Review: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

The Phantom of the Opera
Gaston Leroux

Harper Perennial (1911)
360 pages
Classic / Mystery / Drama

Purchase it from Amazon here

My first exposure to The Phantom of the Opera was through the stage musical when I was in junior high.  It was big and loud and bombastic.  I loved the music and have listened to the original Broadway cast recording countless of times since then.  I didn’t, however, remember much of the plot.  There was a dude with a mask… was he magic or was he human?  Did this all end badly for everyone or was there a happy ending?  I honestly couldn’t remember, so I still felt like I was going on a twisty, turn-y ride by listening to the source material by Gaston Leroux.  Though I did constantly wait for them to break out into song.

I think most would be familiar with the basic idea behind The Phantom of the Opera, either through exposure to the musical, the 2004 movie adaptation with Gerard Butler or through general cultural osmosis.  There’s this disfigured guy who wears a mask and lives under the Paris opera house, obsessing over a rising star who he has taken under his wing to train as a singer.  Disfigured guy gets posessive, steals rising star away, rising star’s boyfriend gets involved, they all break out into song, and things get messy.  All the while the managers and staff of the opera house believe they’re being haunted by a mischievous and violent ghost, which is really the disfigured guy.

Four elements of the book version surprised me:  It’s told in the form of a case study of a journalist researching the mysterious happenings at the opera house many decades later.  Christine – the previously mentioned rising star – and her obsessive (and drama queen) boyfriend Raul are only around 18.  All the men in this story cry a lot.  And most surprisingly the “Opera Ghost” (otherwise known as Eric) gets a full and complete background story. 

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Other 2012 Reader Challenges #3: The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Book Challenge Hosted by Booking In Heels

Time for Reader Challenge #3!  I'm really excited about this one because it's something I've wanted to do for a long time - read books with the characters that form The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel (I pretend the movie doesn't exist).  Luckily this will match up pretty well with the Back to the Classics challenge I posted about on Saturday and another challenge I will be posting about later. 

This challenge is hosted by Hanna at Booking in Heels and I think it's an awesome idea.

The Challenge: To read a book featuring each of the nine characters from The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel.  It ends up being a total of nine books for the whole challenge.

The Rules:

- Read the nine books between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2012

- Write a review for each book, either on a blog, Goodreads, Amazon or some other site that accepts reviews

- Post links to the reviews on the relevant character page on Booking in Heels (to be posted at the first of the year)

The Books:

Allan Quatermain - King Solomon's Mines by H. Rider Haggard

Mina Harker - Dracula by Bram Stoker

Captain Nemo - 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Tom Sawyer - The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Dorian Gray - The Portrait of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Rodney Skinner (who is a replacement for the main character of) - The Invisible Man by HG Wells

The Phantom - The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

James Moriarty - The Final Problem by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


And if you're taking part in the Working for the Mandroid 2012 Sci-Fi Reader Challenge, there's a couple of titles that could easily cover a category in that challenge as well. *coughmadscientistcough*