Das Phantom der Oper POTO Book Club

Phantomess posted on Jul 03, 2009 at 08:04PM
All right, so there are a pile of PotO books out there, some suck, some don't. This thread is here to offer up reviews from other phans about which books are worth reading and which you should just leave alone for your own sanity's sake.

Le Fantome de l'Opera, by Gaston Leroux. THE ORIGINAL. If you haven't read this yet, go to it. Now....I'm serious. I'll wait. JustHuddy was good enough to post a link so that you can read it online FOR FREE. Ya really got no excuse with that there. So get thee hence and make with the reading dammit!

Phantom, by Susan Kay. This one generally ranks a very close #2 to the original Leroux. This, very basically, is a biography of Erik's life, sometimes from his point of view, sometimes from others. You can also see some ALW influence meandering around in there. Definitely worth reading.

Angel of the Opera, by Sam Siciliano. One of the Sherlock Homles meets the Phantom ones. This is the good one. If you can find a copy of this, absolutely pick it up! It's a fun read, though the final ending might squick a few phans. Overall it's pretty good, though.

Phantom of the Opera, by David Bischoff. This version is....interesting. I'm pretty sure Erik was smoking crack in this one. If you find it cheap in a bargain bin you can read it for gits and shiggles, but I wouldn't wander too far out of your way to read this one.

Phantom of Manhatten, by Frederick Forsyth. No! Just, no! This is what the ALW sequel was originally supposed to be based on. If I weren't so heavily against the burning of books, this particular novel would be charcoal. Really, it's that bad. Your soul will bleed. And this goes for if you're an Erik OR Raoul shipper. Takes talent to piss off both camps at once, believe me.

The Canary Trainer, by Nicholas Meyer. This is the other Phantom meets Holmes I've read. This is the kinda sucky one. Holmes is a drug addict (ok, so he actually was a little bit, but this is bad) and Erik apparently can't talk without his mask and is Really Annoying. For the love of god go for the Siciliano instead.

Phantom of Paris, by Gwenith M. Vehlow. This is glorified phan phic. I was not very impressed with it. Secondary characters would appear for one or two pages, then vanish, never to be seen again. Erik acted unrealistically, and ended up finding Jesus, which was all kinds of creepy. But that may just be the pagan in me talking, though he lost almost all of his bite. I'd give this one a miss, personally.

Journey of the Mask, by Nancy Pettengill. Yet another sequel novel. This one is all right. Basically Erik snatches Christine and hauls her off to America. New Orleans to be specific. He gets involved in the hoodoo down there, and Christine does eventually fall in love with him, mostly because he's the only familiar face in a strange new city. It's not a great piece of work, but I've definitely read worse. If you make it through the Leroux, Kay, you can put this on your list for when you need a phix.

Progeny, by Becky Meadows. Probably the best sequel you're going to find. This book follows Christian, Christine's son as he discovers the secrets about his and his family's past. It's pretty well written and actually explains where it's coming from, which can be rare in sequels. I'd say this is one that you should go ahead and read.

Music of the Night, by Suzy McKee Charnas. This is technically a short story, and it will completely piss off any and all angry feminists. The thing I remember most about this version is that there was some smut, and Erik's kind of a stubborn son of a bitch. It's ok, at least it's short. Another one that I'd only suggest grabbing if you find it in the bargain bin.

Unmasqued, Colette Gale. Uhm...yeah. This is erotica. No kiddies under the age of 18 should even THINK about buying this book. It's really kind of pathetic. It wants SO badly to have a plot of it's own it can almost taste it, but it just doesn't quite work. Another thing that annoyed me about this was that it was obviously heavily influenced by the 2004 movie. Or maybe that's for the best considering what it ended up being. Just as a warning, this book might end up ruining harp music for you for quite some time.

So there you have it. These are all the Phantom novels I've read that I can think of at the moment. Bear in mind that some of these I have not read for damn near 5-10 years. Everyone, please add to this thread. If you've read one of these yourself and have a different opinion, let everyone know. I know my tastes probably do not run the same as several of the phans on here and stuff that I wasn't that fond of someone else might absolutely adore. Hope this helps when deciding what piece of Phantomy goodness you should look into next! :)

Das Phantom der Oper 11 Antworten

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Vor mehr als einem Jahr JustHuddy said…
Great idea, Phantomess! I am currently in the process of reading Angel of the Opera, and I'll post my review on that and a couple of the other ones when I have more time.

