TITLE: The Phantom of the Opera
AUTHOR: Gaston Leroux
TRANSLATOR: David Coward
EDITION: Oxford World's Classics
"First published in French as a serial in 1909, "The Phantom of the Opera" is 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. Leroux's work, with characters ranging from the spoiled prima donna Carlotta to the mysterious Persian from Erik's past, has been immortalized by memorable adaptations. Despite this, it remains a remarkable piece of Gothic horror literature in and of itself, deeper and darker than any version that follows."
This is another one of those foreign language (French) novels that has a dozen awful translations with omissions and additions. The new translation by David Coward is supposed to be true to the original. I found no complaints with the style of the translation and the notes to be quite helpful. The story itself is a love story/Gothic horror that differs a fair amount from Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical production. Interesting and entertaining.
Series: Culture #3
I'm still not a fan of this book, although the twist at the end made me less mad this time around. It actually starts off in a fairly promising fashion, as a kind of sci-fi romp that follows this guy skilled at war and who basically hires himself out as a mercenary. Sort of.
But then the story starts to get bogged down in itself, and the two interleaved timelines become less interesting. I have to say that the whole twist hinges on a few ambiguous lines. Also that last chapter (from the "old" or background timeline) is a cheat.
I'm going to get to hash it out with my friends and complain to my heart's content so it's not all bad, right?
I'm also counting this for the "Genre: Suspense" square for the 2018 Halloween Bingo.
When We Caught Fire
It’s 1871, and Emmeline Carter is poised to take Chicago’s high society by storm. Between her father’s sudden rise to wealth and her recent engagement to Chicago’s most eligible bachelor, Emmeline has it all. But she can’t stop thinking about the life she left behind, including her childhood sweetheart, Anders Magnuson.
Fiona Byrne, Emmeline’s childhood best friend, is delighted by her friend’s sudden rise to prominence, especially since it means Fiona is free to pursue Anders herself. But when Emmeline risks everything for one final fling with Anders, Fiona feels completely betrayed.
As the summer turns to fall, the city is at a tipping point: friendships are tested, hearts are broken, and the tiniest spark might set everything ablaze.
~MY QUICKIE REVIEW~
Despite having less than likable characters (with Fiona as the exception) this was still an engrossing listen. The backdrop of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 was what made this story stand-out for me. I could see how others found this to be slow in the beginning, with its soap-opera-like feel and melodrama of the elite high society of the times, but on Audio, those parts fly by fairly quickly. Once the fire starts burning, the unceasing flames and the lives at stake make this unputdownable. The way the author takes the truth about the actual fire and plays it out with her cast of characters is quite the tale. I found this exert from here about the Great Chicago Fire.
The Chicago Fire of 1871, also called the Great Chicago Fire, burned from October 8 to October 10, 1871, and destroyed thousands of buildings, killed an estimated 300 people and caused an estimated $200 million in damages. Legend has it that a cow kicked over a lantern in a barn and started the fire, but other theories hold that humans or even a meteor might have been responsible for the event that left an area of about four miles long and almost a mile wide of the Windy City, including its business district, in ruins. Following the blaze, reconstruction efforts began quickly and spurred great economic development and population growth.
With the ending the irredeemable characters become redeemable and the love triangle that takes the center of the stage throughout this story has its inevitable outcome.
☆4.2☆STARS - GRADE=B+
~BREAKDOWN OF RATINGS~
Main Characters~ 3.8/5
Secondary Characters~ 3/5
The Feels~ 4/5
Theme or Tone~ 4/5
Flow (Writing Style)~ 4.5/5
Backdrop (World Building)~ 4.7/5
Ending~ 4.2/5 Cliffhanger~ Nah…
Book Cover~ It's incendiary…
Narration~ ☆4.5☆ for Suzanne Elise Freeman, she was perfect for this story and she switched from one pov to another quite seamlessly.
Setting~ Chicago 1871
Source~ Audiobook (Library)