's heroine is Christine. For one so young, she has a surprising strength to undergo the brutality of Erik and is of a mature mind to do what is best for others even at her own peril.

The story is a dark tale of a man with an unnatural, disturbing mind. The horrifying drama his actions bring about and the fright they cause leave you quite frantic. However, Leroux injects a little humor to assuage the grim atmosphere. Thus, despite the gravity and shocking wickedness so nakedly portrayed, I had quite a laugh too.

Although the book was not what I expected, it was nevertheless an interesting read in itself. Irrespective of the darker subject matter, I did enjoy the story pretty much. On reflection, I'm glad that it was a complex horror story, coupled with a bit of romance, and not a simple love story.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,254 followers
July 15, 2020
Sorelli, a principal dancer in the beautiful, new, and fabulous Paris Opera House ( circa 1880) is angry, her dressing - room has been invaded, by half a dozen hysterical young ladies, ballet dancers. The frightened performers have seen the legendary Phantom (Ghost), claiming to have noticed a very ugly man, but well dressed in the passageway. The superstitious but brave woman, opens the door quiet slowly and takes a careful peek. The shadowy in gaslight, reddish walls give a strange ambiance, but there is nothing around, the door is quickly shut ...The new managers don't take seriously the old ones, MM. Debienne and Poligny, warnings of the Phantom, receiving them as a joke to amuse Armand Moncharmin, and Firmin Richard, such distinguished gentlemen, playing silly childish games. The duo will be sorry they did not take their advise . Christine Daae, a young Swedish singer, gives an awe inspiring performance when La Carlotta, the spoiled prima donna, lead soprano singer, at the Opera House, through illness, missed her engagement . And the "man" in box five, falls madly in love with Christine, he is the Phantom ( call him Erik) and can help her achieve stardom, maybe not with a gentle touch. Many sightings of this phantom, but he is never caught after all, how can you stop a ghost? Trapped doors, secret passageways, magic mirrors, voices inside walls from empty rooms, a lake under the opera house the intelligent Phantom, knows everything about the gigantic building. A stagehand is found hanging , lifeless below in the cellars, he had seen a flaming head no body though, flying by people , thought he was drunk; a heavy chandelier crushes a woman in the audience during a performance, and at the farewell dinner for the old managers, this man with a death mask sits down at the table. No one talks to the weird, would you ... unnerving stranger, he tells the gentlemen that Joseph Bouqet, the dead man didn't commit suicide. And vanishes as fast as he had arrived ... Raoul Vicomte de Chagny, 20, a person who knew Christine, when both were children loves her too, not surprisingly the jealous Phantom, is not happy indeed. Neither is Phillippe , the Comte de Chagny, and snobbish older brother of Raoul, isn't pleased at all either. Erik kidnaps Christine, descends deep down, under the dungeon like cellars, the monster has a house on the eerie lake. He plays on a organ, his opera that he is writing for Christine, a beautiful voice comes out of his grotesque head. Christine is curious, when the fiend is playing with his back to her, she lifts the death mask ... a hideous, unbelievable repellent, repugnant, revolting face, she faints away. Meanwhile the frantic Raoul , meets the Persian, a person everyone knows but nobody can say who he is. But immediately, Raoul trust him, trust him he must, he knows where Christine is. The Persian gives him a revolver, takes another and they walk down, into the vast, darkness of the opera house basement, to rescue Christine, first seeing a shadow moving near them, but the Phantom it is not. Then a flying face all a blazed, thundering noises rising coming closer and closer, they reach the wall and can't go any further , the strange face approaches, the sound deafening ... thousands of rats, from the blackness, the pair, await their doom... A good old-fashioned tale for people that don't take it seriously and like the atmosphere of an amusing adventure too enjoyable to be real.
Profile Image for Pramod Nair.
232 reviews194 followers
November 2, 2015
“And, despite the care which she took to look behind her at every moment, she failed to see a shadow which followed her like her own shadow, which stopped when she stopped, which started again when she did and which made no more noise than a well-conducted shadow should.”

Gaston Leroux - who popularized an entire sub-genre of detective fiction called ‘locked room mystery’ through his works like 'The Mystery of the Yellow Room' and his fictional amateur sleuth, Joseph Rouletabille - is most renowned for his suspense/ romance/ drama novel 'The Phantom of the Opera'; easily one among the most adapted novels in literary history. Originally published as a series in French daily newspaper ‘Le Gaulois’ between 1909 and 1910, this terrific tale of suspense and maniacal passion was published as a novel in 1910.

This romantic drama with a dark angle narrates the love triangle between the key characters of Christine, an opera singer; Erik, a man with a horrible facial deformity and who is living unknown to others in the Opera house, introduces himself just as a ‘voice’ to her initially and trains her in fine tuning her singing; and Raoul, her childhood friend who is in love with her. The passion and possessiveness arising from the love and a string of violent and terrifying events that happen in an Opera house in which the legend of an ‘Opera Ghost’ is thriving drives this story forward.

Erik, who had been never loved – even by his mother due to his physical deformities – finds love in Christine and this lonely man becomes so mad and jealous with his obsessive love for Christine that through his character Leroux portrays the infinite capacity of human mind in generating evil and his tale is an inspection at the depths of darkness that a soul can possess. This is a Gothic tale of mad passions and the setting of the underground rooms of the Opera house matches the chilling atmosphere that the tale exudes.

I will not go much into the story-line in this review, as it will spoil the experience of reading this book but I can assure the prospective reader one thing, the anti-hero characterization of Erik is one of among the best; the terror, the evil, the fear and the malice that he generates all is brilliantly balanced with the pity and sadness that the reader feel towards him further into the book.

The illustrator

It was a decade and half ago that I read ‘The Phantom of Opera’ for the first time, but recently I came across a 1911 first US edition copy of this title published by Bobbs-Merrill. When the book was originally published in 1910 titled Le Fantôme de l'Opéra in French, it was accompanied by five oil paintings by French illustrator and artist André Castaigne. The US edition of 1911 had three of these original five oil paintings reproduced on art paper plates and these paintings capture the eerie atmosphere of the story brilliantly.

