Today I’m excited to host a stop on the Phantom Blog Tour! This was a surprising book for me, mostly in the fact that I wasn’t expecting to like it nearly as much as I did, because it has one large trope that I generally dislike. But more about that in a minute! First off, I want to let you know that this Tour is accompanied by a giveaway for a pretty awesome prize; continue reading to learn more about the book, my thoughts on the book, and to enter for your chance to win!
Phantom by Laura DeLuca
Pagan Writers Press, 2012
270 pages (also available as an e-book)
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The “Phantom” was a musical phenomenon that Rebecca had always found enchanting. She had no idea that her life was about to mirror the play that was her obsession. When her high school drama club chooses “Phantom” as their annual production, Rebecca finds herself in the middle of an unlikely love triangle and the target of a sadistic stalker who uses the lines from the play as their calling card.
Rebecca lands the lead role of Christine, the opera diva, and like her character, she is torn between her two co-stars—Tom the surfer and basketball star who plays the lovable hero, and Justyn, the strangely appealing Goth who is more than realistic in the role of the tortured artist.
Almost immediately after casting, strange things start to happen both on and off the stage. Curtains fall. Mirrors are shattered. People are hurt in true phantom style. They all seem like accidents until Rebecca receives notes and phone calls that hint at something more sinister. Is Justyn bringing to life the twisted character of the phantom? Or in real life are the roles of the hero and the villain reversed? Rebecca doesn’t know who to trust, but she knows she’s running out of time as she gets closer and closer to opening night. Only when the mask is stripped away, will the twenty first century phantom finally be revealed.
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I was instantly intrigued; a retelling of Phantom of the Opera set in a modern-day high school? For that’s really what this is; while the characters are performing the musical themselves, their lives take on a rather Phantom-ish edge. I wasn’t expecting the darkness of this book – it reminded me quite a bit of one of those slasher films, because there was quite a bit of death and destruction – and I found myself eagerly devouring every single word, waiting to see how things would play out. One thing Mrs. DeLuca did well was set up the mood and atmosphere of this book; the reader goes between the happenings of play rehearsals through the characters’ high school drama, but overlaying it all is this threat of darkness that definitely comes to affect everyone. I also loved how she changed the words of the famous Andrew Lloyd Webber songs to make them her own; the theme of the lyrics stayed the same, but was made to fit the plot of her book, and I find that super creative and give her major props!
Now I would be remiss if I failed to mention the one thing I was concerned about the most, and that is the love triangle. Yes, there IS a love triangle, and I know that for some that’s probably a really off-putting element. BUT, you have to remember that this book mirrors the musical almost exactly, and there is a rather huge love triangle in the plot of the musical itself. And while it DID grate on me – seriously, the whole “two boys fighting over one girl” thing is not only annoying but also unrealistic, because I have NEVER seen this actually happen in reality – it worked really well with the entire plot of the book. Much of the love triangle actually has more to do with learning to see beneath the exterior that people present and having to let go of your preconceived notions and assumptions, and I think that’s a pretty awesome thing to be teaching teens – and anyone else – who may read this book. So while I am not a fan of love triangles, this was one time when I was willing to set my distaste for the trope aside to see what the author had in mind for her readers. And honestly, she handled it really well, particularly with how she weaved the tale of Raoul, Christine and the Phantom together with the “real” lives of Becca, Tom and Justyn.
This book leaves the reader constantly guessing as to who the person is behind the threats to Becca and the others. And I am not ashamed to say that I actually had no idea who it was, and the reveal definitely had me raising my eyebrows in surprise; there is no heavy-handed foreshadowing here, and I LOVED that – for once – I wasn’t able to guess anything. So kudos to the author for writing the mystery in a way that left me reeling! I can say with 100% honesty that I DEFINITELY didn’t see it coming.
If you’re interested in a book that will have you eagerly turning pages while wrapping you up in a truly suspenseful plot and some very real characters, I would highly recommend Phantom. I can safely say that this book has something for every reader!
A copy of this book was provided to me by YANR Blog Tours.
Laura DeLuca has graciously provided a completely AWESOME giveaway to go along with the blog tour! Please go HERE to enter for your chance to win the following prize pack: a signed paperback copy of Phantom, a porcelain mask figurine, a geode, two crystal points, a sterling silver pentacle charm, two boxes of incense and an incense holder (see picture below). Sounds awesome, right? RIGHT! So again, go HERE to enter! Good luck!
About the author:
Laura “Luna” DeLuca lives at the beautiful Jersey shore with her husband and four children. She loves writing in the young adult genre because it keeps her young at heart. In addition to writing fiction, Laura is also the sole author of a popular review blog called New Age Mama. She is an active member of her local pagan community, and has been studying Wicca for close to eight years.