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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Leroux is probably doing flip-flops in his grave w/this one, September 29, 2007
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This review is from: Unmasqued: An Erotic Novel of The Phantom of The Opera (Paperback)
The backdrop falls too close to Carlotta, the prima donna, during the dress rehearsal of the Paris Opera House's performance of Roméo et Juliette. Enraged, Carlotta storms off the set refusing to perform and the new managers, Monsieurs Richard and Moncharmin, are in a quandary. It so happens that their new patron, the Comte Philippe de Chagny and his brother are expected to attend that night's performance. Carlotta couldn't have walked out at a worse time.

But Mme Maude Giry, the head ballet instructor, suggests that they allow Christine, one of the chorus girls, to sing in Carlotta's stead as Christine has been taking lessons from a very good teacher over the past 6 months and her ability is exceptional. The managers, seemingly with no other alternative, encourage the 17-year-old ingenue to audition for them. At the conclusion of the audition, the managers smile. They are confident that young Christine Daae will be a success.

For Christine, that night's performance is a dream come true, not only for her, but for her ange as well, for he has been the one who's been instructing her in secret, although she has never seen his face. After the performance, she meets with her childhood friend, Raoul - the Comte's younger brother - who she hasn't seen since she was a little girl. He invites her to accompany him and his brother to dinner. While Christine is happy to see Raoul again and feels safe with him, she feels strangely uncomfortable with his older brother.

According to the Biographer's Note before the story begins, this is the true story of The Phantom of the Opera, as was found in the personal diaries of Christine Daae. Exactly how said biographer happened to obtain these diaries is not mentioned. While the biographer claims that she initially intended to keep the diaries private, she ultimately decided to expose them to the world "in all fairness to Christine and Erik". According to her, ever since M. Leroux had written his original novel, Erik has been unjustly "portrayed as a murderous villain, Christine as the helpless, manipulated ingenue, and the Vicomte Raoul de Chagny as the brave, love-struck swain." The author suspects this was done "in order to protect the reputation, and influence, of the Chagny family."

Without revealing the entire plot of the story - for those who may wish to read it - it turns out that Comte Philippe de Chagny is the actual villain. The where, how, and why he's the real villain I'll leave to your reading pleasure (or displeasure, as the case may be).

This is not merely another rendering of The Phantom of the Opera but it is also the erotic version of The Phantom of the Opera. I have nothing against erotica, per se, as a well-told love story with subtle erotic inferences can make for some enjoyable reading. But for me, a little bit of erotica goes a long way. As with most novels of this nature, they tend to cross the very fine line between the sensual and the sickening - and this novel does just that with the turn of a page.

Outside of two stimulating love scenes between Erik and Christine (but I will warn you, the sex is very graphic in both), the rest is just sex for the sake of sex. Christine is in a perpetual state of arousal as the three main male characters vie for her body. You see a side of Maude Giry and Carlotta that Gaston Leroux wouldn't have dared penned in his novel. The remainder of the so-called diaries would make fine fodder for the BDSM community. Needless to say, the biographer's Afterward is about as unbelievable as her Forward.

According to the same biographer, she also managed to obtain the journals of a certain Mercédès Herrera. Her next novel shall impart "a much different and accurate chronicle about what occurred during the years of Dantès' imprisonment, and what really happened when he came back to Paris as the wealthy, learned, and powerful Count of Monte Cristo." Something tells me I don't want to know.

About the Author: "Colette Gale is the pseudonym of a historical novelist."

I don't believe it.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 15, 2007 9:09:31 AM PDT
C. M. says:
The last line of your review is what's important. Collette Gale, not the true author, received the "letters" from Ms. Daae, a fictional character. Just as the letters are fiction. Just as the book is fiction. The pseudonym allows for creative license, where Gale has authenticated the letters. That's what tripped me up the first time I read the book. I was yelling "How can you authenticate letters from someone who is fictional and did not truly exist!" However, Ms. Gale is a character within the novel, just as Erik and Christine are. She is not the author, just a fictional bystander through whom we get the story.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 21, 2008 3:54:41 PM PST
Still, to disclaim Leroux in such a base way? He would and probably is spinning in his grave.

I tried reading it, and all I could get out of it was that it was more of a supped-up sex-a-holic 2004 movie version, which I have no doubt is itself making Monsieur Leroux spin in his grave.

And I know other authors who are better at writing Phantom erotica than the fictional "Ms. Gale", ones who write much better and are true to the original novel.

Posted on Jun 11, 2008 9:47:33 PM PDT
D. S. Ryelle says:
And I suppose you think "Memoirs of a Geisha" are the actual memoirs of an actual geisha?

*eye roll*
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