The French artist and engraver Jean André Castaigne, who was the original illustrator for the first edition of The Phantom of the Opera. This is an anonymous Portrait of Castaigne from ‘The Charcoal Club’ in Baltimore, USA, 1893

André Castaigne was a master illustrator and painter who drew humans, animals, architecture and landscapes with equal flair and illustrated extensively for both French and American publications.

One of the oil paintings that Castaigne did for the original 1910 first edition, depicting the below scene from novel

"He said to you, 'Christine, you must love me!'"
At these words, a deathly pallor spread over Christine's face, dark rings formed round her eyes, she staggered and seemed on the point of swooning. Raoul darted forward, with arms outstretched, but Christine had overcome her passing faintness and said, in a low voice: "Go on! Go on! Tell me all you heard! "
At an utter loss to understand, Raoul answered: "I heard him reply, when you said you had given him your soul, 'Your soul is a beautiful thing, child, and I thank you. No emperor ever received so fair a gift. The angels wept tonight.'"

The Phantom of Opera - A clever blend of fact and fiction

Gaston Leroux in a clever manner infused real locations and actual events from history to make his novel more credible and more mysterious, and fact and fiction overlaps in this novel to form an atmosphere of misty unknown. Let’s inspect a few such elements that Leroux took from actuality to fuel his imagination.

Gaston Leroux used the ‘Palais Garnier’ opera house as the setting for his novel and some of the rumors and architectural elements associated with this real life monument allowed Leroux to infuse a sense of authority or reality to his fictional work.

Uncovered facade of the Palais Garnier on 15 August 1867

"The house broke into a wild tumult. The two managers collapsed in their chairs and dared not even turn round; they had not the strength; the ghost was chuckling behind their backs! And, at last, they distinctly heard his voice in their right ears, the impossible voice, the mouthless voice, saying:


With one accord, they raised their eyes to the ceiling and uttered a terrible cry. The chandelier, the immense mass of the chandelier was slipping down, coming toward them, at the call of that fiendish voice. Released from its hook, it plunged from the ceiling and came smashing into the middle of the stalls, amid a thousand shouts of terror. A wild rush for the doors followed.

The papers of the day state that there were numbers wounded and one killed. "

An Engraving of the main auditorium chandelier of the Paris Opera's Palais Garnier; The design was by Charles Garnier and the engraving is believed to be by J. Bénard and C. Lapiaute

On 20 May 1896, one of the counterweights that keep this 7-ton bronze and crystal chandelier stable broke free and burst through the ceiling into the auditorium, killing a member of the audience. Gaston Leroux was inspired by this tragic accident to create one of the most famous scenes in the novel.

The concept of the subterranean lake under the Opera House is also based on some truth as when the site was excavated in 1862, the groundwater level was found unexpectedly high and despite some heavy duty attempts in draining this water from the swampy work site, the site was not dried up completely and a special double foundation had to be designed to take care of this groundwater seepage.

The subterranean water body underneath Palais Garnier, taken from Google Street view. You can Inspect this in detail here: https://goo.gl/maps/NocxbwxPV2z

An enormous concrete cistern, which was built to take control of this situation, formed a reservoir of water and Gaston Leroux was inspired by the rumor, which soon spread around Paris stating that there is an enormous underground lake beneath the Palais Garnier. And the large cellars that act as the technical rooms of the building along with its alcoves and arches could have inspired him into creating the plot element that the phantom lived underneath the Opera house.

The Numerous Adaptations

Christine: "You. You are the Phantom!"
The Phantom: "If I am the Phantom, it is because man's hatred has made me so. If I shall be saved, it will be because your love redeems me."

There have been a multitude of adaptations for ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ – into both adult and children’s literature, dramas, musicals, movies, television shows and comic books – and I would wish to inspect two specific adaptations here; the 1925 movie adaptation and the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on the novel.

In 1925, Rupert Julian, the New Zealand cinema actor, director, writer and producer directed a movie adaptation starring Lon Chaney, Sr as Phantom and Mary Philbin as Christine.

Lon Chaney Sr. and Mary Philbin in "The Phantom of the Opera", 1925 Film

This was a faithful adaptation of the book with some plot differences only and was a box office success. I chose this adaptation for mention because of the famous ‘unmasking’ scene - the scene in which while Erik is playing the organ, Christine creeps up behind him to snatch his mask off – a movie scene, which can be easily stated as one of the most memorable moments in the history of films.

The famous unmasking the phantom scene

Since the movie is on the public domain you can watch this scene from YouTube - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sa3bH....

When it came out in 1925, this scene was the apex of horror and the make up that was used on Lon Chaney was much acclaimed and frightening. It is also one of the closest characterizations of Phantom, based on the book. From today’s standard this scene may not have even the slightest iota of horror in it as we have outgrown fear for such visuals with over exposure but at that time this scene when watched in a dark movie house could have been quiet startling and one of the promotional tricks that the movie used was that the theaters were asked to keep smelling salts ready in case someone from the audience watching the scene actually fainted.

A publicity photo of Steve Barton and Sarah Brightman in the final scene of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ musical.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical adaptation opened in London's West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988 and is the longest running show in Broadway history with over 10,000 Broadway performances and a worldwide total gross collection of over $5.6 billion.

The Phantom of the Opera’ may feel overemotional from a modern perspective, but this is a classic mystery and suspense story from a whole different time period, and if as a reader you can have a bit of patience and can take account of this difference in the time-frames, then this work from Leroux can be a satisfying experience.

Written - October 31, 2015
March 7, 2022

“Erik is not truly dead. He lives on within the souls of those who choose to listen to the music of the night”.

No sé por qué en mi mente siempre pensé que este era un libro súper romántico, pero no lo es en absoluto. Tampoco he visto nunca el musical ni las películas, así que de verdad no sé de dónde saqué esa idea. Sin embargo, la historia de El Fantasma de la Ópera y lo que hace Gaston Leroux al momento de narrarla me pareció muy entretenido.

La historia de Christine, Erik, el vizconde de Chagny y el persa me entretuvo desde la primera página y, a decir verdad, me gustó mucho cómo todo lo que pensaba de este libro se iba cayendo al piso con cada acontecimiento, accidente, amenaza y aventura en la que se metían los personajes. Ah, además, disfruté mucho con las estupideces que hacían los nuevos directores de la Ópera con respecto al fantasma. Madre mía.

