Friday, August 27, 2010

Book Review: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

Description (from Goodreads):
When the new managers of the Paris Opera House ignore their predecessors' warnings about the hideous 'Opera ghost' stalking the theatre, it is a fatal mistake. Tortured by unrequited love for the beautiful young singer Christine Daae, the mysterious figure living in the depths beneath them has been awaiting his chance to strike. And when Christine suddenly disappears after a triumphant singing performance, it becomes clear that the phantom's time has come. Filled with colour and theatrical spectacle, this thrilling gothic tale has enthralled readers with its mystery, eerie suspense and tragic story of love turned into deadly obsession.

My thoughts:
I was on 8th grade when we watched clips of the 21st century movie version of The Phantom of the Opera at my music class. I right away fell in love with the music, the wonderful costumes and the love story, and I knew that I would have to see the movie as a whole.

My mother bought me the special edition of the movie with 3 DVDs. I cannot even remember how many times I've watched the movie. When I saw this book in the library, I knew that I have to read it. I've read this book twice now, once in Finnish years ago, and now recently in English. I am so happy I bought my own copy of it since this is definitely one of those books I want to go back to. 

I read some reviews of this novel from Goodreads and many of them say that the movie is far better than the novel. I must disagree with this. The novel is a lot more complex with captivating scenes and full of suspense. 

The novel tells a story of 'opera ghost' who roamed under the Opera House at Paris during the 1800s. The ghost, Erik, falls in love with one of the girls from the opera, Christine Daae. Christine is in love with Raoul de Chagny. Erik, Christine and Raoul form a love triangle, which in this novel works out very well.

In the movie version Raoul is portrayed as very heroic character. The novel by Leroux is mostly told from the point of view of Raoul, who is a total "weenie". He cries a lot and time to time it feels like he is a character from a soap opera. At some parts, you just feel embarassed for him. The Phantom, on the other hand, is very interesting character. He is very intelligent and probably because of that catched my attention. While reading this novel I right away picked the Ghost to be my favorite character. While watching the movie I really like Raoul, but in this novel he is one of the most annoying things in the novel as a whole. 

The epilogue of this novel is very interesting since it tells about the history of the phantom. Even though it is pretty long, it is definitely read worthy. Especially the last third of the novel is filled with suspense and the end made me cry. For the fans of the musical this is a great read since it opens up the history of the characters by telling how Christine came to the opera, how Phantom constructed his underground living etc. 

The Phantom of the Opera is a great suspense story filled with love and passion. I really recommend it to everyone, especially to the fans of the musical.


  1. This is a great review! This is actually my favourite novel and I agree with you - although the movie is great, the novel is far more complex and deep. I just love what you said about Raoul - that he's a weenie, hehe. I couldn't agree more!;) I also love the musical, it's epic.

  2. Irena, have you seen the musical in theatre? I really want to see it, it almost went to see it the last time I was in London, but then I decided not to since I only had like one night of free time in there and I wanted to spend it with my friends.

  3. I wondered when I read those reviews on Goodreads if those people might have liked the book better if they had read it before they saw the movie. Your review certainly has me rethinking my position about not reading the book. Adding it back to the wish list!


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