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.