I think the majority of people have at least an idea of what The Phantom of the Opera is about. It’s been made into countless movies, a musical, etc etc etc. The Paris Opera House in the 19th century is “haunted” by what everyone believes is a ghost, but is really just a disfigured man who has taken to living in the Opera House. The Opera Ghost falls in love with Christine, a soprano who sings at the Opera House, and kidnaps her, resulting in her lover, Raoul, hunting down the Phantom.
I’ve seen the musical, and I saw the movie that was an adaptation of the musical, so I went into this book knowing what to expect in the story. I found that a lot was similar to the main story for the musical. Some of the characters roles, however, had been changed fairly significantly – Madame Giry, for example, in the novel is a concierge who looks after those sitting in the boxes, whereas in the musical she’s a choreographer of the ballet (and in the movie she also saved the Phantom from a circus, and brought him to live at the Opera House). In the movie and musical, Giry is the one to bring Raoul to the Phantom’s house below the Opera House, whereas in the book there’s a completely different character – the Persian – who knew the Phantom from before he established himself at the Opera House.
The Persian was definitely my favourite character in the book. Not only because I hadn’t expected him at all in the book, but partly because his story is the closest we get to learning about the Phantom’s past.
This is my first book for the RIP II Challenge. After reading this book and watching a television special on Ambrose Small (the ghost who haunts the Grand Theatre in London, ON), I’m thinking I may add a book about Small to my RIP list. It would certainly be good follow up to The Phantom – both relating to ghostly stuff in theatres… it might be fun. :)