Thursday, September 16, 2010

Book Review: The Phantom Diaries by Kailin Gow

What happens to the Phantom after the tragedy at the Paris Opera House is the basis for this fantastic tale of The Phantom Diaries, loosely based on Gaston Leroux's classic, The Phantom of the Opera, but with a new tale and a modern twist. This new series for older teens and young adults is told through the eyes of 18 year-old Annette Binoche, who lands a job at the New York Metropolitan Opera House as a seamstress' assistant only to become the lead singer of the Opera House, with the help of the mysterious, yet highly-seductive Phantom. (From Goodreads)

I had pretty high hopes for this one, especially after seeing the four/five star ratings on Goodreads. I also love the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, but I'll admit I've never read the original story. Still, I was excited for the story to continue in Gow's book. I found the synopsis intriguing, and couldn't wait to pick it up. Due to my high expectations, I was a bit disappointed. There were, however, a few aspects of the book that I did enjoy.

I really enjoyed reading the last quarter of the book. The story really picked up, there was quite a bit of action/suspense, and information regarding the history of certain characters. The writing seemed to flow well in this portion of the story, and everything was paced well. I also enjoyed Gow's portrayal of Eric. She did a great job of recreating a character that many people love (love to hate, pity, etc). His manner of speaking, behavior, and emotions seemed consistent with past versions of the phantom. Plus, there was quite a good twist at end of the book.

My issues began with something that wasn't the fault of the author. I'm going to mention it here, but keep in mind it has nothing to do with the story. There were quite a few issues with editing. I can usually handle a few typos and missing punctuation, but the number of things I noticed distracted me from the story. Another issue I had was with the flow of the book, it just didn't work for me until the action picked up toward the end. I also really wanted to know more about how Annette ended up at the New York Metropolitan Opera House. There is a brief mention of how she ended up there, but I would have loved to have seen it at the start of the story.

The ending left me wondering what was going to happen to the characters, and there is a sequel in the works. Despite only getting into the story toward the end, I'm interested to know how Gow resolves the conflict she's created for Eric and Annette. Overall, this book didn't work for me, but since many people really enjoyed this one, I'm in the minority.

The Phantom Diaries
By Kailin Gow
Published by The Edge
218 Pages
Rating: C (the last quarter of the book)/D+ (the start of the book)


Andrea said...

I had a similar problem with another one of Gow's books. Much too slow in the beginning and the pacing was all wrong.

Jenny N. said...

The summary sounded very promising but I've seen mixed reviews on this one. Still one the fence about this.

Tales of Whimsy said...

Bummer! I had high hopes too. Thanks for your honest review :)

Zemira said...

This author is the worst. She will copy pretty much any popular YA book.

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