Sunday, April 15, 2012

On My Bookshelves #24: Phantom, by Susan Kay

My Sunday book meme
highlights books that I own,
but have somehow never gotten to,
as well as those wonderful books
I would love to re-read!!

Here's my pick for this week,
which I've been wanting
to re-read!

Hardcover, 458 pages
Llumina Stars
October 1, 2005
(first published 1990)
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance,
Gothic Fiction, Literary Fiction
Romantic Novel of the Year Award,

From the Amazon Synopsis

In a powerful and moving tour de force (the American debut for this British writer whose first novel, Legacy , won the Georgette Heyer Historical Novel Prize and the Betty Trask Award), she adds a new depth and perspective, moving well beyond the familiar boundaries of the story. This version begins with the birth of the horribly disfigured Erik and continues into the years following his doomed romance with Christine, ending in an unexpected and triumphant redemption.

Susan Kay
(1953 - )

I have been obsessed with Erik, The Phantom of the Opera, since I saw the 2004 film version of Lloyd Webber's musical!  However, when I read the original novel, penned by the French 19th-century writer, Gaston Leroux, I was terribly disappointed...  Kay does a much better job than the original author, as I happily found out when I read her own version!   Unfortunately, the book was out of print in 2004, which is when I first found out about it.  I finally bought a copy for $30.00, from Amazon in Canada!  (And it was a mass market paperback, too...)  Then, the following year,Llumina Press released it, and I was able to get the hardcover for $20.00, plus shipping and handling.  (The price has since gone up, though.)  If you've never read this book, I urge you to do so!!

Believe me, Kay tells a far more compelling story than Leroux ever did!!!   It's very unusual for the retelling of a classic to be even better than the original, but that's exactly what happened with this book, in my honest opinion.   Kay makes Erik an emotionally troubled, suffering character, instead of the monster Leroux depicts him as.

If you're only familiar with the original novel, and would like to see the difference between it and this masterful retelling, be sure to compare the two!  I'm confident you'll agree that Susan Kay is a far better writer than Gaston Leroux! 

Here's the Goodreads link to the original novel:

Here's a link for the author:


  1. hola amiga! i've had a paperback copy of this book for years. i found it in a used bookstore and it was on sale for .50 cents! can you imagine that? i never even knew it was out of print. i was so lucky to have it at such a low price. this book is certainly one of the best books i have ever read on the Phantom.

    1. Hey, Ao!! Oh, lucky you!! When I first discovered this book and tried to buy it, I found out, to my chagrin, that it was out of print. I entered a few auctions on eBay, and the prices were incredible!! I kept getting outbid... Right after I had finally acquired my used paperback copy, I came across the announcement -- online -- that it was being published again! In fact, the publisher even held a contest for the cover art! I LOVE the cover that was finally chosen! The paperback cover is even prettier -- it's a trade paperback, too -- but I wanted the hardcover.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, mi amigo!! : )

  2. This book looks interesting!

    Just wanted to let you know I got my book, Masquerade, today and its so beautiful! I can't wait to read it!

    1. Hi, there! Oh, you should read it!! You'll really enjoy it!!

      And you got your copy of "Masquerade"!! YAY!!!! I know you'll LOVE it!! Maybe you'll decide to participate in the read-along, too. Thanks for letting me know!! : )


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