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review 2020-05-10 20:55
The Doom of the Haunted Opera, Lewis and Rose Rita #6 by John Bellairs and Brad Stickland
Doom of the Haunted Opera - Brad Strickland,John Bellairs

Brad Strickland finished this based on an outline left by John Bellairs after his death. It features a lot of classic Bellairs' charm and my personal favorite of Edward Gorey's artwork for the series - the back cover features Lewis' nightmare where headless Opera patrons surround him and Rose Rita. Strickland does a remarkable job here.


Doing research for a local history project brings Lewis and Rose Rita to the abandoned New Zebedee Opera House located above the Feed & Seed downtown. There, Lewis discovers some sheet music making up a lost opera, "The Day of Doom", hidden inside a piano and runs off with it. This is despite a ghost warning him of he who would be "King of the Dead". Rose Rita is surprisingly skeptical about the ghost, even when Lewis challenges her on the weird shit they've been through together and apart over the last couple of years.


It tuns out that the pages Lewis rescued were hidden from the sinister Henry Vanderhelm to prevent the opera from being performed. It makes up a grand spell that could enslave the dead and doom the living. Unfortunately, New Zebedee has been cut off from the outside world and the adults have already been taken in by the spell of the Opera. Without Uncle Jonathan or Mrs. Zimmerman and with the other New Zebedee magicians vanished, what can two plucky kids do?


As I said, Strickland does a good job here. He expands a little on the world of New Zebedee and attempts to explain why so much weird goings-on focus on their small Michigan town. I liked the inclusion of more witches and magicians as well. This was spooky and dosed with a little satire of high-brow culture.


Lewis & Rose Rita


Next: 'The Specter from the Magician's Museum'


Previous: 'The Vengeance of the Witch-Finder'

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review 2019-10-28 13:24
Apparently I Am Not Fond of Phantoms
The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.


I tried very hard to get through this book and was very relieved to get to the last page. I didn't enjoy this at all and thought the melodramatic "Phantom" was awful and the love triangle between him, his love Christine and Christine's love Raoul was a bit much for me. I have to say the main reason why I gave this 2 stars was that Leroux definitely captures the best parts of the Gothic genre. We have a dark and haunted opera house and within it hidden catacombs. We have a dark mysterious stranger. We have the heroine who is in fear for her life. Other than that though I found myself bored while reading. I now know why I always was hesitant to go and see this musical with friends. 


"The Phantom of the Opera" has Leroux writing this book as if this was a real story. From there we have the first tales of something sinister watching the young women who are performing at the opera house. A man is found hung and the opera ghost (as he is known) is blamed. And while this is going on the story also focused on (in the same paragraphs) that a relatively unknown singer Christine, has suddenly shown that she is a formidable singer and everyone is wondering where she was hiding her talent. Leroux mentions some performances that I am completely blanking on here, but suffice it to say Christine is now being heralded as one of the best singers ever. And then Leroux throws in another character, Raoul who watches Christine perform and is all, hey I used to play with her as a kid. Yeah this is just a long and winding way to say that we now have the opera ghost who we find out is a man named Erik, Christine, and Raoul all introduced. From there the story jumps into tales of love and obsession and how Erik came to be there. 


I don't like love triangles since that always seems to me to be an easy way to write a romance. Oh there's a young woman who is seemingly perfect and now she must choose between two uber perfect men.


Well in this case, one man who is obsessed with Christine to the point he's cool with murdering others and then forcing her to stay with him. 


And then we have Raoul, who honestly didn't do a thing for me.


I found Christine to be beyond naive though and her flip flopping about Erik just got to be too much for me. The man is threatening to keep her with him always and force her to marry him. That's not even a little bit of love. And how dumb was she that she didn't know who her "angel" was and who the phantom was? I could not get over that. 



There are other characters in this one, actually a lot, but no one really stands out to me. I found myself going through the motions to just finish this to get done. 

The writing was pretty stilted and I think that was probably due to the translations though. I always end up feeling confused if I read a novel that has been translated, and this one definitely had me wondering if that is the word or dialogue that Leroux originally met. Also I have to wonder if Leroux wanted readers to loathe Erik or what. I know I did. 


The flow was bad in this one. There just needed to be some tighter editing. This is over 300 pages and I literally felt each page. Usually I can fly through a read like this, but this whole book took ages (Thursday through last night) for me to finish. I ended up reading other books to just break this one up. 


The ending was a foregone conclusion and I was just glad to be done. 



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text 2019-10-24 17:20
Reading progress update: I've read 5%.
The Phantom of the Opera - Gaston Leroux

I started this book this morning and then my Kindle died. I should probably take that as a sign. So far not that interested in the characters going on about a "ghost." There's a man found hung and there's claims the ghost did it.


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review 2019-09-28 22:50
Velocity Weapon by Megan E. O'Keefe - My Thoughts
Velocity Weapon - Megan E O'Keefe

Wow, wow, wow! 

There's not a lot I can say about this book without giving away all the delicious twists and turns, do you'll just have to believe me when I say what starts off as an interesting interstellar tale turns into a rollercoaster ride of epic proportions just shy of halfway through. 

I loved the characters.  Sanda is an excellent main character as is her brother Biran, I enjoyed getting to know both of them and I'm pretty sure there's more to learn in the future.  I seen this book called twisty, but let me tell you, it's UBER twisty and I was just hanging on for dear life.

One of the subplots seemed incredibly out of place and I had no idea how it fit in to the main story... and to be honest, I don't think I fully get it even now, but I'm ready to find out.  *LOL* 

Look, I enjoyed the hell out of this book and recommend it to anyone who likes space adventure.  There's a cliffhanger at the end, of course, the whole damned book is filled with them!  But that's okay!  And it's killing me that I don't know when the next book is coming out!!

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review 2019-06-22 12:01
Eurovision in Space
Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente

So exactly what it says, the Eurovision in Space only the first time you enter you have to not place last so your species survives. It's a bit twisted and idea driven but very interesting.


It's not a bad read but I'm not sure it's a Hugo worthy read.


Part of the Hugo read.  I now have read half of the nominees.  Two require I read others first and are part of the series nominees and the other is The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal.

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