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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantastic! A truly amazing achievement!
Susan Kay has created a masterpiece. She tells Erik's story with surprising originality yet retains all the integrity of Leroux's original novel. Though Leroux's novel is a masterpiece in itself, there is always the sense that he could have done so much more, a truly amazing lifestory lying there waiting to be told if only someone had the patience, skill and love to do...
Published on 4 May 2003

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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Phantom
Phantom by Susan Kay is an intriguing read.

Kay maps out the life of Erik (the Phantom of the Opera) from beginning to end, using narrative's from different characters perspective.

It is a very interesting, vibrant novel, however:

Basically, it is a biographical sexed up account of a character from early literature. This is not an entirely...
Published on 26 July 2006 by A. Dobbs


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantastic! A truly amazing achievement!, 4 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Hardcover)
Susan Kay has created a masterpiece. She tells Erik's story with surprising originality yet retains all the integrity of Leroux's original novel. Though Leroux's novel is a masterpiece in itself, there is always the sense that he could have done so much more, a truly amazing lifestory lying there waiting to be told if only someone had the patience, skill and love to do it. Kay has taken on this task and created one of the best novels I have ever read. It is clear throughout that she is passionate about the Phantom, as many of us are, but she never lets her obvious love of the character stand in the way of the realism. We love the Phantom of our own accord, not under her instruction. Her historical insight is extraordinary and it is clear she has taken great care to preserve the integrity of every aspect of Erik's life.
A truly great novel by all standards. Why it has not been reprinted I will never know.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, Solid Gothic, 13 Aug 2006
By 
S. Caughie "scaughie" (USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Phantom (Paperback)
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.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow, 25 April 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Mass Market Paperback)
One of the few books that, when I finished it, all I could say was wow. Atruly amazing, very moving piece of literature. I actually cried when Iread this. It adds much more depth to Gaston Leroux's story, and is reallyworth reading. Like the Phantom's voice, it seduces you. You have thislittle voice in your head, telling you to keep reading. I could hardly putit down. Read it, even if you're not a fan of the Phantom of the Opera.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating `could not put down` read., 19 May 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Mass Market Paperback)
Susan Kay must have put a lot of hard work into this wonderful account of the life of the phantom, I found it so good I read it again and again, it is set out in individual character chapters, so you can choose your favourites when you have some spare time. There is a lot of research into places that add to the enjoyment, if, like me, you like to really picture where the action takes place. Be prepared to fall for the phantom all over again as you follow his life from birth with pity , anger, respect for his talent, and a whole gamut of feelings. Susan Kay`s phantom, Erik, is well travelled, self educated, talented, mysterious and imperious. At the same time,he is lonely and searching for the one thing that can make his dreams come true. A great book for real Phantom fans.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The MOST romantic book that I have ever read!, 1 April 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Mass Market Paperback)
This book evoked so much emotion in me and I rate it along with some of the most famous romantic movies. Susan Kay was able make me feel what the characters were feeling, with such ease. I cried when the book was finished - I just didn't want it to end. Having seen the The Phantom of the Opera, and hearing Andrew Lloyd Webber's music, made the book that much more real, as I was able to feel and imagine so much more vividly, this beautiful story. The book encompasses his life, from birth to death and it brings him to life and shows the beautiful person he was. I recommend this book whenever I can, and I thought it interesting that it was strongly recommended to myself by a man.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantom is no ghost of a story, 12 Jun 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Mass Market Paperback)
When I read this book for the first time, it was like all my prayers for the perfect Phantom of the Opera novel were being answered. In my opinion, this spectacular piece of fiction far surpasses the original by Gaston Leroux. It answered questions that original had left unanswered and it touched me very deeply. The depth and intensity of the characters was amazing and it's a wonder that Kay isn't a very well known author. From the very first page you will not be able to stop reading. A definate suggestion for all Phantom of the Opera fans.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phantomfans: this is your "holy grail" in Phantom literature, 8 Dec 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Paperback)
OK...where to begin.....
Words cannot express my feelings for this book! Though not perfectly sticking to the original novel, (Ms. Kay gets off the track here and there in regards to certain aspects of Erik...)she gives an absolutely fantastic, realistic painting of Erik's life before his Paris Opera days. I loved this book all the way up to the Counterpoint.... where Erik meets Christine...The last bit of the book we could have surely done without! Different from Leroux's original novel, Christine is even more annoying than what she is in Leroux (and dark haired as she is in the ALW play. She's supposed to be blonde!). Like I said...we could have just stopped at the chapter before Christine enters the picture.
If you have not gotten the chance to read this book....pay whatever it takes to get a copy! I consider myself a "Leroux purist" when it comes to The Phantom (I shudder at ALW's version...as he really does an injustice with Erik and has millions of people believing that HIS Phantom is THE Phantom. Please!) but....I love Kay's version at times. If you are a true Phantom Phan, then you would have this book in your private collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars magnificant! a thrilling, whirling, maddening opus!, 7 Sep 1996
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Mass Market Paperback)
Last year, I went to see "Phantom of the Opera," and loved it. I asked a friend to pick me up a copy of the original Leroux novel in a sort of IOU fashion at a large bookstore she was going to that day. She brought this book back, due to Leroux's novel being out of stock. And I read it- and read it again, and was enchanted twice.
"Phantom" is based on Gaston Leroux's novel about a young woman aspiring to be a leading opera singer. One night, as she sings, the "Opera Ghost," a "Spirit" no one can ever see, hears her and falls in love with her voice, entranced with taking her to the top. His enchantment turns to obcession and love, and a dangerous game of cat and mouse at the end, due to his love for her.
Susan Kay's novel takes us down the same path, yet goes into more detail on the Phantom's previous history, and more on what went on between them during their strange love affair. Anyone who loves the Andrew Lloyd Webber masterpiece will enjoy this, or it can appeal to anyone interested in a wonderful, unique story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ!!, 2 Sep 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Phantom (Mass Market Paperback)
Phantom really gives a feeling of Erik, the Phantom's life. It lets you see him as more of a person and understand why he does things. I recomend this book to anyone, not just Phantom fans. The story is moving and wonderful. It shows a facinating character from his own eyes and the eyes of others who have known him. I love this book and think others will as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most compassionate and compelling story I have ever read, 26 Feb 2004
By 
D SAUNDERS (Doncaster, South Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
I first saw the Andrew Lloyd Webber version of the Phantom in London, about 7 months later I came accross this book. The stage show itself starts as the phantom has taken up refuge in the parisian opera house and the story goes on... As for the book, it takes you from the first breath that the so called phantom takes as he is born, to his very last words ever spoken.
The book is split into various sections where it is narrated by different people in Eriks'( the phantoms ) life. Firstly by his mother, then by Erik, then onward through his life by all the people that he ever came accoss, which gives a massive insight into how his mind is twisted beyond all human recognition.
As I read the story, I felt as one with Erik, I seemed to become part of him. I felt sorrow, joy, happiness, sadness, anxiety, but no matter what Erik did or said, I always felt that he was never to blame, that had did what he did in order to survive.
There is a counterpart to the book, and this is the part where he meets Christine in the Parisian Opera House, but the detail of their strange and compelling relationship is much more realistic and alive in the pages of the book, I laughed with them and cried with them throughout the latter stages of the story, it is one that I will never forget reading, and will continue to read as long as i can.
If you have seen the stage show, or even read Leroux's version of the book, then this is a definate must.
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