Si bien hay un par de momentos en los que sentí que todo se alargaba innecesariamente, luego llegaban otros con bastante ritmo que los compensaban. Además, creo que todo lo vale porque el libro tiene un gran final, lleno de angustia, tensión y sentimientos muy intensos.
Profile Image for Laurie  (barksbooks).
1,751 reviews696 followers
March 6, 2023
Well, that was melodramatic.

Because I quit a book last week, I forced myself to finish this one. I can finish anything on audio, thought I. I am not a quitter, thought I. But after struggling to focus on this and backtracking 2 hours because I realized I had been daydreaming the entire time, I have come to the realization that the DNF review is not so bad a thing.

This read was torture. Pure torture. I finished it but did not have a good time.

“You don’t love me. But you will.”

Sorry Erik but no. No I won’t. Feel free to keep trying.

“You must know that I am made of death, from head to foot, and it is a corpse who loves you and adores you and will never, never leave you!”

Hmmm, slightly tempting. But no. And here’s why:

This story has the lovely gothic trappings that one would expect; an opera “ghost” who hides in the shadows, a helpless damsel and loads of secret passageways and hidden rooms where ominous things happen. But . . .

It was boring .There, I said it. It’s rather a dry read, goes off on tedious tangents about missing money for hours (felt like hours anyway) and the narration was a wee bit on the stuffy side, making it easy for me to doze off. It also features a love triangle between Christine the beauty, Erik the mentally unstable phantom and Raoul a weepy, boy-man who dissolved into a fit of tears whenever he thought Christine might not share in his insta-love. Note to Raoul: toughen up, man! Your tears are a perfectly good waste of suffering (thank you Clive Barker) and they are not attractive. Poor Christine. She would’ve been better off getting a dog than marrying either of these two.

This did not go down well for me. It was a struggle from beginning to end. I was very much expecting to become immersed in the world but instead I couldn’t wait to flee from it.

“I am dying of love. “ Erik

Profile Image for Patricia Bejarano Martín.
440 reviews5,547 followers
August 8, 2019
4.5 en realidad.
Este libro es una maldita obra de arte. Lo he amado por completo. Cuando me adentré en sus páginas no sabía lo que me iba a encontrar y sin duda me ha sorprendido para bien. Creo que ha ayudado a no haber visto nunca ni musicales ni películas antes de leerlo, y aunque tenía algunas nociones sobre la historia, lo que me he encontrado ha sido todo muy sorprendente.
Es una novela combina muchísimos géneros y eso hace que te atrape desde el primero momento. Hay comedia, muchísima más de lo que podría haber imaginado. Lo que me reí el primer tercio de la novela no lo sabe nadie. De verdad, algunas situaciones y personajes me hacían mucha gracia. Luego ya la cosa se pone mucho más seria y empieza el drama, tragedia, mucho misterio y con toques de terror.
La historia se sitúa en la Ópera de París, la cual se dice que está encantada y donde vive un fantasma, más conocido como el Fantasma de la Ópera y quien ha causado muchísimos accidentes en ella. Este fantasma está muy enamorado de una de las artistas de la ópera, Christine, y por quién hará todas las locuras del mundo con tal de conseguir su amor. Pero claro, Christine de quien verdaderamente está enamorada es de Raoul, vizconde y amigo de la infancia de Christine. Esto crea un triángulo amoroso maravilloso lleno de tensión.
Creo que este libro trata muy bien los problemas que acarrean que hayas sido un marginado social por el aspecto físico y como acaba afectando psicológicamente a la persona que lo sufre. Y sin duda esto le ocurre a Erik, nuestro protagonista (amo su nombre y a su personaje). Me parece un personaje con doble personalidad. De repente es tierno, adorable, cariñoso y a la vez es cruel y despiadado, llegando incluso a matar a personas, pero eso no evita que estas dos facetas te hagan caer rendida ante tan complejo personaje. Luego tenemos a Christine. Ella es inocente y cae rendida al ángel de la música en un principio, y si no llega a intervenir Raoul de nuevo en su vida, tal vez hubiera acabado prendadísima del fantasma de la ópera a pesar de su deformidad. Y veremos ese conflicto interior de Christine y será una parte importante de la novela. Ella quiere a Erik de una manera y a Raoul de otra... pero ciertos actos harán que acabe decantándose por uno más que otro.
Sin duda creo que ha sido uno de los clásicos que más me ha enganchado y disfrutado. Erik se ha quedado en mi corazón y sin duda Gaston Leroux ha creó una joya digna de recordar y ser leída por todo el mundo.
Profile Image for Peter Topside.
Author 4 books802 followers
October 29, 2020
I'll admit that I first saw the broadway show, then the 2004 film, and read the book afterwards. The book was a fairly different animal then its other incarnations, but I enjoyed it a great deal, especially the ending, which was much different. I felt that Erik was a tragic character, but you understood his pain enough to dislike him at times, but not hate him. I also very much loved when the phantom appears at the farewell ceremony to the opera managers, towards the beginning of the book. That stuck out to me a great deal, and set the tone for the remainder of the story. Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Carol.
1,370 reviews2,154 followers
October 20, 2019
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA is a fantastic ghostly tale of love with so much more depth (and evil) to the storyline than I remember from either the play or "old" movie.

Be prepared for murder by hanging, frequent cries of terror from malicious "accidents", and suicide for just a smidgeon of what will "materialize". But, it's the mysterious Opera Ghost who lurks in the shadows using tricks and illusions to work his many evils behind a mask of horror and smell of death that will grab your attention throughout these pages.

This great classic (first published in 1909) is a wonderful haunting read with a dual love story and satisfying ending......oh that first kiss.

Note: "The Opera Ghost really existed. He was not, as was long believed, a creature of the imagination of the artists, the superstition of the managers, or a product of the absurd and impressionable brains of the young ladies of the ballet, their mothers, the box-keepers, the cloak-room attendants or the concierge. Yes, he existed in flesh and blood, although he assumed the complete appearance of a real phantom: that is to say, of a spectral shade." ...........From the author's Prologue.

