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The Phantom of Manhattan is the sequel to the beloved classic The Phantom of the Opera albeit written by a different author.
This book brought to you by Fredrick Forsyth who has enjoyed very limited fame for his contributions to the world of books.
The story follows up on the disappearance of The Phantom, his work on his very own opera house in New York city and his endeavours to lure Christine Daae, the diva of the Opera he fell in love with back in Paris.
The book flickers around from different points of view and places, slowly pulling the pieces of the puzzle together and although this is quite effective in keeping the mysterious air of The Phantom going through most of the book, it also leaves the the other characters underdeveloped and barely much more than a visual appearance in the readers mind.
At base level the idea of the storyline is fairly good but it lacks depth which I have personally put down to the lack of knowledge about the characters.
I found the story knitting together in a predictable fashion and nothing really came as a surprise and there were not twists which I weren't expecting, including the ending which was also a disappointing chain of events.
I think any fans of The Phantom of the Opera would find this an appalling attempted at a sequel, I know I do and I haven't even read the original yet.
I wouldn't recommend this book, and I certainly wouldn't pay the RRP for it.
The front cover says it's "the compelling and haunting sequel to 'The Phantom of the Opera'." What utter rubbish! This book is neither compelling nor haunting!
As you can guess, I didn't enjoy this book at all! It took me only 2 hours to read and now I wish to burn the wretched thing!
And this is the book that 'Love Never Dies' the musical sequel by Andrew Lloyd-Webber is loosely based on...oh dear oh dear! As I'm seeing LND this year I thought I'd better read the book, now I wish I hadn't! I want to scrub it from my memory!
The blurb says:
"After his failed attempt to kidnap his beloved Christine, the beautiful young opera singer, and a harrowing escape from the hands of an angry mob at the Paris Opera House, the Phantom was never seen again. Until now...
In 'The Phantom of Manhattan', we learn of his daring journey to New York where he has begun life anew as a lonely, secretive and wealthy figure.
Unseen, he watches over all as he plots his crowning achievement - the creation of the world's greatest and most glittering opera house - a grand palace that will set the stage for a fateful reunion with Christine, now a world-famous and celebrated diva. The final act in this haunting tale of unrequited love and obsession results in an explosive culmination of triumph and tragedy."
The book starts with a long preface where Forsyth basically says that the original book by Gaston Leroux was crap and badly written. He says it was clearly a work of fiction but then goes on to contradict himself by discussing how and where Leroux got his 'facts' and why they were so wrong!
And Forsyth certainly shouldn't comment on other people's writing skills, his is appalling! To me the book read like a children's book with a few long and complicated words thrown in here and there (and often repeated in quick succession like he doesn't own a thesaurus!), and he describes things which really aren't important. For example, he gives the complete history of one character which really isn't necessary for any of the plot. And we also get to read two and half pages of a Latin lesson, Yawnsville!
Each chapter is written from a different characters point of view, we even get a few chapters from Erik Mulheim, the Phantom himself! Although he's nothing like I expected the Phantom to be, he seems very 'matter of fact' and not the tortured soul you'd think he'd be.
The story overall just seems very unrealistic, and if you think the book sounds awful so far, I haven't even mentioned the stupid devil-worship parts or the conversations with God! Darius, Erik's servant, worships a money demon called Mammon. I thought I could just ignore this chapter as a hashish hallucination but when I reached the chapter where a priest has an actual conversation with God I thought Forsyth must've been the one on the hashish!
I'm just so glad Sir Lloyd-Webber only used this book to inspire his new musical and didn't just use the story as it is!
I must admit I'm a bit of an obsessive Phan (Phantom fan) and I really dislike what Forsyth has done with the characters but even if was wasn't a Phan I'd still hate this book, I really don't understand how such rubbish got published! Avoid like the plague!
However if you choose to ignore my review, you can buy this book from Amazon for only 1p (used)! The RRP is £5.99 for the paperback. ISBN: 0552147192.