Time for another book! And I know quite a few people I would recommend this one to!
“The Phantom of the
Opera” is a story about love, obsession, music, and passion. For the
past few years, published author Michelle Rodriguez has been sharing her
stories with the Phantom community, exploring the original characters
and giving them new adventures and reasons for hope. Take a journey with
her through a love story as sensual as it is eternal. “Manifestations
of a Phantom’s Soul” is a collection of ten of her most loved stories
online combined with two that have never been read before. Whether in
the mood for something dark and passionate or something sweet and
romantic, you will find a story featuring the disfigured Opera Ghost and
his true love and learn that it is more than a face that defines a man.
MY RATING: 5 STARS
And now for my rather lengthy review as posted on GoodReads:
Oh boy, am I ashamed I
didn't review this faster! The only problem is that it's so darn hard to
review story collections...especially the good ones. It's so easy to
just go on and on about them!
I was jumping for joy when I heard
that the wonderfully talented Michelle Rodriguez was publishing some of
her amazing Phantom stories, and to see not only several of my
favorites, but new ones as well, made my day! I laughed, cried, you
know, the whole nine yards. Maybe even ten, because Ms. Rodriguez knows
how to get to you. It's impossible to pick one single favorite, so I'm
going to look over my notes and share a few thoughts on a few specific
"To Look With Blinded Eyes" - This one has been a
favorite of mine for a looong time. And it's no wonder why, really.
Take, for instance, this line: "At least her fear I could control when
her heart was full of lies anyway." That's just heartbreaking, and
that's only the tip of the iceberg! Erik's musings on love feel spot-on,
and I go from crumbling to melting in the span of a few paragraphs. The
tragedy and scope of his character are perfectly detailed in this
piece, the love, the pain, the self-loathing, and the certifiable hope.
"Monsters and Masks" - I was first struck by Erik's
views of masquerades, and struck hard. It's not a game for him; he's
like everyone else only when they pretend. What's only imaginary for
others is real for him, and that just...it hurts, man. It hurts. A
maskless Erik being the most intimate possibility of all is a nice
detail, because it's true. But I also feel pity for Raoul, loving
Christine as he does, yet she hides everything from everyone until she's
alone with Erik...and I love the phrase "the truth in the darkness."
Love it! Love it to pieces!
"Something Like A Promise" - This
would be one of those new never-before-seen ones, and it didn't
disappoint. It's rather decadent...bittersweet, yet with just the right
amount of fluff. And hey, look at that! Philippe is here! And...wait for
it...I cried! I swear, this woman turns me into the biggest darn baby!
Anatomy of a Kiss" - I'm just going to quote straight from my notes on
this one, as my thought processes on it were vaguely amusing: Why should
so much hang on a kiss? Why are they so important, and if they really
are, why are they treated so lightly? Christine's confusion in thinking
she'd made a mistake in kissing Erik if she was supposed to be in love
with Raoul, then that her kisses with Raoul since the opera were lies
after all drove home how mixed up she is. (Recognizing Raoul's worth,
but damn it, he's just not Erik! Sob!) I like her hurt at being
upbraided in her own choice and her grudge with Erik on that issue. The
walking sin comment was really striking, him hiding his identity with
the mask, and her hiding hers with the wedding gown, and also a tender
image of him holding her in his arms. Sigh-worthy in every aspect. Erik
assuming she lied when she kissed him, but being so confused because he
doesn't know what a kiss should be, and asking her to make it a lie so
he can learn...sob! Going about it as if it was all an experiment was
bizarre and genius! Reject Raoul and the lies she felt for him and
embrace the truth that comes with kissing Erik! See the light,
Christine! See it! Clever observation in that they've only ever lied to
each other, so how could they possibly see the truth when it's ringing
the doorbell? Short, sweet, and moving.
"Lie To Me" - Favorite!
Favorite! (Well, one of them, anyway...) So damn awesome! Intense,
seductive, and dark indeed, but in more ways than one. I LOVED
Christine's musing in the first few paragraphs. Has this darkness in her
soul always existed, or is it of Erik's creation? Is she evil because
of it? Will the world see it on her? It sickens her, but she doesn't
care, she's that far gone. You know, it's rare to find a Christine so
dark, yet sound so in character. And this Erik is...just...WOW! So
aggressive, and I mean aggressive, yet still longing for her
love and so wounded that she won't give it. He's not so much the Phantom
here so much as a man holding on with both hands to what he has but
wishing he had even more. He really does love her, but all she is
willing to admit to is the desire he inspires within her. I didn't cry; I
wanted to beat my head against a wall. It has that effect on you.
Passionate Interlude" - Another new one, and...WOW! Good God, I wasn't
expecting THAT! Naughty! Kinky! Scandalous! Holy cow! Fluff, you say? I
think NOT!...no, wait, that ending has the warm fuzzy feeling inherent
to fluff...all I can say is, boy, this was FUN!
Now, about that rumor I hear about a second volume...
You like Phantom, you say? Then by all means READ THIS! READ IT, I SAY!
*cough* You know, if you want...
Your humble book nerd,