Profile Image for Candi.
621 reviews4,710 followers
February 28, 2017
"He is extraordinarily thin and his dress-coat hangs on a skeleton frame. His eyes are so deep that you can hardly see the fixed pupils. You just see two big black holes, as in a dead man’s skull. His skin, which is stretched across his bones like a drumhead, is not white, but a nasty yellow. His nose is so little worth talking about that you can’t see it side-face; and the absence of that nose is a horrible thing to look at. All the hair he has is three or four long dark locks on his forehead and behind his ears."

Sounds deliciously creepy, right? Well, no doubt the Opera ghost would have scared the hell out of me if I had ever crossed paths with him! And he was scary; in fact he was downright evil. More evil than I recall from attending a live performance of the musical by the same name many, many years ago. All the elements of a gothic mystery were there; I was intrigued by the corpse-like apparition that was said to haunt the Paris Opera House. Unfortunately, I was more amused than I was terrified while reading this book. I didn’t experience the allure of the gothic atmosphere.

The plot was interesting enough and kept me turning the pages. Christine, trained by the Angel of Music, becomes a sensation at the opera house and falls in love with a young man from her past. Raoul has been smitten with Christine since he was a child. One day, a little boy, who was out with his governess, made her take a longer walk than he intended, for he could not tear himself from the little girl whose pure, sweet voice seemed to bind him to her." But the Opera ghost is infatuated with her as well, and will stop at almost nothing to make her his bride. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the phantom. At times I abhorred him; he seemed to have no conscience. The next moment I felt pity towards this unloved and lonely outcast of society. It’s a bit of an adventure in the underbelly of the Opera House and I did enjoy all the literal twists and turns there. The melodrama and the unpolished dialogue disappointed me, however. The characters felt flat, with the exception of the phantom himself. The Persian was a bit intriguing as well. Essentially, it’s a tragic story with an engaging plot, and it’s quite readable. Just not the remarkable story I was looking for, but I’m getting a bit particular about my gothic mysteries.

"He asked only to be ‘someone,’ like everybody else."
Profile Image for Axl Oswaldo.
332 reviews166 followers
February 14, 2022
2.5 stars

"Are people so unhappy when they love?"
"Yes, Christine, when they love and are not sure of being loved."

I would like to start my review by saying that The Phantom of the Opera was not the story I was expecting to read. I had an idea in advance, a really wrong idea, about this novel: I thought I would find a love story with a 'happy ever after' through its pages. While the last fact (a happy ever after) might be true or false and it's completely up to you whether or not this is a happy ending, my first assumption turned out to be wrong: we don't have a love story here; instead, we have the story of an obsession and a dangerous man who has lost his mind.

Needless to say, this novel was really disappointing for me. It was not so bad though, since I really enjoyed Leroux's narrative quite a bit, and in fact, I might be interested in reading another novel written by him, if for instance, I come across one of his other books in the future; however, my problem with The Phantom of the Opera was basically the plot and the characters; and so you can imagine that my experience overall was not successful.

If for a moment we ignore the fact that I was expecting to find something different inside this book, and even though I enjoyed the prose and some elements used by the author, such as different narrators throughout the novel, and therefore, different points of view which together complete the story at the end, good descriptions (not so impressive as Victor Hugo's descriptions of Notre Dame of Paris in his homonymous novel) of the Paris Opera House, and so on, the characters (mainly after the middle of the book) were not enjoyable at all, many of their decisions were not right, and the story itself felt sometimes ridiculous, other times annoying.

For instance, two of the main characters, the Opera Ghost and Raoul, were so 'insane' and their behaviors made me feel really uncomfortable, each of them in their own way.
The Opera Ghost has a completely wrong idea about what love means, and although his background is in the way it is, this fact cannot be used as an excuse; furthermore, there is something called politeness and respect, which are traits that this character doesn't know at all. As for Raoul, oh gosh! I am not pretty sure, and I can't put my finger on it because I can't remember all characters I have come across in my life, but I think Raoul is the most childish, selfish, and annoying character I have met thus far. I would prefer not to say anything else.
As for our heroine Christine, she is not a bad character but she might have been better, she could have had a better development for instance. I felt as though she was kind of flat, that it was impossible for me to know her deeply at the end of the book.

Sitting on the fence is not something that happens to me so often when I have to review a novel. Eventually, everything comes down to how much I have enjoyed the novel that I have read. However, in this case is certainly hard for me to say if I really liked this book or not, since there are some things I enjoyed reading and other elements that I really hated.
In short, is The Phantom of the Opera a good book? It is, but maybe it was not for me.
Did I enjoy reading The Phantom of the Opera overall? I would say 'yes', but not as much as I had wanted to do so.
So, if you were interested in reading this novel, I would say 'do it, you will probably have a good reading experience'; you know, in the end the last decision is up to us.
Profile Image for Melindam.
663 reviews293 followers
June 5, 2020
Honestly, I tried, time and again. It gave it time, let myself grow older, cleaned the slate to have a fresh start, etc ... it just did not work. EVEN THINKING ABOUT GERALD BUTLER DID NOT HELP. SO IT'S OFFICIALLY HOPELESS.

This book is the winner of my MOST-BORING-AND-POINTLESS-BOOK-EVER award.

The MCs, Whatshername & Whatshisname are the soppiest individuals and the soppiest couple ever.


The book's only saving grace is that Terry Pratchett sends it up all the way in his Maskerade.
Profile Image for Sarah.
237 reviews1,111 followers
May 31, 2018
Part I: The Book

After the melancholy of North and South —where even the grand romance is tempered by children starving and teenagers dying from cotton-clogged lungs—some escapism was desperately needed. And The Phantom of the Opera provided the most sweeping, colorful, splendid escapism one could ask for.

Yet there is a deeper undercurrent here. It was the hatred of the world that drove Erik mad.

The plot of this story is likely familiar to all: a mysterious being known only as the Opera Ghost takes up residence below the Paris Opera House. Meanwhile, an orphaned chorus girl named Christine Daaë has to fill in for the prima donna Carlotta one night, and brings down the house with the beautiful voice that no one knew she had.

Christine’s childhood friend Raoul is in the audience and falls in love with her, despite the disapproval of his elder brother—viscounts can’t marry untitled chorus girls! The idea!—but Raoul soon discovers he has a bigger obstacle. There’s another man. His name is Erik, he is a magician, and Christine is both terrified of and protective of him. He’s already kidnapped her once, and he intends to do it again.

