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Phantom Heart

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Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster. So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster. So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Cheney takes an interest in both Stephanie and her notorious home, the supernatural and romantic activity escalates to an all-time high. And that doesn’t even take into account the dashing, British-accented eighteen-year-old boy, Erik, who’s taken up residence in Stephanie’s nightly dreams. A boy who may have something to do with the man in the mask, and the strange occurrences taking place at Moldavia. A steamy YA romance with Twilight vibes, inspired by Gaston Leroux’s classic The Phantom of the Opera


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Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster. So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Seventeen-year-old Stephanie Armand doesn’t believe in ghosts or spirits. Despite her six-year-old sister, Charlie, insisting a masked figure is hiding in her closet, and the rumors at school, Stephanie isn’t convinced her father’s latest renovation project–a crumbling Victorian mansion–houses the soul of a monster. So when the very charming (and paranormal obsessed) Lucas Cheney takes an interest in both Stephanie and her notorious home, the supernatural and romantic activity escalates to an all-time high. And that doesn’t even take into account the dashing, British-accented eighteen-year-old boy, Erik, who’s taken up residence in Stephanie’s nightly dreams. A boy who may have something to do with the man in the mask, and the strange occurrences taking place at Moldavia. A steamy YA romance with Twilight vibes, inspired by Gaston Leroux’s classic The Phantom of the Opera

30 review for Phantom Heart

  1. 4 out of 5

    jessica

    making a pro/con list as my review because it seems more efficient. things i enjoyed:- ive never read a book inspired by ‘the phantom of the opera,’ so i was immediately captivated by the story. - the spooky gothic ghost vibes are going to perfect for its release later this year. - you know i love a brooding, tortured boy as a love interest. things that bugged me:- this is nothing like ‘twilight’ and it most definitely is not “steamy,” so i have no idea why its being pitched as such. - the blurb alr making a pro/con list as my review because it seems more efficient. things i enjoyed:- ive never read a book inspired by ‘the phantom of the opera,’ so i was immediately captivated by the story. - the spooky gothic ghost vibes are going to perfect for its release later this year. - you know i love a brooding, tortured boy as a love interest. things that bugged me:- this is nothing like ‘twilight’ and it most definitely is not “steamy,” so i have no idea why its being pitched as such. - the blurb already alerts readers about a love triangle and im not a fan of the trope but, being familiar with the story of ‘the phantom of the opera,’ i was willing to go along with it. however, the author takes many liberties when it comes to romance that i thought were questionable, especially with the ending. - the whole curse thing is not explained very well. - the long length and glacial pacing. i kept finding myself looking at the time because i felt like it was taking foreverrrr to read. so, some more cons than pros, which is why im giving this the rating i did. there are a solid six months before this is released, so i hope some of these aspects are strengthened and/or tweaked beforehand. because honestly, there is a lot of potential for this story here and i think its one many readers will enjoy. thanks viking books for the ARC! ↠ 2.5 stars

  2. 5 out of 5

    Penelope Douglas

    Kelly Creagh is one of those authors who creates worlds I never want to leave. The Nevermore Trilogy is probably my favorite YA paranormal series, and I'd read anything inspired by the Phantom of the Opera. Which you probably know if you read Fire Night :D Here we go! Kelly Creagh is one of those authors who creates worlds I never want to leave. The Nevermore Trilogy is probably my favorite YA paranormal series, and I'd read anything inspired by the Phantom of the Opera. Which you probably know if you read Fire Night :D Here we go!

  3. 4 out of 5

    A.G. Howard

    A beautifully written, wholly original retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. I've adored Kelly Creagh's writing ever since Pinfeathers from the Nevermore series stole my heart with his fiendish japes and wry, malevolent charm. So, I couldn't wait to see what dark magic she would unleash with a stand alone gothic-romance centered around a masked and tortured soul who haunts the halls of a decaying Victorian manor. Ms. Creagh fashions incredibly vivid and atmospheric settings for her readers and A beautifully written, wholly original retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. I've adored Kelly Creagh's writing ever since Pinfeathers from the Nevermore series stole my heart with his fiendish japes and wry, malevolent charm. So, I couldn't wait to see what dark magic she would unleash with a stand alone gothic-romance centered around a masked and tortured soul who haunts the halls of a decaying Victorian manor. Ms. Creagh fashions incredibly vivid and atmospheric settings for her readers and characters to tumble into, filled with both beauty and dread, and this world of shadowy corridors, whispering walls, and crepitating stairways did not disappoint!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Chantal Aurora