And, once again, Leroux is right link. Can you hear it? It's calling your name. It says "Read me! Read me!".
last edited Vor mehr als einem Jahr
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phantomess said…
Shame on me, I almost forgot to throw in a few things.

Maskerade, by Terry Pratchett. Part of the Discworld series, though you needn't be familiar with the rest of the novels to enjoy this one. (Although I do recommend them. They're really fabulous.) This is more of a parody version than anything, but I really enjoyed it. It will be especially amusing to those who know the basic progression of Michael Crawford's career. I wholeheartedly suggest reading this. Especially after you've depressed yourself with the Leroux and Kay versions. It's a nice little pick-me-up. "Who writes down maniacal laughter?!"

The Complete Phantom of the Opera, by George Perry. Yes. Excellent reference book! The first portion of the book covers a brief history of the opera house, Leroux, assorted versions of the story, and a few other odds and ends. The second portion covers the stage version of the ALW, complete with some fabulous pictures, costume info, and the full original libretto of the show. A very useful source material.

Comic Books:

The Trap-Door Maker, by Pete Bregman. I'm a little blase on the artwork, but it isn't horrible. The story is quite good and ties in very nicely with the Leroux. This is a prequel about Erik's time in Persia, or the "Rosy Hours of Mazendaren" as it's referred to in the novel. Erik does seem a bit naive at points, but I suppose he was only in his late teens early twenties when he was in Persia, so I can forgive most of it. All in all a nice fresh view on the character and a worthwhile read.

Sherlock Holmes: Adventure of the Opera Ghost, by Steven Philip Jones. Obviously Kay influenced. I like the artwork on this one, though some panels can be a little busy. Watson is a little bit of a whiny bitch in my opinion, but then again I'm a cold hearted old woman. If you can find a copy for a decent price go for it. You will most likely enjoy at least the shirtless drawing of Erik in the second volume.

The Phantom of the Opera, Mitchell Perkins & Wanda Daughton. The artwork in this alone is enough to want it. Not all of the panels are gorgeous, but the ones that are make up for the 'meh' ones. It deviates from the Leroux in places, so be prepared for that. But all in all I enjoyed it.

Batman Masque, by Mike Grell. Elseworlds comic. Batman kinda starts as Raoul and ends as Erik, and then there was Two Face. And it's a ballerina. So it's kinda more Phantom-esque than anything else. If you enjoy Batman I'd go ahead and read this one, you'll probably enjoy it. Just don't expect it to stay very true to...well anything.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phantomess said…
Phantom of the Opera, by Jet. Phantom manga! Unfortunately the entire book is in Japanese as no English translation was ever released. The artwork is pretty spiffy, though. From what I can gather of the plot from just the pictures it seems to be a mix of the Leroux, ALW, and maybe a touch of Lon Chaney mixed in for good measure. Also some little girl apparently lives with Christine....or something.... If anyone who reads Japanese has read this please let me know what you think!
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phantomess said…
Tazan: Le Monstre, by Lovern Kindzierski. Another comic. Two parter. While it was kind of cool, the unanswered questions drove me NUTS. There's NO background for this version of the Phantom, not even his name. Although he does have a kick ass lair. I'm not overly thrilled with Christine's little man-toy either, but then again I rarely am. Overall I'd say this is one to pick up ONLY if you have a compulsive need for a complete collection.

Phantom of the Opera, Eternity Comics. (comic) Leroux based, starts off at the Masquerade. The Persian kinda reminds me of a tubby Lex Luthor in appearance. It's short and I can't think of a single thing that really makes it stand out among so many other versions.

And I'm also going to throw in a good word for the Essential Phantom of the Opera. It's the Leroux novel with the added bonus of a very awesome preface and annotations by Leonard Wolf. It is due to this that I have now decided that all of my gothic literature really needs to be crammed with footnotes. *is currently waiting with baited breath for two more of Wolf's annotated editions. Dracula and Jekyll and Hyde.)
Vor mehr als einem Jahr JustHuddy said…
Mind if I add one?

