Skip to main content

The Phantom's Apprentice by Heather Webb: A Book Review

The Phantom's Apprentice
Author: Heather Webb
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sonnet Press
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Pages: 342
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review
Synopsis: In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…

     Christine faces an impossible choice: be a star at the Paris opera as Papa always wanted, or follow her dream—to become a master of illusions. First, she must steal the secrets of the enigmatic master who haunts her, survive a world of treachery and murder, and embrace the uncertain promise of love. To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

     My Review: The Phantom’s Apprentice is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. Christine Daae has been singing in the salons of Paris with her father. However, she has always been fascinated with magic tricks and becoming a magician herself. When her father dies, Christine enters the Paris Opera House and becomes the understudy to the prima donna, Carlotta. She soon takes music lessons from a mysterious being known as the Angel of Music. When she learns that the Angel of Music has been terrorizing the Opera House in hopes to make her a star, Christine tries to break free of his hold and pursue a life of her own making.

     Being  a huge Phantom of the Opera fan, I was really excited to read this book, especially because the narrator is Christine Daae. Christine Daae has mostly been portrayed in popular culture as a passive, naive teenager. She is seen as a damsel in distress and is overshadowed by Raoul and the Phantom. Mrs. Webb’s novel promises a more assertive Christine who saves herself. However, after reading this, I came away feeling a little bit underwhelmed. Mrs. Webb’s Christine was not the Christine that was promised.

     Christine in this novel is still a bland and passive character. As I came away from this novel, I found her to be a bit distant. Christine still turns out to be a Mary Sue character. She does not have any flaws. She is still a superficial character. She is beautiful, intelligent, a good singer, and a good magician. She is not a fully fleshed out character. Therefore, there was not much of a personality to Christine. She was not an engaging character, and was very passive for the majority of the novel.

     Overall, this was not a bad retelling of Phantom of the Opera. It just did not meet my expectations. This is both because of the premise and the fact that Heather Webb is one of my favorite authors.  The characters are very stereotypical and not fully fleshed out. The pace of this story was slow for most of the novel. However, the climax was so rushed that if you weren’t paying attention, you’d miss it in the blink of an eye. Still, the writing was very evocative and lyrical. The setting of the Opera House was very atmospheric. Retellings are very hard to write, and Mrs. Webb just couldn’t pull it off. I recommend this for fans of Heather Webb and of historical fiction, but fans of Phantom of the Opera will come away feeling a little disappointed and would rather have wished to re-read the original novel instead.

Rating: 2½ out of 5 stars

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post by Allison Pataki: A Book Review

The Magnificent Lives of Marjorie Post Author: Allison Pataki Genre: Historical Fiction Publisher: Ballantine Release Date: February 15, 2022 Pages: 381 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: Mrs. Post, the President and First Lady are here to see you. . . . So begins another average evening for Marjorie Merriweather Post. Presidents have come and gone, but she has hosted them all. Growing up in the modest farmlands of Battle Creek, Michigan, Marjorie was inspired by a few simple rules: always think for yourself, never take success for granted, and work hard—even when deemed American royalty, even while covered in imperial diamonds. Marjorie had an insatiable drive to live and love and to give more than she got. From crawling through Moscow warehouses to rescue the Tsar’s treasures to outrunning the Nazis in London, from serving the homeless of the Great Depression to entertaining Roosevelts, Kennedys, and Hollywood’s biggest stars, Marjorie Merriweath

The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry that Forged the Medieval World by Shelley Puhak: A Book Review

  The Dark Queens: The Bloody Rivalry that Forged the Medieval World Author: Shelley Puhak Genre: Nonfiction, History, Biography Publisher: Bloomsbury Release Date: February 22, 2022 Pages: 378 Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review. Synopsis: The remarkable, little-known story of two trailblazing women in the Early Middle Ages who wielded immense power, only to be vilified for daring to rule.      Brunhild was a foreign princess, raised to be married off for the sake of alliance-building. Her sister-in-law Fredegund started out as a lowly palace slave. And yet-in sixth-century Merovingian France, where women were excluded from noble succession and royal politics was a blood sport-these two iron-willed strategists reigned over vast realms, changing the face of Europe.      The two queens commanded armies and negotiated with kings and popes. They formed coalitions and broke them, mothered children and lost them. They fought a decades-long civil war-against each ot

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) by Lucinda Riley: A Book Review

The Seven Sisters (The Seven Sisters #1) Author: Lucinda Riley Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance Publisher: Atria Release Date: 2015 Pages: 463 Source: My State Public Library Synopsis: Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings. Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to