    Update: THE COVER WAS RELEASED IT IS GLORIOUS! THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS IS OUT IT SOUNDS EVEN MORE AMAZING! It was pushed back to 2021 though 😢 Phantom of the opera you say? ANGEL MY SOUL WAS WEAK FORGIVE ME FOR I HAVE JUST DISCOVERED THIS. WHY IS 2021 SO FAR AWAY I NEED THIS NOW. "Contemporary retelling of Gaston Leroux's classic The Phantom of the Opera, in which a teen girl finds herself in a complicated love triangle with her high school boyfriend and the eighteen-year-old spirit of a musical prodi Update: THE COVER WAS RELEASED IT IS GLORIOUS! THE OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS IS OUT IT SOUNDS EVEN MORE AMAZING! It was pushed back to 2021 though 😢 Phantom of the opera you say? ANGEL MY SOUL WAS WEAK FORGIVE ME FOR I HAVE JUST DISCOVERED THIS. WHY IS 2021 SO FAR AWAY I NEED THIS NOW. "Contemporary retelling of Gaston Leroux's classic The Phantom of the Opera, in which a teen girl finds herself in a complicated love triangle with her high school boyfriend and the eighteen-year-old spirit of a musical prodigy who resides in her family's Victorian home, in a two-book deal." 2 BOOKS?

  5. 4 out of 5

    Katie McGarry

    I read an early edition of this story and loved it!!!!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mara YA Mood Reader

    *eeeek*!! I’m sooo excited Ms Creagh has a new title coming out!! I love love love her paranormal works and absolutely adored her Nevermore trilogy!! I can’t wait!!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    [I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book based on uncorrected proof I was kindly given by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.] Mar 26, 2021 Oh my goodness you guys, my first Edelweiss ARC!! May 11, 2021 I had a whole review written - I was literally on the summing up paragraph, but my computer turned off because it's stupid, so you'll have to do with this instead. Despite my initial excitement over the book, I did n [I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book based on uncorrected proof I was kindly given by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.] Mar 26, 2021 Oh my goodness you guys, my first Edelweiss ARC!! May 11, 2021 I had a whole review written - I was literally on the summing up paragraph, but my computer turned off because it's stupid, so you'll have to do with this instead. Despite my initial excitement over the book, I did not end up on the greatest terms with it. I liked the concept and the mostly realistic representation of music (you know, it is quite important to me as a classical musician) as well as Erik's character. However, things I didn't enjoy were the love triangle, the side characters as well as Lucas, the insta-love and the pacing - this took me a month, for goodness' sake. If you are thinking about picking this up, I'd say give it a shot. Nonetheless, keep in mind that it is not steamy, not Twilight-esque (and thank God for that) and I'd probably say that except for the two or three kissing scenes could be even classified as Middle Grade. And maybe the most important thing of all, there are many things you can fix in half a year :) ALERT: this book comes out in three days! so excited for you guys to read it!! →2.5 stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    CJ Connor

    as someone who wrote many fanfics in 2009 that could be described as "phantom of the opera meets twilight," i for one am thrilled to have an ARC and feel blessed to begin this reading journey edit: Wow! I wish I had a time machine so I could throw this at my 12-year-old self's head and say, "Enjoy, nerd!" They would have been all over this. An inventive retelling but still retains a lot of the heart of the original novel. I thought it was a sold and entertaining take, and the cover alone has quit as someone who wrote many fanfics in 2009 that could be described as "phantom of the opera meets twilight," i for one am thrilled to have an ARC and feel blessed to begin this reading journey edit: Wow! I wish I had a time machine so I could throw this at my 12-year-old self's head and say, "Enjoy, nerd!" They would have been all over this. An inventive retelling but still retains a lot of the heart of the original novel. I thought it was a sold and entertaining take, and the cover alone has quite the aesthetic to it. Would probably recommend for fans of A.G. Howard's books, as I bet there's a lot of crossover in what makes those two writers' styles appealing.

