July 10, 2011

Review: The Opera Ghost Lives - Ann M. Kraft

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Summary for The Opera Ghost Lives at Goodreads: A promised gesture of love that is never kept turns to heartbreak. A plan to recapture Christine is never realized. Erik, the Opera Ghost, makes plans to leave his lake house. 
On his way to freedom he encounters an angel of mercy who was sent to protect and help him but from where this angel came he doesn’t know. His angel has been given the responsibility of keeping him safe and presenting him with an “arrangement” that will give him the opportunity to change his life. However, his protector is skeptical that change is possible.

Ann Kraft, on "The Opera Ghost Lives", delivers a new story of a beloved character - the loved and hated Phantom of the Opera. It shows Erik, the Phantom of the Opera, after the happenings on the Paris Opera House and the whole "Christine thing", when she is supposed to come back and bury him, when he is dead, but even if he makes them believe he is dead, she never comes.

Erik must run away, there are people coming to check if he is really dead and he just can't possibly be alive to them, so he runs and, on the way, finds Amalie Girault, an Angel of Mercy, even though she claims that the Angel of Mercy is him.

She takes him to her house, at her father's request. He has passed away 3 years before, but on his deathbed he asked his daughter to take care of Erik, who saved his life so many years ago. Erik is a true friend, Mr. Girault says.

Amalie knows of all of Erik's missdeeds and has a hard time accepting him and seeing him as her father did, but she will, eventually, learn that people can change and, as so many songs said before, "all he needed was love".

The Opera Ghost Lives is a beautiful love story. Amalie and Erik are both smart, witty, fun and loving people, who'd had a complicated life, Erik more than Amalie, obviously, and they fight, argue, trust, distrust, hug and love. Not necessarily on this order.

We come to understand Erik, and love him too, even those who thought him to be so bad on The Phantom of the Opera, may come to understand, pity and even forgive and love him. We learn more of his history (at least a lot more than is shown on the movie, which, I will never forgive, changed the intended ending), his way of seeing the world, of thinking about people and why he acts in such a creepy, stalker-ish, crazy manner.

I actually had to watch the Phantom movie before reading, as I hadn't read the Phantom of the Opera book or watched any show/movie before, and I fell in love with it. But it wasn't until I read "The Opera Ghost Lives" that I became obsessed. I downloaded all the songs to the movie, the play, the old play versions, the new play versions, several different interpreters, etc., and listened to them over and over again for 3 or 4 days. 

The Opera Ghost Lives swoons you. It captures you and makes you love Erik. Sure, ithe plot isn't exactly unpredictable, some parts are, but, well, the love story was obvious - that's not a criticism to the book overall, but we expect them to fall for each other - I mean, I hope I don't spoil it for anyone, but it's clear that Amalie and Erik are together on this story to learn and love. The journey, however is what makes this so exciting, they both have things to learn, things to forgive and things to forget.

I highly recommend the book, I also have already started The Red Diamond of Nadirijna, which is a sequel to The Ghost Opera Lives and I read on Ann Kraft's facebook that she is writing another book, which is set more to the present but with flashbacks, also related to the Phantom's story and that there may be a new sequel to the Ghost Opera Lives, making it a trilogy. I would love to read more about it, I think Ann made it a wonderful story, finally complete, with Erik's redemption.

You can buy The Opera Ghost Lives at Amazon (The Opera Ghost Lives ) or The Book Depository (currently unavailable, but I'm sure they'll stock back soon).

Below, I leave you with probably my favorite version of the main "Phantom" song, with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman as Christine and Erik.