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Phantom Paperback – 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 565 customer reviews

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Paperback, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Retelling and expanding upon a well known and beloved classic is risky business, but Kay acquits herself with brio in this retelling of Gaston Leroux's 1911 tale, The Phantom of the Opera . In a powerful and moving tour de force (the American debut for this British writer whose first novel, Legacy , won the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize and the Betty Trask Award), she adds a new depth and perspective, moving well beyond the familiar boundaries of the story. This version begins with the birth of the horribly disfigured Erik and continues into the years following his doomed romance with Christine, ending in an unexpected and triumphant redemption. The narrative encompasses Erik's disastrous formative years with his mother, his caged existence among a gypsy tribe and a period of relative happiness in Rome, where he perfects his skills as an architect and builder. He goes to Persia, where he masters his talent for torture and murder and, finally, he is involved in the construction of the Paris Opera House--and the creation of his labyrinthine world beneath that structure. Haunting and unforgettable, this is a book to be savored, a sensual and often poetic exploration of a man's internal conflict between good and evil and of a search for love amidst darkness and despair. BOMC and QPB featured alternates.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA--Phantom of the Opera fans no longer need to ponder what was in Erik's past, as Kay has created one for him in this deeply moving, poignant story. The terrible effects of a 19th-century Western society that could not accept someone different, combined with the horrible influence of drugs, prevent anyone from knowing Erik, an extremely gifted musician, architect, and magician. His character is especially well drawn in his dual roles of adored hero and hated villain. The book looks long, but pacing is rapid. The author's talent for weaving a complex tale is apparent, as the first-person narrator changes from section to section with the climaxing chapter alternating between Erik and Christine. This shows the development of Erik's character from his own point-of-view as well as that of other significant people in his life. This sad, but beautiful, novel will be especially popular with students who have enjoyed the current musical .
-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 468 pages
  • Publisher: Llumina Stars (2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933626046
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933626048
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (565 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Carolyn Christy on May 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"The most exquisite kind of love is the kind you do not admit even to yourself!"
PHANTOM by Susan Kay is an outstanding, powerful read. I can't say enough of this book. I've recently read it AGAIN and had to write a review. It was absolutely outstanding!
This is the story of the Phantom of the Opera but entirely different from Gaston Leroux's classic. This incredible story adds new depth and seering emotion into this well-known story. The Phantom exudes such despair and longing for Christine. He has never known gentleness in his life. Has never known what it is to love. Until that fateful day he hears an angelic voice reaching out to him.
He becomes obsessed with Christine after hearing her sing. The purity of her voice awakens all of his tortured emotions. Utterly mad with wanting her, he devises any and all means necessary to lure her into his world. A world filled with despair, anguish and madness. . .
This story is absolutely haunting. It filled me with such sadness that Erik believed himself so unworthy. He believes that there is no woman who could ever look at him with love especially being so hideously disfigured. Christine offers him salvation and tries to draw him out of his world of madness. Yet, Erik is so unwilling to believe . . .
Grab yourself a copy and be prepared to be swept away. You will savor this powerful story over and over.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is my favorite book and has been for many years. However, the kindle edition is riddled with all sorts of typos because someone didn't copy-edit after the scanning machine went through. One can read it, don't get me wrong, and most of the time it doesn't interfere with the reading experience. However there were some places where I was absolutely astonished that this passed through the editing stage. I would advise Amazon to review this edition because unless a book is free this level of error is unacceptable. 5 stars for the story, 1 for the orthography.
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Format: Paperback
Phantom is a magnificent book which gives a wonderful new depth and bredth to the POTO story and completely outshines the rather shallow and clunky original book by Leroux. The original Erik is a pathetic "monster" who grovels, wails and kills when he can't get his own way, only to be redeemed at the end of the book by a change of heart which is totally out of character and unconvincing. Kay gives us a real man instead of a "monster", a man whose whole life is shaped by his hideous disfigurement, a man struggling internally between good and bad whose ultimate redemption at the end of the story is both convincing and deserved.

Enough has been said by hundreds of other reviewers about the compelling nature of Kay's back-story for Erik's life for me to add to it at any great length other than to say it is truly riveting stuff. But for me the story reaches its greatest heights when the book merges with the original storyline. Kay's exploration of the ambiguous relationship between Christine and Erik is absolutely stunning. For one thing we have a Christine who actually makes some sense as a realistic character. We understand exactly how the fragility of her own personality led her to fall under the Phantom's influence and how the deeply damaged Erik is devastated by his desire for her vulnerable beauty. This vulnerabilty is the key to their relationship and Christine is weak for one very good reason. It is absurd to imagine a woman with any real spunk believing in the Angel of Music in the first place, let alone allowing herself to be sucked into to such a dangerous mess. The problem with Leroux's Christine is that she is simply not a very convincing character;her behaviour is dictated by the plot at every turn and therefore riddled with howling absurdities.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Susan Kay is one of the most inspired authors to ever grace the profession of writing. Her authorship is poignant and spellbinding, from the first few moments of a mother's horror in seeing her child's twisted, distorted, ghastly face, on through our terrible seat as a spectator through Erik's demented childhood through his adult life... and finally, as the "Opera Ghost" in the black chambers of the Paris Opera House. The book is very well written but let readers be forewarned that it is not without its distortions... it is often sensual, violent, and wrought with profane language... although the story is enough to captivate even the most straight-willed reader.
I hardly ever read pastiches by a rule -- most twist and demolish even the most formidable characters in literature -- but I was well pleased with this one, despite its minor flaws. My only complaint lies in the Opera House sequences itself. The author spins a magnificently horrifying and tear-jerking tale of Erik's childhood up until the point when he meets Christine, but then the reader often stumbles along through the final chapters. There are moments of brilliance, but I disliked the ending intensely.
In conclusion, it is a gorgeous story and if you tread further into the world of "Phantom," you will find yourself often reduced to tears for this poor creature known as a "living corpse." I was unable to put it down -- and was up well past midnight reading. But whatever you do... bring a Kleenex along. You will never, ever view Erik "The Opera Ghost" in the same way again.
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