Rating: 3 stars
I received this digital review copy from Poisoned Pen Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of this book in any way.
Buddy read with Nana but she DNF’d it lol ¯_(ツ)_/¯
I’ve been wanting to read this book for a while, as the musical is one of my favorites (and I’m annoyingly picky about musicals, so that’s saying something) and the movie is definitely what made me the spooky aesthetic trash goblin I am today (and don’t give me hate for liking the movie lol)
But I really don’t know how to feel about this book. It really wasn’t what I expected, and until the last half, I was really enjoying it. But the last half didn’t ruin things, nor was it horrible, so I really don’t know what’s going on. I’m just gonna dump my feelings here and leave it be.
Christine really surprised me. I kinda expected her to be a piece of soggy cardboard, like Esmeralda from Hunchback, but no, she’s actually pretty legit. She behaves like a human being (at least as much as the rest of the cast behaves like human beings) and I found myself really liking her and wanting her to succeed. She definitely has her flaws, but she’s less of an idiot than her musical and film counterparts and I really appreciated that.
Raoul is just as annoying, if not infinitely more so. This dude reacts like a spoiled brat every time Christine dares do anything whatsoever without his prior approval. And he’s constantly–and I mean CONSTANTLY–judging her and assuming she’s a slut. Honestly, in the last half, he was giving me some serious Esmeralda vibes because of how whiny he was. And the insta love was only partly acceptable because there was established history behind it, but insta love is still insta love, especially when the two lacked any chemistry whatsoever. It was horrible decision versus even worse decision for poor Christine, honestly.
The Phantom, kind of like Frollo from Hunchback, was a crying mess. He’s not very spooky, not very threatening, and not really very, idk, interesting? All the mystery goes out the window, which for what is largely a mystery novel, I didn’t appreciate. He was, strangely, kind of a Gary Stu, which I really didn’t expect whatsoever. The only thing I did like about him was that he’s legitimately ugly af instead of hot on one side of his face and marginally gross on the other.
The plot was generally ok. Like I said earlier, I liked the first half a lot (and since I’m planning on writing a Phantom of the Opera retelling sometime in the future, it gave me a lot of good ideas) but the last half felt strangely rushed and like it dragged at the same time. The humorous interludes with the managers were really funny but they killed the pacing and tension, and I had a hard time imagining some of the set-pieces, especially the torture chamber. Add to that my dislike for most of the main characters, and you’ve got yourself an iffy book at best. Perhaps if it had been a bit more gothic (not necessarily gothic romance, though that would have been nice, but gothic horror) then I’d have liked it more. It promised me spooks, but it gave me a bunch of losers and a comic book villain instead.
And wtf is up with the rat-catcher??? Can anyone explain this to me??? I’m like??? So confused??????
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