  9. 4 out of 5

    ⋆☆☽ Kriss ☾☆⋆

    I absolute adored Ms. Creagh's Nevermore trilogy, so I'm hype to see her writing something new. Hopefully this does come out in 2020 and we get a cover reveal soon. I absolute adored Ms. Creagh's Nevermore trilogy, so I'm hype to see her writing something new. Hopefully this does come out in 2020 and we get a cover reveal soon.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Liana Ashley

    “The music she had woven for me on the piano, luring and lulling as it has been, was but noise next to that voice. My very bones. They’d reverberated with her refrain. And how my hollow chest had ached from the beauty that had devastated my senses.” 3.75 stars rounded up to 4. I love Phantom of the Opera and am always looking for a good retelling, so I was very excited to be approved for an arc of Phantom Heart. If you enjoy clever twists on classic stories in your retellings, then this novel is “The music she had woven for me on the piano, luring and lulling as it has been, was but noise next to that voice. My very bones. They’d reverberated with her refrain. And how my hollow chest had ached from the beauty that had devastated my senses.” 3.75 stars rounded up to 4. I love Phantom of the Opera and am always looking for a good retelling, so I was very excited to be approved for an arc of Phantom Heart. If you enjoy clever twists on classic stories in your retellings, then this novel is definitely not one to miss. Phantom Heart is told through the multiple perspectives of Stephanie, Erik/Zedok, and Lucas. The setting is moved from a 19th century Parisian Opera House to a proclaimed haunted house in the modern day southern US and follows Stephanie as she tries to solve the mystery of the prescence in her new home. The prose was often a touch more youthful than I was expecting and wasn’t always my cup of tea, but definitely suited the thoughts and speech of modern teens. I enjoyed reading from Zedok’s perspective best and as the titular Phantom, the reader receives the most backstory, major plot development, and all the great angst from his chapters. In contrast, I almost always found myself wanting to skim through Lucas’ sections, as he tended to be whiny and obnoxious (hmm sounds like another romantic hero I know 😉). Although the trio in Phantom Heart doesn’t translate exactly to the one in Phantom of the Opera, I loved how the author put in several nods to both the original novel and stage production in her work. Many times I found myself comparing Lucas to Raoul, especially during scenes when he acts childish or in extreme jealousy. Like Erik in Leroux’s novel, Zedok is a master of illusion and trickery and also in line with the original story, music and unconditional affection play major roles in Phantom Heart. My main complaint is perhaps the pacing was off during several sections of the novel. It was especially slow-going to start and I actually wondered if I was going to have to DNF this. I’m so glad I didn’t though, because once it finally picked up, I was incredibly invested and was constantly flipping those pages to see what happened next. As mentioned before, I did continue to struggle with one perspective in particular, but otherwise Phantom Heart is a very quick read. I also found the romance progression to be a bit strange and insta-lovey on all sides of the love triangle, but I am willing to mostly forgive this since it is a Phantom retelling, after all. Overall, I’d say Phantom Heart is my favorite Phantom of the Opera retelling so far. The deviations from the original story Creagh took in her novel are brilliant and the vivid descriptions kept me enamored with this world, causing me to thoroughly enjoy this novel, despite it having some flaws. I’m settling on a 3.75 rating and will look forward to revisiting Phantom Heart in the future. Thanks so much to Edelweiss and Viking Books for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nemo (The Moonlight Library)

