Bookish posts

Review: Phantom’s Dance by Lesa Howard

Title: Phantom’s Dance
Author: Lesa Howard
Publisher: Boot in the Door Publications
Pub Date: March 1st 2014
Pages: 342
Source: Netgalley
Format: E-Arc
Rating: 1/5 stars

Synopsis

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.

My Thoughts

I was really excited when I saw this book on Netgalley. Back when I first started blogging I took part in the cover reveal for this books and the synopsis really interested me and I knew I would love to read this. However this book completely missed the target for me 😦 The Phantom of The Opera is such a great story and I’ve never read a retelling of it before so I was really excited for this book.

However my biggest problems with this book is very spoilery so I’m going to do a short review with no spoilers and then below it I’m going to include a spoiler review. Don’t worry it will be noted very well that the spoiler section is coming up.

Phantom’s Dance is a YA retelling of The Phantom of the Opera. However I felt like the Phantom story line wasn’t really prominit in the story until about 75% of the book is over. We do “meet” the phantom earlier in the book but the plot doesn’t move on until way later in the book. I felt more like I was reading a book focused on performance anxiety, family struggles, and a budding romance. It felt like the Phantom was an after thought to make the story more interesting and  compelling to readers to pick it up.

One of the best parts about The Phantom of the Opera is the development of Erik the phantom. Your suppose to feel for him and have sympathy for him and also fear him a little bit. However there really wasn’t anything happening in his development that he read as a really flat character. There was no connection or feelings to him on my part. I was really let down and disappointed in the phantom aspect of this book.

Christine our main character wasn’t very likable. She was bratty and annoying and the decisions she made were horrible and impulsive. She’s so hard to connect with and makes the story honestly unpleasant. She did have a horrible family life during the book so some of the way she was behaving was understandable if you’re compassionate about tough family lives.

Also there is a love interest in the book named Raoul who Christine likes and goes on dates and what not. But he felt like he was filler and didn’t add anything to the story other than to add fuel to the fire for the phantom later in the book.

Now On To The Spoilers

My biggest problem is with Christine and how she handles the situations she was put in. Erik the phantom rapes her very late in the book. The way the sexual assault is handled was so horrible.

Christine wakes up the next day and tells no one.

The only thing she did was tell Erik never to call her again and that she would never go and seem him again. Really???

Christine walks around completely destroyed and feels she’s ruined for ever. She evidently tells her best friend what happened to her and her friend doesn’t do anything to help her. She decides to break up with her boyfriend because she feels “ruined” after what Erik did.

Now to be fair I know that a lot of victim feel shame and are terrified of their rapists.And some react to the event in the manor that Christine did but I felt the author had a great opportunity to empower Christine and make other victims feel empowered if she would of made Christine react to the rape. Made her lockup Erik forever or that he got punished in some way. Instead of him getting away with it without even a slap on the wrist. This book is written for Teens who unfortunately have the highest percentile of rapes unreported and it feels like the book is promoting not reporting a crime or that the victim should feel ashamed of something that happened to him.

Erik wasn’t just a threat to herself but to lots of other people as well. He had hurt and threatened others lives and she still did nothing to stop him or the things he was threatening to do. Another character was hospitalized earlier because of Erik and another two were assaulted by Erik later that could of been avoided if Christine would of said something sooner.

This HUGE issue really made my rating for this book go WAY down. It for sure not a book I would recommend to anyone.

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