There appear to be a few sizable divergences between the plot of the novel and that of the musical, but I’ll wait till I watch the 2004 film to evaluate those and decide which I enjoyed more.

One big difference already evident is the appearance and characterization of the Phantom. In the book, he’s not sympathetic, just pathetic. He vacillates between threatening to blow up everyone and groveling tearfully at Christine’s feet. Not only is he bipolar, he also has roughly six hairs on his head, looks like death, lives in the middle of an underground lake, strangles people, is irrationally convinced that one person/object holds the key to his happiness, his eyes glow in the dark, and he frequently refers to himself in the third person. Does this remind you of anyone?


Somehow Andrew Lloyd-Webber turned this hideous nut-job into a heartthrob. I can’t wait to see how he managed that.

The other characters are fairly standard for the Gothic genre. Christine is all innocence and gentleness, while Raoul is rash and brave and spoiled and wholesome. The Persian is intriguing, and I wish Leroux had given us more backstory about how he knew Erik. The supporting cast are quite funny, always yelling and blaming each other for things they know they couldn’t have done—anything so long as they can pretend the Opera Ghost doesn’t exist.

Leroux’ prose seems lacking, but that might be more the translator’s fault than his. This is very much a horror novel in the vein of Frankenstein rather than a character-driven novel like Middlemarch . That said, just because Frankenstein and Phantom are a bit melodramatic and short on psychological details doesn't make either any less poignant or profound.

Part II: The Musical & The Movie/Comparisons with the Book

Just finished watching Joel Schumacher’s film version of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical (2003), which supposedly sticks to the script of the play quite faithfully. Lots of fans seem to think that the movie is a poor representation of the play, and I’m sure that nothing can compare to the kinetic energy of a live stage performance. However, I heartily enjoyed the movie (edit: since originally writing this review I've watched the film three times and loved it more with every viewing).

A lot of theater geeks complain that neither Gerard Butler (Erik) nor Emmy Rossum (Christine) has an operatic or Broadway voice. While this is true - he sounds like a grunge rocker and she sounds like a singer-songwriter - I believe that they capture their characters better than the (equally talented) duo of Ramin Karimloo and Sierra Boggess in the 2005 live performance at the Royal Albert Hall. Butler is charismatic, menacing, and broken underneath in this role; Rossum is gentle and sincere and a bit otherwordly; their chemistry is electric and their connection seems deep. Also, Patrick Wilson is Raoul, and he's so good he makes the character likeable.

The characterization of the Phantom has changed significantly from page to stage/screen. He has been transformed from an unholy hybrid of Gollum and Frankenstein’s monster to a weirdly-attractive chimera of Heathcliff and Batman.

Red Death

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, giving him a normal body and a face that is not just 75% normal, but 75% very handsome indeed, could actually make him more frightening, because you have to steel yourself against him—whereas one has no trouble rejecting a being that looks like a zombie. They say the Devil can disguise himself as an angel of light, and that’s just what he did here. (Leroux hints sometimes in the book that there might be something diabolical about Erik, similar to insinuations Emily Brontë makes about Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights).

But on the other hand (to quote Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, probably the greatest character to ever grace a Broadway stage), many viewers won’t—and haven’t—perceived it that way. Instead they make excuses for him: “It’s his horrible childhood!” “He only kills because no one loved him!” “Christine could have changed him!”

And they have a point. We are, after all, talking about a man whose earliest memory is of his mother handing him a mask so she wouldn’t have to look at his face. Leroux says nothing more than that; the freak show is a Lloyd-Webber invention, and a good one (it also offers a far more satisfactory reason for Erik’s alliance with Madam Giry than that given by the novel). That Erik—again, like Heathcliff—was abused and damaged, is doubtless. But the same could be said of Quasimodo (another book I have to read sometime) and he turned out the opposite. It’s an explanation but not an excuse.

As for Christine, she did change him, in both the book and the play/movie, by showing him compassion when he needed it most. In the book, the horror of his proposal goes unmixed, while the musical has her heart torn in two different directions, between a good man who would die for her and a bad, broken, sympathetic man who would kill for her. In another timeline, where different choices were made, I hope that Erik and Christine were able to make a life together. As is, she made the only reasonable choice his actions allowed her to make.

You are not alone

WHERE IS THE PERSIAN?!? Well, Lord Andrew? Why did you write out one of the book’s most interesting characters?

The book has some disturbing violence in the Phantom’s torture chamber (yes, he has one), where Raoul and the Persian might die of heat exhaustion if they don’t despair of finding the hidden door and hang themselves first. Also, the Phantom’s got enough explosives down there to blow the Opera House to kingdom come, which he threatens to do many, many times. He also strangles quite a few people with his Punjab lasso. A lot of his illusions are terrifying, though none so horrid as his own poor face. Teens and up.

The movie contains one scene of highly disturbing violence. Erik finds out that a stage hand was spreading rumors about his disfigurement, stalks the guy in the rafters of the stage, throttles him, and hangs the corpse so it falls on the stage. He also drops a giant chandelier on a packed house. The stage musical supposedly has almost no sexual content. The movie doesn’t have anything terribly racy either, but apparently the screen Phantom pets Christine more than his stage equivalent does, and her outfits show a wee bit more skin than the stage costumes tend to. Should be fine for teens, but judge for yourselves if it’s okay for younger kids.
Profile Image for Sophia Triad.
2,239 reviews3,513 followers
March 2, 2020
I blame this book for my obsession in stories with misunderstood monsters who only need love.

"I have not come here ... to talk about Count Philippe ... but to tell you that ... I am going ... to die..."
"Where are Raoul de Chagny and Christine Daae?"
"I am going to die."
"Raoul de Chagny and Christine Daae?"
"Of love ... daroga ... I am dying ... of love ... That is how it is ... loved her so! ... And I love her still ... daroga ... and I am dying of love for her, I ... I tell you! ... If you knew how beautiful she was ... when she let me kiss her ... alive ... It was the first ... time, daroga, the first ... time I ever kissed a woman ... Yes, alive ... I kissed her alive ... and she looked as beautiful as if she had been dead!"
Profile Image for Rochelle ✿.
103 reviews123 followers
September 6, 2021
For a tale with such a gloomy and sinister background and such a cruel villain at its center, The Phantom of the Opera sure was humorous. How has Tim Burton not already adapted this into a classic gothic comedy film? (Please make him make it, I would watch it endlessly)...