    This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library I have many feelings about this book. First of all, I think it did an absolutely wonderful job of telling a tale inspired by Gaston Leroux's beloved gothic classic, The Phantom of the Opera, better known to many people worldwide by the phenomenal West End musical and lesser known from the gorgeous but not quite as good film version from 2004. Many people would be aware of the tale of the disfigured genius living in the catacombs of the Par This review was originally posted on The Moonlight Library I have many feelings about this book. First of all, I think it did an absolutely wonderful job of telling a tale inspired by Gaston Leroux's beloved gothic classic, The Phantom of the Opera, better known to many people worldwide by the phenomenal West End musical and lesser known from the gorgeous but not quite as good film version from 2004. Many people would be aware of the tale of the disfigured genius living in the catacombs of the Paris Opera House and the ingenue he falls in love with. Creagh reimagines it as a teen love triangle crossing dimensions and involving curses, a girl mourning the absence of her own mother, and a hot jazz-dancing glasses-wearing Captain America nerd. I remember when I read Creagh's Nevermore (a long time ago) that I loved her attention to detail, which is present again in this novel and might be a Creagh hallmark. I love all the original stuff Creagh wove into this tale so deftly to the point where people unfamiliar with the intricacies of Phantom might think it was wholly original. I absolutely loved that Montcharmin and Firmin Richard were reimagined as Stephanie's little sister Charlie and dad Richard, together the three of them using the Armand family name. I also loved the absolute chemistry between Stephanie and her Captain American wannabe Lucas, who was so incredibly adorable. They were so cute. I also loved how the audiobook used sound effects. The first time one was used i think I jumped out of my seat. It was such an effective use of sound that it felt so immersive, and even more like watching a movie in my mind than reading normally does to me. What I didn't like boils down to inconsistency. I know this is a reimagining and not a retelling, so I'm not expecting things to be faithful. I really loved how bits and pieces of the original story were used and other original elements were introduced, including the character of the Persian, forgotten in the musical but essential in the book, here playing a clairvoyant medium. What I need someone to explain to me is why, if using Montcharmin, Firmin and Carlotta's names (the latter introduced as Lucas' former flame, Charlotte, and part of the ghost hunting group they formed), why on earth were Christine and Raoul renamed Stephanie and Lucas? I don't get it. What am I missing here? Do they have the same meanings in French? Is Stephanie a derivative of Christine? Erik was still Erik, so I don't understand how Stephanie couldn't have been named something like Christina, and I just have no idea where Lucas came from. Didn't want to call him Ralph? I also didn't like the use of multiple first person point of view. I really felt that this novel could have been a lot better, tighter, and less repetitive using only Stephanie's point of view, and I really feel like it could have been done. We didn't need to see inside Erik's head, and we didn't get to see inside Lucas' for well over half the novel. There was absolutely nothing that happened in Erik's POV that we couldn't have seen or had recounted to us as Stephanie. And because of the weird use of the POV shift to retell us things we have already seen, it ended up super repetitive, seeing the same scene from different angles without providing anything more than we already knew. The chapters were very short and often ended in weird places, like spending time building up to a climax only to cut it off, which I found frustrating. And because they were sometimes so short, less than half a page, and the POV changed so frequently without resolving anything, they also seemed redundant. I also pretty much ended up disliking Stephanie. I can understand the decisions she makes from the point of view of a teenager.  It didn't help that although I liked the book, I wasn't really buying the 'romance' between Stephanie and Erik. I think she felt sorry for him, and I have no idea why he liked her at all. There appeared to be nothing deeper beneath their lust. At least Stephanie and Lucas bonded over their ghost hunting. True, the original story was weird, and Raoul was basically abusive towards Christine, and the musical makes it a much better romance and a choice between a mad disfigured genius who wants you to live with him in eternal darkness while he writes you music and makes you famous (and quite the hottie in modern day productions, though he was originally played by 50 year old Michael Crawford in the original West End) or literally a rich handsome boy who loves you wholesomely and would literally die for you, but I just wasn't feeling it. I think maybe because Erik, in Creagh's book, was also handsome? So it boiled down, again, to the choice between two hot guys. Literally neither of them were offering Stephanie anything: she wasn't choosing, for example, to be a vampire or stay human like another famous love triangle this book was for some reason compared to (Twilight). So I think, somehow, the book maybe missed the mark with that? (view spoiler)[I feel that there is redemption for Erik in letting Christine go, so when it didn't happen in this novel, I felt disappointed. (hide spoiler)] Overall, despite the technical style that annoyed me, I was really impressed with the audiobook production and the three narrators, each of who did really decent voice changes. I loved how the author wove an original story into a beloved classic with such deftness, and I enjoyed the story overall, though I probably won't reread it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Georgina

    Inspired by THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA?! Sweet angel of music, have mercy.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tya

