Monday, February 19, 2018

Blog Tour Review: The Phantom's Apprentice by Heather Webb

From the Back Cover:

In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…

Christine Daaé sings with her violinist Papa in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.

Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Nouvel Opéra—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.

But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?

As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.

To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

My Thoughts:

In my younger years, I was such a fan of The Phantom of the Opera musical. I still remember seeing it on Broadway all those years ago, sitting up in the nosebleeds and being thoroughly entranced. My mom bought me the soundtrack on the way out, and I soon knew it by heart. I was surprised at how many of those lyrics came back to me as I was reading The Phantom's Apprentice. It's been a very long time since I saw the musical, and I've never read the book on which it's based, so I went into this without a solid attachment to the particulars of the story, my mind open to see how Ms. Webb would make this story her own.

While the bones of the story are pretty much the same--Christine Daae, a beautiful young woman with a beautiful voice, auditions for a role in the chorus of a Paris opera house. The opera house is haunted, and Christine catches the attention of the "phantom," who decides to help her hone her skills, coming to her in the guise of the "angel of music," and sets some dastardly events in motion in order to have Christine become the star of the show. But his plans to keep Christine to himself are spoiled by the reappearance of her childhood love, Raoul, who determines not to let her go again now that he's found her, and though Christine knows it angers the phantom, having fallen in love with Raoul all over again, she can't stay away from him. And so the stage is set for a showdown between the murderous phantom and the young lovers.

What sets this story apart from the version I knew is the addition of illusions and magic. In this story, singing is Christine's second love, coming behind her love for the art of illusions, a love fostered by her mother before her untimely death. Christine figures out early on that the phantom is nothing more than a master illusionist, and while she continues to go along with his ploy in order to further her career, secretly she is bent on discovering the science behind his "haunting." This leads her into all sorts of danger as she explores the shadowy labyrinth beneath the opera house. She also has a very real benefactor in the form of Monsieur Delacroix, a man determined to unmask the phantom and make a name for himself in the scientific community. But as the phantom spirals out of control, Monsieur Delacroix's motives become more and more suspect, and eventually Christine is unsure who she can trust. Even Raoul seems to have secrets.

I have mixed feelings about The Phantom's Apprentice. On the one hand, Christine is a compelling heroine, one I was easily rooting for, and I admired the way she single-handedly orchestrated the climax of the novel; the descriptions of Paris, the opera house, and the society that surrounds it are vivid; and Raoul is a swoon-worthy hero. But on the other hand, I never truly bought into Christine's desire to be an illusionist, and I was often shaking my head at some of her decisions concerning the phantom. She rationalizes some pretty appalling behavior and has a habit for needlessly placing herself in danger. I also found it hard to sympathize with the phantom. While he certainly has not had it easy, and I did feel twinges of sympathy for him, his horrid behavior vastly outweighs the good. And, having read all of Ms. Webb's novels to date, I found the writing to lack the eloquence I know she's capable of. But the story was certainly entertaining, and I could not put it down as it raced to the exciting conclusion. I think it's worth a read for anyone who loves opera, particularly Phantom, but die-hard Phantom fans should proceed with an open mind and be prepared for a different journey.

My Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

The Phantom's Apprentice is on a blog tour!


During the Blog Tour we are giving away two paperback copies of The Phantom’s Apprentice! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Phantom's Apprentice


  1. Thanks so much for hosting The Phantom's Apprentice Blog Tour, Jenny!

    HF Virtual Book Tours


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