The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux is a standalone novel that was originally published as a serial in 1909. This review will be spoiler-free.
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. (Synopsis from Goodreads)
Dark. Twisted. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. Brilliant. Perfection.
“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.”
I have been a fan of this story since the first time I watched the musical. I was worried the book would not hold up to the story I already loved, but it was so good! It was hard to let go of everything I thought I knew and let myself be emersed in this version of this story. But I did and I am so glad I did.
I loved every minute of this book. This is one of those stories that I know will haunt me for the rest of my life. The depth of the emotions. The universal truths that were shared. This story is so much more than it seems at first glance. This book brought out so many emotions in me. I laughed. I cried. I gasped.
Christine. Raoul. Erik. The love triangle that beats all love triangles. For being the main love interest, we learned so little about Christine in this book, but it did not take away from the story. I think learning more about her actually would have taken away from the story. Raoul is an honorable man, who loves so deeply. He has loved Christine since he was a child and would have done anything for her.
And then there is Erik. My poor Erik! I know, I know. He is the villain. He is the monster. But I still love him so. He is broken and unloved. All he wanted was for someone to love him. While his actions were wrong and Christine deserved to be treated better, my heart goes out to Erik. I have loved him since I was a child and still cannot say a bad word against him.
“All I wanted was to be loved for myself.”
I think the only negative thing I can say about this book is that there were so many tears. I feel like the characters were always crying. Between the three main characters, there were more tears in this book than I thought acceptable.
Overall, I loved the book just as much as I love the musical. And was NOT disappointed in the slightest. I gave it 5 out of 5 stars and HIGHLY recommend it to everyone who loves the musical and everyone who loves classics.