Author: Marion Grace Woolley
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ghostwoods Books
Release Date: February 14, 2015
Source: This book was given to me by TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: A young woman confronts her own dark desires, and finds her match in a masked conjurer turned assassin. Inspired by Gaston LeRoux's The Phantom of the Opera, Marion Grace Woolley takes us on forbidden adventures through a time that has been written out of history books.
"Those days are buried beneath the mists of time. I was the first, you see. The very first daughter. There would be many like me to come. Svelte little figures, each with saffron skin and wide, dark eyes. Every one possessing a voice like honey, able to twist the santur strings of our father's heart."
It begins with a rumour, an exciting whisper. Anything to break the tedium of the harem for the Shah's eldest daughter. People speak of a man with a face so vile it would make a hangman faint, but a voice as sweet as an angel's kiss. A master of illusion and stealth. A masked performer, known only as Vachon. For once, the truth will outshine the tales.
On her birthday, the Shah gifts his eldest daughter Afsar a circus. With the circus comes a man who will change everything.
My review: This story is a prequel to Phantom of the Opera. It depicts the early life of Erik, the phantom ghost, during his time in Persia. Afsar, the Sultan’s daughter, is living a lonely life. She keeps to her bedchamber and has a servant looking after her. However, on her eleventh birthday, her father celebrates her reaching marriageable age by gifting her a circus. The star of the circus is a man known as Vachon, who is said to be as ugly as a monster but known to have a voice as sweet as an angel. As soon as the Vachon crosses Afsar’s path, her life begins to change and soon they both fall in love.
First, I have to say, you will not like the characters. Both Vachon, and Afsar, the narrator, are very dark. At first, it seems that Afsar seems like she is living a privileged life, with servants who can’t refuse her orders based on her status. However, in the first few pages, we see that she is cruel, manipulative, and jealous. She uses her servant as a plaything and forces her to do mean things that she will be ashamed of. Over the course of the novel, she is very sadistic and ruthless, and soon I realized that I was looking into the eyes and mind of a serial killer and a psycho. But what is worse is that she has no remorse for her actions.
However, despite the fact that the characters weren’t likeable, I found myself drawn to the novel and its story. Reading this book felt like a dark spell that refuses to let you go until you have finished the last page. The descriptions of the circus and the palace are beautiful, and I felt that I was there. Even though I did not like the Vachon, I felt he was a very interesting character. I love the forbidden romance between him and Afsar, for it was dark and twisted.
Overall, buckle your seat belts as the novel takes you through a dark and thrilling ride of Afsar’s world. This book is strange like one of The Phantom’s illusions. I like the setting of the Sultan’s court. The author really did her research, for the details for very rich and vivid. I recommend this novel to fans of Gaston Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and anyone interested in dark fiction.
Rating 4 out of 5 stars