"He had a heart that could have held the entire empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar."

When a gala performance is held to celebrate the retirement of the two managers of the Paris Opera House, the young and talented Swedish soprano Christine Daaé fills in for Carlotta, a Spanish woman who has suddenly fallen ill. Her performance is an instant success. Backstage, Vicomte Raoul de Chagny visits Christine after the show. The two were childhood friends, and Raoul recalls his love for Christine.

A man is found hanged underneath the Opera building, the two new managers are spooked by letters with texts written in red ink, the little ballerinas are on edge because of creepy rumors, and the chandelier falls down as the Phantom lives on in the cellars beneath the premises.

"She's singing to-night to bring the chandelier down!"

That synopsis is just as dramatic as the book itself; I promise. Especially everything that the Ghost says about Christine is written in that classic I-would-die-for-you-in-a-heartbeat, everybody-hates-me-and-I-am-doomed-to-eternal-misery, you-are-the-most-divine-being-I-have-ever-laid-eyes-on way. Either you hate it, or you love it.

The beginning of this book had me hooked, the tension eased in the middle section, and then towards the end the storyline spiraled into a huge tornado of happenings. I loved how it becomes apparent that Erik's trapdoors are the only real power he has over 'real society' up there at ground level and imagining the secret passages and booby-trapped nooks of the Opera House.

"They played at hearts as other children might play at ball; only, as it was really their two hearts that they flung to and fro, they had to be very, very handy to catch them, each time, without hurting them."

The Gothic elements were incredible too. Raoul's fever dream-like moment at the cemetery was... A moment.

Though I was not convinced by the Ghost's 'villain story' and motives (nobody can convince me that ) I found that the overall setting and tone of the book was enough to drive me to rate it four stars instead of three. It's enchanting, and you don't have to be a fan of the gothic to be able to appreciate it.

Some have compared Christine and the O.G.'s relationship to that of Catherine and Heathcliff, but I can't agree there. The level of toxicity corresponds, yes, but Christine and the Ghost had no mutual tension while Catherine and Heathcliff certainly did. Moreover, Christine is the most innocent being I've ever read about — we can't say the same for Catherine, to say the least.

"If I am the phantom, it is because man's hatred has made me so. If I am to be saved it is because your love redeems me."

The Phantom of the Opera is, while flawed, an incredible story. Would 9/10 recommend!


Additional Notes:
- I now need to visit Palais Garnier. Apparently, that's where Leroux got his setting inspiration
- Forever screaming at that masked ball scene ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
- The musical adaptation is now on my to-watch list
Profile Image for Loretta.
319 reviews161 followers
October 22, 2019
I'm really not sure what to say about this book. Was it suppose to be a scary story about a ghost because if it was, I didn't get it. Maybe it was suppose to be a romantic love story but if it was, I didn't get it. Overall, it was pretty tedious and in the end, for me, if wasn't a scary or romantic story.
Profile Image for TheKBSeries.
20 reviews29 followers
December 31, 2008
This book changed my life...I'm so not kidding. I saw the play years before I decided to read this book. I'm so sorry that I waited so long because it was fantastic! I plan to re-read it again! It has everything in it! It's scary, creepy, romantic, sweet, sexy, dark, sad, depressing, etc. This is the third book on my list that I would recommend to anyone that i meet! (having harry potter and the twilight series at number one and two spots. haha)

W A R N I N G *MAY be a spoiler in this next paragraph*
I love the phantom! He was dark and mysterious. He was that bad guy that you always wanted to love. I do not agree with Christine Daae's choice in the end. I hate who she chose, but yes, i know...it was the better choice.

This story remains so dear to my heart. I can relate to almost every character and I truly love the phantom. His intentions were good and he had a good heart...just a bad temper and a bad reason for murder. All he wanted was Christine's love...
Profile Image for jade.
489 reviews309 followers
February 4, 2021
“all i wanted was to be loved for myself. if you loved me i should be as gentle as a lamb; and you could do anything with me that you pleased.”

early 1900s, paris. a journalist / detective has gathered together witness accounts, interviews, and newspaper articles that might provide insight in the mysterious incidents surrounding the abduction of an opera singer and the death of several opera attendants at palais garnier.

through a whole host of characters, from the opera’s directors and their assistants to the prima donnas and ballerinas, the writer attempts to enlighten the reader about the dangerous, shadowy creature at the center of it all:

the phantom of the opera.

an evil presence with the appearance of a corpse and the talents of an illusionist genius, he haunts the pages of the story like a ghost -- successfully entrapping an up-and-coming swedish soprano and driving a wedge between her and her young lover.

but to what end…?

a true gothic classic, le fantôme de l'opéra presents its reader with imagery of death and despair (torture chambers included), illusions and disappearances, and a foreboding love triangle between innocence personified, prince charming, and death incarnate.

… or should i say, a love triangle between Deserved Better, Rich Nice Guy, and Sad Incel?

© Anne Bachelier

everybody’s probably familiar with some elements of this story. if not the book, then at least the andrew lloyd webber musical.

the shortest version is this: murderous masked man attempts to violently ‘convince’ sweet young woman who thinks he’s an angel sent by her dead father to marry him. sweet young woman instead falls for stalkerish childhood friend. shenanigans (murder, torture, abduction) ensue.

one of the most interesting things about the original novel is its character work.

obviously, the phantom / erik is meant to be a monster. he’s the classic Beast, the violent and brooding villain. a misunderstood genius cast away because the world could not stand to look at him. a man whose circumstances forced him to become cruel and heartless, while all he wants is to be loved for who he truly is.

true to form in the book and all the monsters that came before him, which i love. perhaps a bit more whiny but not more so than, say, frankenstein’s creation (and tragically realistic about his situation; more on that later).

christine daaé is a somewhat naive heroine. she looks up to the phantom as her angel of music, taken in by his voice and his lessons. the story, i felt, suffers greatly because we never truly read it from her perspective -- which is a pity, because she is at the very center of it as the focal point of a pair of obsessed stalkers.