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ok. I'm giving this book a 3.5 rounding up to a 4 because its Kelly Creagh because I love Kelly Creagh and Im a believer in Kelly Creagh! But right now? Right this very second now? IM ALL SORTS OF TICKED OFF. HOW. HOW in the ever-loving-world does Stephanie think at ALL that shes in LOVE with Eric? All three legs of the triangle were kind of insta-lovey but its YA. YA loves itself some insta-love so I'll ignore that. Lets take a look at Eric. Eric spent the first quarter of the book deliberately t Ok. I'm giving this book a 3.5 rounding up to a 4 because its Kelly Creagh because I love Kelly Creagh and Im a believer in Kelly Creagh! But right now? Right this very second now? IM ALL SORTS OF TICKED OFF. HOW. HOW in the ever-loving-world does Stephanie think at ALL that shes in LOVE with Eric? All three legs of the triangle were kind of insta-lovey but its YA. YA loves itself some insta-love so I'll ignore that. Lets take a look at Eric. Eric spent the first quarter of the book deliberately terrifying a 6 year old. I don't care what his reasons were. Thats what he did. He dropped a chandelier on her father. Because he loved her so much that he couldn't bear for her to leave. NOW I see that Twilight resemblance that the publishers say this book is supposed to have. Unhealthy romance doesn't seem like the healthiest thing to pin the novel on but, you know, Im not a publisher. He kidnapped her and held her hostage until she agreed to marry him. So thats Eric. Lets take a look at Lucas. 50s garb. Dancer. Super hot. Willing to die for Stephanie (instalove, guys). Willing to sacrifice his friends for this girl he met three days ago (instalove, guys). And while Lucas is coming charging forward to save his girl---she's having ghost sex/everything but (that wasnt quite clear) with a dead guy. Who did all of the above. I understand why anyone would pity Eric. Kelly Creagh did an amazing job making me not hate the boy. And Eric is just a boy. Only eternally 18 who when he was alive made horrible decisions he doesnt deserve to be cursed forever. BUT HES DONE SOME AWFUL SHIZ. After everything Stephanie knows that hes done and everything that hes done to her and her family personally why in the ever-loving-world would she think shes in love with him? The one I pity more than anyone else is poor, dumb, Lucas. Who met a girl, fell for her, tried his best to save her and got his dang heartbroken in the process. But its totally ok. Because in the end even HE gets why she loves the monster. AND HE IS A FREAKING MONSTER. I dont ship anyone in this series. I just pity the boys. Especially Lucas. But maybe that will change. I do trust Kelly Creagh.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Andi

    I'd like to thank the people at Penguin and the author herself for allowing me to read this book. Phantom Heart is a solid reinterpretation of the book, Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I enjoyed reading the updates for a modern audience and I loved reading the new twists and spins that Kelly gave to the story. Being familiar with her previous work, I knew this was going to be something special and interesting. I think a lot of young readers will find the writing for the teens to be very ag I'd like to thank the people at Penguin and the author herself for allowing me to read this book. Phantom Heart is a solid reinterpretation of the book, Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. I enjoyed reading the updates for a modern audience and I loved reading the new twists and spins that Kelly gave to the story. Being familiar with her previous work, I knew this was going to be something special and interesting. I think a lot of young readers will find the writing for the teens to be very age appropriate. I also think the paranormal aspect of a ghost haunting the house and the Paranormal Society comprised of a couple teens wanting to scoop out the house will be of interest as well. I did have some issues with the book that I think some readers may have issues with as well. Most hinder around the curse and or the way it came across in the book. It was something that required me to do some further touch and base with the author that made sense when she explained it to me. Yet, I still think that if I didn't really follow it that well others may have issue too. I still enjoyed it, and I found that it was a strong nod to the original novel. If you're a fan of Susan Kay's Phantom you will also enjoy this. It has romance and Gothic tones and perfect for a YA audience who are unfamiliar with the original book and or looking to dab their feet into something paranormal.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ericka

    A fun and captivating read. Full of friendship, love, adventure and of course a bit of magic. I’m sad that it’s over. I would love to get to know these characters even more.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara Zaninelli

