Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Review - The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

*This is a sponsored review. All opinions are 100% mine.

Why is it some so many people don't know the musical "The Phantom of the Opera" is based on the Gothic horror story Le Fantôme de l'Opéra by French author Gaston Leroux?

Originally, Le Fantôme de l'Opéra (translated as The Phantom of the Opera) was published as a serial from September 23, 1909, to January 8, 1910 in the French newspaper Le Gaulois. It was published in volume form in March 1910. The book has been reprinted many times over the last century. There have even been several retelling and sequels written by other authors. Also, there have been many stage, radio, film, and television adaptations, including the classic silent film starring Lon Chaney, Sr., and 1962's Hammer Horror version.

Now available from Poisoned Pen Press (an imprint of Sourcebooks) is a new reissue of The Phantom of the Opera, which is this first release in"The Haunted Library of Horror Classics" series presented by the Horror Writer's Association, a non-profit organization of writers and publishing professionals. The editors of this edition is by Eric J. Guignard and Leslie S. Klinger, and features a short introduction by Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author Nancy Holder.

FYI: The following is my condensed synopsis of The Phantom of the Opera. I left out plenty of details so I wouldn't spoil the book for anyone.

Set in Paris in 1880, the classic tale centers around the Palais Garnier opera house, which is said to be haunted by the Opera Ghost. When the leading opera singer, Carlotta, becomes ill, newcomer Christine Daaé steps in as her replacement. The audience loves her performance, including Vicomte Raoul de Chagny, an old childhood friend who has feelings for her.

To make a long story short, Christine has a secret  — she has a tutor ― the Opera Ghost!

Yep, it seems the Opera Ghost (a.k.a. The Phantom) has been talking to Christine through the walls. She has never seen him in person, and there's a reason for that ― he's disfigured. (Like you didn't already know that!)

There's a love triangle here between Raoul, Christine, and The Phantom, whose real name is Erik. The Phantom becomes jealous and kidnaps Christine during the production of Faust, which leads to a night of unspeakable horror.

Final Thoughts

Upon reading this new edition, I wasn't aware of how many book lovers haven't read Gaston Leroux's classic Gothic tale. It seems everyone is aware of the Broadway musical but not the original story that inspired it.

My first introduction to "The Phantom" was when my mother bought a kid's version of the story when I was in elementary school. I loved reading it, though, sadly, the book vanished long ago. I recall dressing up as "The Phantom" for Halloween in either the second or third grade. It wasn't until I was in high school that I read the original book for the very first time, and this was way after I had seen many of the horror film adaptations.

The Haunted Library of Horror Classics is a lovely new edition, featuring a haunting cover design and a short but well-written introduction by Nancy Holder. The back of the edition features "The Paris Opera House," which is the original publisher's notes from the 1911 American edition; "Haunted Library Afterward" by Lisa Morton, president of the Horror Writer's Association; and "Suggested Questions for Classroom Use."

The Phantom of the Opera is one of the greatest horror stories ever written. If you haven't already read the book, then I highly recommend that you do so, especially if you love horror.

The next titles being released in "The Haunted Library of Horror Classics" series are The Beetle by Richard Marsh (April 2020) and Vathek by William Beckford (August 2020). 

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