luckily, her spine is very much intact.
“i am a free agent, monsieur de chagny; you have no right to control my actions and i will ask that you desist henceforth. as for what i have done during the past fortnight, there is only one man in the world who would have the right to demand that i give him an account: my husband! well, i have no husband, and i shall never marry!”
now, as for raoul de chagny... what a disaster.

he’s meant to be the young and sweet kind of love interest as a juxtaposition to the unhinged, forbidden darkness of the phantom, but what we get is the early 1900s equivalent of the Nice Guy. i am not kidding. he cannot control himself in any way and he constantly thinks that whatever christine is doing, it is either for him (good!) or for the phantom (bad!).

he stalks her, he eavesdrops on her; the list is ENDLESS.

he even does that completely irrational thing where he calls her a whore when she doesn’t immediately respond positively to his advances. i swear to god, Nice Guys have not changed in a hundred fucking years.

raoul: “no, no! you have driven me mad! … and to think that all i ever wanted from life was to give my name to a tart from the opera! …”

raoul literally two pages later: “who was this erik that he should make christine sigh and why was the nightingale of the north feeling so sorry for erik when raoul was so unhappy?”

my takeaway? i don’t care who she is truly in love with, but christine deserves better options than Whiny Nice Guy and Dramatic Basement Dweller.

© Celine Kim

so now that we’ve got the characters out of the way, is the rest of the book actually good?

well, yes and no.

due to its serialized publishing, it’s got some hefty issues with pacing. it’s also deeply bogged down by uninteresting plot lines and characters, which easily produces an eyeroll or two whenever an interesting development gets interrupted by two idiots figuring out one of the phantom’s infernal tricks.

and then there’s the thing that the novel and the musical share in equal measure: Melodrama, baby.

grown men dazzled for pages and pages by simple sleight of hand. prima donnas never singing again after getting foiled by a ventriloquist. men in love weeping and wailing at the mere thought of their love interest not returning their feelings.

arguably the best and smartest man in the entire book getting foiled by a mirror room for god knows how long. people talking about themselves in the third person whenever they’re emotional, which is frighteningly often.

and the insta-love in this book is so insta that it’s actually accompanied by sound effects, no less.

some of that can get a tad pulpy quite fast, especially in dialogue (which is littered with dramatic dot-dot-dots and triple exclamation marks). but on the upside, it also allows for unapologetically bombastic scenes that are just top notch material.

death imagery plays a pretty big role in the narrative; erik is oftentimes described as having a skull for a face, looking like death, etc. and in first chapter, leroux even casually namedrops saint-saëns performing danse macabre at the opera -- which becomes a fantastic underlay to one of those big, bombastic scenes.

unfortunately, leroux’s prose doesn’t always match that level of big and bold. he’s very much leaning into the whole, “this is an account of true events!” sort of style, and i get why. he was originally a mystery writer, and it shows. he wants the book to seem as realistic as possible, with detailed info on palais garnier included.

but he’s telling such a dramatic story that i feel i would’ve enjoyed it more had he gone for more atmospheric, even elegant prose. [1] there’s only a few instances where he employs that, mostly with architectural descriptions and the aforementioned danse macabre scene.
“their scent filled that frozen corner of the breton winter. they were miraculous red roses which seemed to have opened that very morning, in the snow, a reminder of life among the dead, for here death was everywhere. it had spilled out on to the earth which had returned its overflowing surfeit of corpses.”
so both in terms of characters and construction, phantom can certainly leave some things to be desired.

© Celine Kim

and now for my big confession:

i think the musical had the more emotionally compelling story.

obviously, the andrew lloyd webber creation and the original novel are very different, but it is their specific difference in focus regarding the titular character that was the deciding factor for me.

in the book, erik is a constant menacing presence; a ghostly rumor, a piece of rope waiting to strangle you; a trapdoor waiting to swallow you whole. but he rarely, if ever, appears on page and actively engages with the other characters.

there are no scenes from his perspective, and we never spend any time inside his head. all we hear are secondhand accounts from others of his life and his actions.

his unmasking doesn’t so much revolve around revealing his horrendous visage, because we already know he looks like the walking dead. instead, his unmasking is very much aimed at dethroning him as this mysterious, all-powerful entity. erik might be an unhinged, ugly genius of a man -- but he is still just a man.

once christine and raoul realize this, they also realize that he can be defeated. and the writer, our eager framing device, happily starts providing the reader with all the explanations to erik’s illusions and misdirections.

the musical turns around and focuses much more on the man rather than the mystery. from the beginning, erik has a more tangible presence in the story. though he still uses lies and illusions to dazzle christine, there is no doubt that he’s human. we feel and see his anguish through song and acting.

sure, he’s still a huge asshole, but you can sympathize with him from the start. in-between his violent rages, he displays genuine tenderness, which felt a bit absent from the book because christine only off-handedly describes how lavishly he treats her in his lair.

and so, the unmasking of erik’s true appearance is much more personal; his final shame, the one thing he can’t dress up prettily with song and grandeur. and as an audience member, you feel that in your bones at that point in the musical.

in the musical, christine’s perspective also gets a lot more attention, which gives her more of a presence and a voice. you can understand why she is tempted by the phantom and in love with raoul; in the book, she’s genuinely afraid of erik and raoul is an utter douchebag.

but on the other hand, the musical sadly cuts the character of the persian / daroga entirely, who is one of the most interesting (and sane!) characters in the book.

© 25th anniversary edition at the Royal Albert Hall [2]

so where does that leave us regarding a final verdict for this book?

well, you might’ve noticed i’ve taken a more meandering approach to this review than usual. and that’s because even though i cannot deny that this novel can be seen as a pulpy, melodramatic, weirdly-paced mess, i also cannot deny that i find it inherently fascinating.

i could spend days and days comparing it to the musical. i could spend hours lamenting on the theme and the characters. as a concept, this book has existed in our shared consciousness for so long that basically anyone could attempt a well-founded analysis.

i am inexplicably fond of it despite all of its faults.

the drama and bumbling characters provide both intended and unintended humor. the fact that the writer presents us with this story makes me think about all the other ways in which it could be told; it’s just a matter of perspective, after all.

and there’s something about the inherent tragedy of a character like the phantom that just pulls on my heartstrings, even if the musical version does a better job of that than the book does.

who wouldn’t become a villain if they believed it was the only shot they had at being loved?

basically, i can sum my reaction up with this:


sorry i couldn’t be more helpful on this one. my final advice is this: don’t read it if melodrama makes you cringe.

same goes for the musical, by the way.