    “Silence deafens. Shadows grow long. Yet in the soundless night, Your name is a song.” • Phantom heart surprised me in an unexpected and absolutely positive way. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did and I really couldn’t put it down. I am always fascinated by tormented souls and Erik is definitely one of them. He has committed a terrible sin for which he has been punished, his soul was shattered into all the different aspects of his personality and he cannot produce music anymore… and music wa “Silence deafens. Shadows grow long. Yet in the soundless night, Your name is a song.” • Phantom heart surprised me in an unexpected and absolutely positive way. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did and I really couldn’t put it down. I am always fascinated by tormented souls and Erik is definitely one of them. He has committed a terrible sin for which he has been punished, his soul was shattered into all the different aspects of his personality and he cannot produce music anymore… and music was the only thing that made him feel alive. When Stephanie arrives at the house he is bound to, their connection is incredibly strong, because she starts singing his songs and he feels as if he can breathe again, as if he is still human. It’s so painful seeing his struggle between the desire to take her with him forever and the knowledge she would be better without him. Stephanie is such a brave girl, she is selfless and ready to do anything for the people she loves! I actually did not expect the end and I am not completely sure that it works, I would need a sequel to decide that, but for now I must say that it satisfied me!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I should start this review by noting that I came into Phantom Heart with insanely high expectations. The Nevermore trilogy is one of my absolute favorite series, so when I heard Kelly Creigh was tackling a retelling of one of my favorite musicals, I was ecstatic. (I know Phantom of the Opera was a book first, but it’s a musical first and foremost for me.) That level of care and attention to detail, applied to Phantom? Yes, please! Still, I tried to temper my expectations leading up to the releas I should start this review by noting that I came into Phantom Heart with insanely high expectations. The Nevermore trilogy is one of my absolute favorite series, so when I heard Kelly Creigh was tackling a retelling of one of my favorite musicals, I was ecstatic. (I know Phantom of the Opera was a book first, but it’s a musical first and foremost for me.) That level of care and attention to detail, applied to Phantom? Yes, please! Still, I tried to temper my expectations leading up to the release of Phantom Heart - and for the most part, I think I succeeded. I didn't go into it expecting anything more than a good book. Even so, Phantom Heart, well– It actually gets off to a really good start. I adored the first act; it was everything I expected from a Kelly Creigh novel and everything I wanted from a Phantom retelling: lush, Gothic, a bit swoony, a bit dark. For the most part, I enjoyed the book's last act as well, for all that it felt a bit rushed. But the middle...I'm not sure I've ever gone from loving a book to being tempted to DNF quite so fast. Gothic Romance or Haunted House Horror I went into Phantom Heart expecting a Gothic romance of some kind - a fair expectation in a Phantom of the Opera retelling. And at times - primarily the first and last act of the book (aka the parts I enjoyed) - it is that. But there are also times where Phantom Heart loses almost any semblance of being a Gothic romance and devolves into something like straight horror (of the haunted house variety). I'm generally not a horror fan, so the whole haunted house/paranormal investigator sh** was not interesting to me. At times, it was even off-putting. (And the fact that Zedok had chapters in here that were basically him calling Lucas and co. idiots for their paranormal investigator methods didn't help anything). Do We Have to Have a Love Triangle? Look, I know Phantom of the Opera is a love triangle and all, but do we really have to have a love triangle? Cause the thing is, Phantom Heart would have been so much better without one. For a lot of Phantom Heart, it feels like the book is too focused on the idea of the love triangle to actually develop Stephanie's relationship with either boy. It felt like the basis of both relationships, for long stretches of the book, was just basic lust/physical attraction (which isn't enough to build a compelling love triangle on, for me). In terms of the two love interests- When Stephanie and Erik spent extended periods of time together (primarily in the last act), I could almost see the romantic connection between them. The initial spark was there, and with a bit more time/attention, I think it would have burst into the flame of a great love story. As it stands, the intensity of their relationship in the climax of Phantom Heart feels kinda abrupt; they needed more time to get to (and show to the reader they've gotten to) that level of care for each other. As for Lucas...Lucas sucks. (No real surprise there, given that I generally hate Raoul in Phantom of the Opera.) Okay, so Lucas isn't actually completely terrible (though he's definitely got some characteristics that grate on me, especially as the book goes on). But a lot of my least favorite aspects of Phantom Heart stem from Lucas and his friends - the whole paranormal investigator/haunted house horror thing, a lot of the ultimately pointless detours from the plot (ex. Lucas' dance competition) - and honestly, I think the book would have been a lot stronger if Lucas and co. had been a less prominent part of it (the way Raoul honestly isn't a prominent part of Phantom). (Also, there's a really uncomfortable undertone of ownership to the love triangle. There's definitely an aspect of that to the original Phantom, but I was expecting it to be lessprominent in a modern retelling, not more.) A Missing Heart Phantom Heart is a great Phantom of the Opera retelling in the sense that it hits plenty of familiar scenes/plot lines from Phantom - the falling chandelier, the boat ride, the duel in the graveyard - but it feels like it's missing the heart of the story. What is that heart? I couldn't honestly tell you. All I know is as much as Phantom Heart looked like Phantom of the Opera, it didn't really feel like it. (Probably the biggest place I felt the absence of Phantom's heart was in the relationship between Stephanie and Erik. I feel like so much of the relationship between Christine/Phantom is about their shared passion for music and what they give to each other. They elevate each other and, in some sense, act as a balm for each other's loneliness. And that...depth and consequence and heart just isn't really there in Stephanie and Erik's relationship.) Misc. Thoughts - The writing is clunky/inconsistent at times, especially in terms of how modern it sounds. It's also melodramatic in places. (There's a fine line between something being sweepingly Gothic and being ridiculous melodrama, and Phantom Heart periodically fell on the wrong side of that line.) - It kind of feels like Stephanie loses her agency - or at least her role as the story's primary driving force - somewhere in the middle and never entirely gets it back. She's pretty passive/reactive in the back half of the book. - Interestingly, a lot of the supporting cast of Phantom of the Opera seems to be absent from Phantom Heart. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's interesting to note that from as many characters as Phantom Heart has, I can really only map our three POV characters onto characters from Phantom. - There are some really fun little nods to Phantom of the Opera - things like Lucas' last name being Cheney, which is pronounced very similarly to Chagny (i.e. Raoul, Viscount de Chagny - the character whose role Lucas fills). Overall I didn't like Phantom Heart nearly as much as I was hoping to - but I ended up liking it a lot more than I expected to in the middle of the book. It's far from a perfect book, but it ends up being a decent one (for all that it struggles to find a satisfying balance between its various elements/genres). Will I read Phantom Heart again? Eh, probably not. But I most likely would read the sequel - if there is one. (It's unclear, right now, if Phantom Heart is intended as a stand alone or as the beginning of a series. Goodreads has it listed as Phantom Heart, #1, but doesn't actually have an entry for a sequel and the book itself ends in such a way that it stands perfectly fine on its own - though it also leaves enough open that a sequel isn't out of the realm of possibility.) 3.5/5

