Having a weak spot for a good Gothic tale, I've had my eye on this for a while. However, I wasn't willing to pay the extortionate prices it tends to sell for - even, sadly, the reprint. I finally found a cheap-ish one a few weeks ago, deliberated (mainly due to the previous review!), finally bought it, and have just spent a very enjoyable few days reading it. I've decided to review it mainly because I don't quite agree with the prevailing 'It's the best book ever' assessment, nor with the criticism in the last review, particularly of it being 'sexed up'.
What this book is, is a solid novel in the old-school Gothic tradition. Given that, I didn't find Christine annoying - or no more so than your typical heroine of this genre (pretty, weak, and yes, occasionally insipid, but only where the plot demands it...) As for being sexed up, well, I suppose it is compared to the original novel, given the disparate times in which the two were written. But only one of the three characters who is still sexually attracted to Erik after seeing his face actually acts on it; meanwhile, all three have pretty solid - if not always socially acceptable - reasons for their attraction. And actually, for a romantic novel, there was remarkably little sex involved. Most of the book deals with the terrible hardships Erik endures due to his disfigurement, and I actually thought that Kay presents this, and his resulting conflicted personality, very well.
Why not five stars, then? A lot of little reasons it's not worth going into here, ending with personal bias...only a handful of books move me to the extent that I'd call them perfect. This isn't a perfect book; but it is a very, very good one. Look out for a copy that isn't £20, buy it, and enjoy it for exactly what it is.