Review: Phantom's Dance by Lesa Howard

Phantom's Dance
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.

Can I make a confession? I have never seen, heard or read The Phantom of the Opera, so this review is not going to make any judgements on this book's role as a retelling. No, this is going to focus on Phantom's Dance as a story of it's own so that may affect my judgement a little. Just a little disclaimer there on my part.

Now for this book: UGH! I LOVED IT!

After reading a few less than impressive books recently, Phantom's Dance was just the right level of creepy and engaging and freaking great that I needed to pull me back into the right mindset. It was just awesome. Christine was a fantastic character from start to finish; a gifted dancer, she is aiming to make it into her school's prestigious ballet company, the last time she auditioned she completely flunked it, and her dance teacher seems to have a bit of an issue with Christine. Cue Erik, a self-named ballet afficionado, he guides Christine in secret dance lessons. He hides behind a curtain, teaching Christine to dance and when he does come out he wears a mask. He tells Christine he was burnt in a fire that destroyed his ballet career. Christine takes his words hook, line and sinker. 

What I really loved was the way that I, as a reader, knew that something was wrong with Erik. Something was missing and this could never end well, but Christine never did. She shakes off any doubts that she has and is nice to Erik. A mistake that she later lives to regret. It was like watching a horror movie where I was close to shouting "No! Christine! Don't!" but I couldn't! 

I also loved that romance wasn't the main part of this book. Christine has a love interest, Raoul, but he pops in and out of the book where he is needed and isn't actually a key part of the plot. Usually I love a love story, but there is a semblance of a twisted on in  the main plot so it isn't exactly necessary. The downside of that is that it did seem like Christine and Erik are the only characters developed enough to care about that much. It can't really be helped in this book though.

The ending could have used a little more development, but I was mostly happy with how it all panned out, so I can't complain too much!

Overall, a great retelling of something I haven't even seen anyway. It was creepy, thrilling and engaging and I loved that about this book.

Book released 6th April 2014 by Boot in the Door publications
Book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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