  18. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Thank you Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh. This is one of my most anticipated books of 2021. I am a fan of her other books as well as anything to do with Phantom of the Opera. So when I heard she was doing Phantom Heart, I was ecstatic and didn't hesitate to pre-order. To have been selected to read the review copy was beyond exciting for me. This #POTO #retelling engulfed me right away. This book is for fans of Phantom of the Opera (obviously) stage Thank you Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Phantom Heart by Kelly Creagh. This is one of my most anticipated books of 2021. I am a fan of her other books as well as anything to do with Phantom of the Opera. So when I heard she was doing Phantom Heart, I was ecstatic and didn't hesitate to pre-order. To have been selected to read the review copy was beyond exciting for me. This #POTO #retelling engulfed me right away. This book is for fans of Phantom of the Opera (obviously) stage and book, Supernatural, #paranormalinvestigation shows/books, and YA paranormal fiction--just to name a few. On Goodreads, they lump it in with the likes of Twilight...I beg to differ. Nothing against that series (I read and enjoyed it). But Phantom Heart kept me asking questions about the characters, motivations, and backstories. I was visualizing everything like a movie, which goes to show Creagh’s writing provides much to behold. If you’ve read her other works (the Nevermore trilogy and Nickolas Claus: Ghosts of Christmas Past), you know the attention to detail to which Creagh pays. There were times I was reading and found myself mimicking mannerisms the characters were doing, holding my breath, definitely laughing, and most certainly crying. Creagh knows how to tug at the range of emotions in anything I’ve read by her, Phantom Heart definitely included. And though it’s inspired by #POTO, there are definite artistic liberties and deviations that make this a #thrilling and #original retelling.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alana

    a POTO inspired book is alllll the rage for me. This is your pretty typical YA, though, complete with the love triangle which did verge on insta-love but was still cute enough to enjoy. Yes, it felt a little underdeveloped sometimes and the romance wasn't super believable, but for a standard YA with the love triangle trope it was cute enough...and big bonus in my book for the phantom inspiration! a POTO inspired book is alllll the rage for me. This is your pretty typical YA, though, complete with the love triangle which did verge on insta-love but was still cute enough to enjoy. Yes, it felt a little underdeveloped sometimes and the romance wasn't super believable, but for a standard YA with the love triangle trope it was cute enough...and big bonus in my book for the phantom inspiration!

  20. 4 out of 5

    yaalni, professional reader and crier

    I really wanted to like this, so this just felt like a massive disappointment. Also, why is this 'steamy'? Because it really, really isn't I really wanted to like this, so this just felt like a massive disappointment. Also, why is this 'steamy'? Because it really, really isn't

  21. 4 out of 5

    Renee

    I really enjoyed this Phantom of the Opera retelling. Though I felt bad for Lucas.