3.5 to 4.0 stars.

[1] i had the exact same problem with dracula: i like the idea of the semi-realistic, epistolary + interviews style, but i’m the kind of person who wants to live and breathe their gothic. think du maurier in terms of prose.

[2] with ramin karimloo as the phantom and sierra boggess as christine. re: singing john owen-jones might be my favorite, but ramin IS the phantom in terms of acting and expression. perfect blend of tender and volatile.
Profile Image for Evelyn (devours and digests words).
229 reviews505 followers
October 7, 2015

What a melodramatic book this is. Lots of swooning, lots of proclamations of love, and lots of unnecessary details that do not add anything to the plot.

'Tis where me and the ghost of the opera part ways for good. I will probably never know the original reasons as to why Erik - the ghost, the genius and the mad came to be what he is in the first place. I don't think I care much to find out either way.

All the care in the world you can give me and it will still be not enough for me to give a damn for anything or anyone in the book. Everyone in here is repulsive.  That is the main thing that made it so hard for me to get immersed into the story.

I will begin with our talented, frail Christine Daae who is in fact a brat through and through. I despise how she manipulated people into her whims - not just any people but people who actually love her and care enough to take in her shit.

"If you love me just a little, do this for me, for me who will never forget you, my dear Raoul. My life depends on it. Your life depends on it.


She pulls out the 'If you love me, you will do whatever I say' card not once nor twice and definitely not only on one person. She does this to the Opera ghost too. The gall!

The whole story went to hell when Viscount Raoul De Chagny came to visit the opera to watch Daee sing.




It all but takes one show and some fleeting childhood memories for Raoul to fall head-over-heels with the brat.  He is an idiot. A lovesick, tantrum-throwing idiot. I barely had enough tolerance left in me reading through how he flails his arms about, stomps his foot around and wail about his darling Christine! In the name of love, he comes so close to psychotic. He stalked Christine, hid out in her dressing room, eavesdrops on her, snoops around and.... how does Christine takes it all in? Perfectly normally. This is where I frowned so hard I thought my eyes might disappear into tiny slits.

Then there are the side characters who... oh my god.. made a big deal out of every-single-fucking-thing. I love some melodrama but not this much. Not with every scenes coupled with hysterical people screaming about every single thing the ghost does.

They say The Phantom of The Opera has an underlying message to it. I've discussed the book with a friend who convinced me (and spoiled me) that it is simply not worth it to finish the whole thing. What Erik does in the end is unjustifiable (killing off some people, injuring some more, threatening Christine, & kidnapping her away).

Should I pity the misogynistic bastard? NO.

You simply cannot wave off all his tortures and his murders just because he was UGLY and sad and angry at the world. How is that supposed to be justifiable? It is a wrong message through and through. Enough said.

If there are anyone out there who 'ship' both Christine and Erik / Christine and Raoul together. I am very, very worried for you. None of the romances here are even healthy enough to be supported.

With all that said, I suggest just watching the movie and getting yourself immersed in its wonderful opera songs. At least in the movie, the ghost is not martyred to be someone heroic.

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Profile Image for Vanessa J..
347 reviews603 followers
August 7, 2015

“If I am the phantom, it is because man’s hatred has made me so. If I am to be saved it is because your love redeems me.”

I believe everyone has at least heard about The Phantom of the Opera. If not for the book itself, then it may be because of the movies. I knew it was a book, and I knew there were movies, but I’ve never watched any of them, and the book I read until now.

In any case, if you’ve heard about this story, then you know it’s a tragic one – and indeed, it is.

The Phantom of the Opera is the story of Erik – the Angel of Music, the Opera Ghost, etc. – and how his love for Christine Daae gradually turns into sick obsession and madness. At the beginning, he only helps her singing improve, but then, he starts to get obsessed with her and gets jealous because his love is not corresponded, since she loves someone else. That makes him do horrible things that only get worse the more you read.

I found myself drawing parallels between this book, Frankenstein and Wuthering Heights. All of them have a hero – or rather antihero – who is not loved by anyone. In Frankenstein, it is the monster, who is hated by everyone because he’s different and not entirely human; in Wuthering Heights, it’s Heathcliff, who was abused because of his gypsy origin; and in this one, it is Erik, whom everyone abhorred because his face is not pretty.

In the three books, the abused does monstrous things because of something they want – revenge, love, you name it. All the “heroes” have a reason and some redeeming qualities, and yet, you cannot help but hate them… and then feel bad for them because they actually deserve some love in their lives.

Erik won my hatred and my pity. He was treated badly because his face was disfigured. Since his childhood, he was forced to wear a mask so he can hide his face from the eyes of the world. All he wanted was a woman that could love him for what he was and not for his looks. He thought Christine Daae was the chosen one for that, but she was not romantically interested in him, and so, he sinks into madness.

As a character, he was fascinating: Complex and flawed. The times when I’ve said I love characters like this are countless, so you should not be surprised to hear me saying I loved him… as a character, because as I said, he also won my hatred.

The tragic aspect of the story only made me love this book more. Had it been happy, it would not have felt as realistic… and to be honest, if Christine had fallen for Erik, I would just have ended up mad – I mean, he kidnapped her and killed people so he could have her. Making her fall in love with him would have completely redeemed the character and the entire novel would have gone downhill.

In the end, I didn’t forgive Erik’s actions, – just like I never forgave Frankestein’s monster (nor the scientist who created him) and Heathcliff – but I don’t hate him either. Whatever your feels towards Erik are, you have to agree The Phantom of the Opera is an absolute masterpiece.

Poor, unhappy Erik! Shall we pity him? Shall we curse him? He asked only to be “some one,” like everybody else. But he was too ugly! And he had to hide his genius OR USE IT TO PLAY TRICKS WITH, when, with an ordinary face, he would have been one of the most distinguished of mankind! He had a heart that could have held the empire of the world; and, in the end, he had to content himself with a cellar. Ah, yes, we must needs pity the Opera ghost.

Truly recommended.
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