Publication date: March 1st 2014
Christine Dadey’s family uprooted their lives and moved to Houston for her to attend the prestigious Rousseau Academy of Dance. Now, two years later, Christine struggles to compete among the Academy’s finest dancers, her parents are on the brink of divorce, and she’s told no one about her debilitating performance anxiety and what she’s willing to do to cope with it.
Erik was a ballet prodigy, a savant, destined to be a star on the world’s stage, but a suspicious fire left Erik’s face horribly disfigured. Now, a lonely phantom forced to keep his scars hidden, he spends his nights haunting the theater halls, mourning all he’s lost. Then, from behind the curtain he sees the lovely Christine. The moldable, malleable Christine.
Drawn in by Erik’s unwavering confidence, Christine allows herself to believe Erik’s declarations that he can transform her into the dancer she longs to be. But Christine’s hope of achieving her dreams may be her undoing when she learns Erik is not everything he claims. And before long, Erik’s shadowy past jeopardizes Christine’s unstable present as his obsession with her becomes hopelessly entangled with his plans for revenge.
Phantom's Dance is, without a doubt, the most beautifully haunting novel that I've read this year. It grasps complete attention from the beginning and refuses to let go, building suspense and even a creeping terror. I completely devoured the book, and whether you are a fan of dance, horror, YA retellings or none of the above, I'm sure that you'll devour it too.
I've always loved the story of The Phantom of the Opera and Howard does a wonderful job in this modern adaptation. The change of professional opera to a well-reputed dance school was flawless, and made for an engaging setting. I don't know much about ballet, but it was very intriguing as a reader to get a glimpse inside the world of this art form. Despite the transition in setting and story, all of the fantastical darkness found in the original phantom remains - and it is captivating.
All of the characters were beautifully developed, whether based from the original story or sprung from the imagination of the author. Christine had an excellent voice and stayed true to her character. It's wonderful to see characters that have a passion like she does for the ballet. Despite this, she still sounds like a normal teenager and has a great personality. Raoul is charming and heroic, and has so many great qualities that I thoroughly wanted to hate him, but was unable to do so. But to me, the real star of the story was Erik. I love scarred, complex characters, and he was developed so wonderfully. I loved every single second of his scenes.
Although, I did find it a bit odd that The Phantom of the Opera was mentioned in the story, so all of the characters know of the plot and it's existence and no one (no one!) seems the similarities...? I mean, come on. Raoul isn't exactly the most popular names for American boys, and he's into a girl named Christine? Who also happens to be bettering herself in her craft through the secret lessons of a masked man with a disfigured face who hides himself in an opera house/ballet stage? I get that not everyone is a fan of musicals or French literature, but one of them had to have seen the Gerard Butler movie or something.
Still, as much as the characters, I enjoyed the relationships behind them. There is an excellent friendship between Christine and Jenna. It felt natural, and they worked well together, and it added a lot of lightheartedness to the story. Plus, Jenna acted as a bit of a voice of reason, which is always nice to see. Contrasting, I thought that the relationship between Christine and Erik was wonderfully down. To see it escalate and morph was not only interesting, but absolutely exciting, to the point where I would crave their next scene together. Even now, having finished the beautiful ending, I can still get chills from envisioning the enchanting description of their first dance together - on the magic of a dark and otherwise empty stage.
From the very first chapter to the very last word, Phantom's Dance is a wonderful read that will be over before you know it, leaving a definite book hangover and a probable craving to immediately watch The Phantom of the Opera on Netflix. I highly recommend it.