  22. 4 out of 5

    William

    I read a pre-publication version of Phantom Heart and loved it. Paranormal (and normal) romance, Egyption mythlogy, adventure--what's not to love? I especially enjoyed the ghost-hunting group, which captures the seriousness and silliness of that avocation. Kelly Creagh has penned another winner. I read a pre-publication version of Phantom Heart and loved it. Paranormal (and normal) romance, Egyption mythlogy, adventure--what's not to love? I especially enjoyed the ghost-hunting group, which captures the seriousness and silliness of that avocation. Kelly Creagh has penned another winner.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ryann

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Okay, so I got eight chapters in (43/345 pgs), and decided I wasn’t 100% sure I was that into this story. So I skipped all the way to the end, just to see if I liked the ending, and I did not like that ending at all. Spoiler here, but Stephanie ends up with an actual ghost. About three years ago I read a slightly similar trope in a book called How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, now this book was not a POTO retelling, instead it was about the modern descendants from the Salem Witch Trials. Bo Okay, so I got eight chapters in (43/345 pgs), and decided I wasn’t 100% sure I was that into this story. So I skipped all the way to the end, just to see if I liked the ending, and I did not like that ending at all. Spoiler here, but Stephanie ends up with an actual ghost. About three years ago I read a slightly similar trope in a book called How to Hang a Witch by Adriana Mather, now this book was not a POTO retelling, instead it was about the modern descendants from the Salem Witch Trials. Both of these books have one major thing in common, and that is the love triangle between a girl, a boy, and a ghost, and the girl always ends up with the ghost…no explanation on how that will work out for either couple. After reading the epilogue, I knew I needed to DNF this book and move on (like Erik should have done, he’s really going to be holding Stephanie back imo).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jillian -always aspiring-

    I don’t whether to breathe into a paper bag or screech like a delighted banshee. The author of probably my favorite YA trilogy is coming out with a new book in 2021? And it’s a Phantom of the Opera retelling, you say? Excuse me, I don’t think the term “fangirling” is enough for all the emotions I’m feeling. There’s hope now that 2021 will be a year so much better than 2020.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elisabeth

    This was a rough go for me. I wanted to love this book, or even like it a lot really, but alas, that did not happen with this book. There were moments I thought would be good and had potential, but overall it fell super flat for me. The characters were mediocre at best and the story didn't pull me in like I had hoped. It was a decent read, just not a high recommendation for me. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC! This was a rough go for me. I wanted to love this book, or even like it a lot really, but alas, that did not happen with this book. There were moments I thought would be good and had potential, but overall it fell super flat for me. The characters were mediocre at best and the story didn't pull me in like I had hoped. It was a decent read, just not a high recommendation for me. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC!

  26. 4 out of 5

    G

    More mask, more monster! Phantom Heart is a fantastic retelling of Phantom of the Opera with many unique twists including a loveable group of ghost hunting high schoolers. They offer great bits of comedy among the dark and terrifying. I gotta say, the character of Wes is the best and turned out to be my favorite character in the book. The dark romance blends dreamily well with a scary victorian mansion and an ancient curse.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Maddie Tong

    Subversive and romantic! I really enjoyed this book. It has a slow reveal of secrets that keeps you guessing. It also has a cast of complex and imperfect characters, all of whom are fun to read about. Funny at times and then oh so bittersweet. The care and research that went into the book is abundantly clear. Great, surprising YA novel.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Omg!!! I was having happy memories of the Nevermore series and decided to check and see if Kelly Creagh had anything new..I'm so happy I did. This sounds so interesting and Kelly Creaghs writing ? CAPTIVATING!!🖤 Omg!!! I was having happy memories of the Nevermore series and decided to check and see if Kelly Creagh had anything new..I'm so happy I did. This sounds so interesting and Kelly Creaghs writing ? CAPTIVATING!!🖤

  29. 5 out of 5

    Amourousse ✨ (Maria)

    I will read anything inspired by Phantom of the Opera (i just hope the Twilight vibes don't mean creepy stalking) I will read anything inspired by Phantom of the Opera (i just hope the Twilight vibes don't mean creepy stalking)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bethany Griffin

    Read this as soon as you can get your hands on it!

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