This e-book was sent to me free of charge by Netgalley in return for an honest review. Here it is:
THE PHANTOM’S APPRENTICE
by Heather Webb
I loved the Andrew Lloyd Webber show, “The Phantom of the Opera, and when we lived in the UK I think I saw it three or four times. The music still excites me when I hear it. I must admit, however, to never having read the source material – it always seemed too dauntingly thick and, well, “French”!
This is a retelling of the original story from the point of view of the heroine, Christine Daée, so we read of her background, before she joined the Paris Opéra, and how she became involved with the Phantom. It does perhaps give some less-than-interesting details, but actually I found the book engaging and it romped along at a good pace. The twists and turns, the doubts about who is actually on Christine’s side and who isn’t, the mysteries of the Opera House are all told well enough to pull the reader in. The premise of why Erik (the Phantom) becomes obsessed with Christine is a little far fetched (although I don’t know if that is in the original story) but, to be honest, the whole tale is far fetched, so the reader needs to suspend disbelief, in order to read this successfully.
The main problem for me was that some of the language that the author used jarred as being inappropriate, either in the context in which it was used, or in the fact that it was very 21st century language. I would be reading a sentence, and instead of being gripped by what was being unfolded in front of me, I was thinking “That word isn’t right…” For example, in one section of the book (and nowhere else) the author had Christine “plopping” down onto sofas – a distinctly inelegant word! She “scooted” to various places, she “slung” something at someone, and, in one section, Christine “barrelled” across a room. These are really ugly, and, in my opinion, lazy ways of describing actions, and they all really annoyed me!
However, despite this, I give the book three and a half stars stars for the fast pace, and the engaging story. It lost half a star for the language used!(However, with Netgalley there’s no half stars, in which case I give it 4) I enjoyed it more than The Mayflower Bride, but certainly not as much as Patrick Gale’s “A Place Called Winter”