Letters to Erik: The Ghost's Love Story by An Wallace:
Guess what? Erik's not actually dead! Yay! And now he doesn't look as corpse-ish! And (SPOILERS)









Raoul dies! Which means Erik and Christine can get married! Happy ending for everyone. Not an awful fanfiction, but a bit fluffy. It was mildly entertaining, but nothing to really be taken seriously.
last edited Vor mehr als einem Jahr
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phantomess said…
The Phantom of the Opera, (play) by Ken Hill. Bloody. awful. melodrama! I must admit I was rather disappointed in that I didn't feel I got to hear the Phantom's (again without giving his proper name! Bad musicals, for shame!) side of things. He just kind of killed a lot of people, and was a general prick. And I wholeheartedly object to the fact that he was going to kill Christine whether she married him or not! I can't say as I was very fond of the twist with the Persian, either. It works as a farce, I suppose. But if you want something that actually DEVELOPS Erik's character beyond 'Hi, I'll be your psycho for the evening' I'd go with something else.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phantomess said…
Phantom of the Opera, (play) by Gene Taylor. Straight version, non-musical. No Angel of Music, but actually not all that bad until the end, when it just all kind of falls to hell, and I'm fairly certain Erik must have been toking hash or dropping acid.

The Pinchpenny Phantom of the Opera, (play) by Dave Reiser and Jack Sharkey. OMG hilarious! The show is done with only 4 performers and is definitely to be taken as a parody. The script made me laugh out loud several times not only from the dialouge, but the stage notes as well. And, even better, it's a musical!
Side note: David Reiser is a REALLY nice guy! I emailed him to find out about the possibility of a cast recording for this show. He was extremely prompt in getting back to me, and was even so kind as to offer to send me a demo that he and his (unfortunately late) partner recorded of the score. I would like a take a moment in appreciation for the artists who are so very kind to the phans when we come bugging them, seeking information on their work.
Huge shout-outs of love to both David, and to local (for my anyways) composer Tom Alonso for also being very cool when I emailed him about his musical version! Andrew Lloyd Webber, please take note how well these men appreciate their phans! And for any other OCD Phantom geeks out there, asking around at the source really can do wonders. :)
last edited Vor mehr als einem Jahr
Vor mehr als einem Jahr TGITPC said…
Beyond the Masque: The Untold Story of Erik and Christine: A sappy romance novel sequel that I think was based on the musical (I honestly haven't a clue). This book is an overlly-fluffy E/C fairytale ending type of book with far too much detail and not enough dialouge and conflict. After a while, it just didn't seem like Phantom anymore. So, if you want to read 500ish pages of sugar-coated blah, go ahead. For the rest of you, I say skip it.
last edited Vor mehr als einem Jahr
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Diesirae said…
hmmm
The Phantom Returns by Stefanie Cole, not one I'd recommend, seriously sappy and fluffy. It also has its fair share of Raoul-bashing. You can read it in a day, it's extremely short, and the plot is one you can find thirty times on fan fiction. Overall, it's pretty inconsequential and ignores most character flaws in Erik or Christine. Based off of the ALW musical.
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phantomess said…
mischievous
Vampires at the Opera, by Christine Prebler. Oh gods, where do I even start with this one? I bought this for the sole purpose of laughing my @ss off at it, and it certainly delivered (as well as making me want to beat my head against the wall several times). Anyhow, the basic plot is that Erik and Dracula are bestest best friends, and Erik attended Hogwar--I mean the Scholomance. The plot centers around Dracula turning up at Erik's place to discover his ol' buddy shacking up with Christine. They come up with this completely retarded plan to make Raoul go away (although there is no real Raoul bashing, so kudos on that) and Erik and Christine become vampires. Oh, did I mention this is a trashy romance novel? That means teh secks happens. A lot. And surprisingly, the Phantom is totally cool with Dracula doing Christine when he turns her. Riiiight. Then they kill Van Helsing and Dr. Seward, collect Mina (now preggers) from London, and drive Harker to become An Hero. Suddenly Dr. Jekyll is an OB/GYN for some unknown reason, and then the whole merry troupe is trying to escape back to Paris where it has been decided that it's a Really Good Idea for 3 vampires and a Mina to raise a baby in Erik's lair. Confused yet? Good! That means you don't have brain damage! If you don't take it seriously, you'll laugh your head off!
Vor mehr als einem Jahr Phangirl7 said…
Well, since I've only ever read 2 Phantom books, (working on a third,) I shall post my reviews here.

1st:
Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux- The original, the best, the one by which all other versions are measured. It seems like each time I read this, I find something new that I hadn't picked up on before. I really like that Christine was blond. (Yay, blondes! Yes, I am a natural blonde. A rare breed, nowadays.)

The Phantom Returns By Stefanie Cole- This is a really good read if you're a fan of the musical/movie, specifically the movie.

And
Phantom by Susan Kay- I'm kind of in the middle of reading this, but it's really good so far. Now I see what everyone's been going on about. This is a really great novel. You can find out a whole lot more about Erik and the people in his life than you ever could from reading the Leroux novel. I cried several times so far. I'll see how the last 2 sections affect me.