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 Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas

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Gabby81
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PostSubject: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:43 pm

This short story begins around the time that the counterweight of the chandelier falls, killing an audience member. The Phantom kidnaps Christine and takes her to live in his lair. She finds that Raoul is being held captive by the Phantom, who reveals to her that his name is Erik. She has a choice: marry Erik or Raoul dies. She presents Erik with a deal: he releases Raoul, she will remain with him for five years. He finally accepts.

The story depicts the life they lived during their five-year marriage (Erik insists they are married so as not to dishonor Christine’s name). It is a life that seems to take Christine aback, as it is not nearly what she believed it would be. They spent their days immersed in their music, and the nights tangled in the throes of passion.

As days turn to years, and the day of Christine’s departure draws closer, Erik becomes morose and sullen. At this point he becomes very ill, due to infections in his jaw. Christine nurses him to the best of her abilities. As Erik lays ill, he decides now is the time to talk to Christine of his final wishes. He asks that upon his death (which she will be informed of), he would like her to return to bury him, along with the ring he gave her (which had belonged to his mother) as well as his music. He also tells her of the triggers that will seal his home forever.



I loved this story. Perhaps it's because I am a romantic at heart, and believe that Erik truly loved Christine and would do anything for her. It is also not glossed over as a fluffy love story, as it includes the difficult and trying times they spend as a couple.

I found that Christine's character in this story is very dominant. Normally she is regarded as being dominated by Erik. Here she often displays a power over him. When he "misbehaves", she tells him, and is not very nice in doing so. Also, whenever he is without his mask, even during their lovemaking, she often makes derogatory comments, calling him disguting and a hideous beast.

We don't see much of Raoul in this story, simply the scene where Christine has to make her decision to marry Erik or Raoul dies.

This is where I melted two stories together in another thread. In this story, Erik is a murderer. He killed Joseph Buquet, and others. He enjoys going to the public guillotines to watch as people are executed. But, after life began with Christine, he began to change. He still had many of his dark, disturbing thoughts, but he also learned how to have control over his impulses. He is often very submissive to Christine, begging her forgiveness for some of his outbursts. He has now learned love, even though it isn't explicitly mentioned in the story, Christine does love him. He found out what it was like to have someone love him, touch him, caress him, something he had never even imagined in his life before Christine.

A little long winded, sorry, but I love the story. I think the author did a wonderful job in writing this. If you are able to read it, do, because it is worth the time Smile
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PhantomnessFay
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Sun Aug 31, 2008 9:50 pm

Brava! Your synopsis was magnificent! Obviously, you enjoyed the story.

In your opinion, did you find the characters in character or not? Sounds like Christine was not, because she was stronger.

What did you not like about the story?

Tell us here were you found this little gem.

Thank you.
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Gabby81
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Sun Aug 31, 2008 10:41 pm

I didn't really find that the characters were in character. We've already seen that Christine has become the dominant one, whereas Erik is now the submissive. Even though Erik is madly in love with Chrstine, and would do anything for her, I believe that he would have held onto his control. Maybe if the story had continued, this is how it would have gone, submitting completely to her for love?

What do I think of the story? Well, like I said, I loved it! I found that the writer showed a side of Erik (and Christine) that we've never seen. It shows that Erik is capable of shedding some of his disturbing ideals, and becoming more like a "regular" man. He learns to trust Christine, by allowing her to venture out in the streets (though according to the story, he does follow her at times). He now knows love, given and received. The things that made his so disturbed are being chipped away, and revealing the man he could be. He could be sensitive, trusting and loving. He was just never given the chance before this!

Here's where to find the story :
http://www.suzymckeecharnas.com/biblio.html

Scroll down the page until you come to shorter prose work, and this story is 3rd from the top. The link takes you fictionwise ebooks, where you have to purchase it (but it's only a few dollars)
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PhantomnessFay
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Mon Sep 01, 2008 3:09 pm

Thank you for a lovely review Gabby81. Has anyone else read this?

Don't know about anyone else, but I will definitely check this one out. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Mon Sep 01, 2008 8:39 pm

I was definately pleased with it. I have to say, a certain subject in the book surprised me. And it doesn't give away the plot. After Erik and Christine are married, the phantom begins to visit Christine at night, first in complete darkness, then with a candle and askes her to remove her gown so can look at her. Only after a few night, Christine tells Erik to take off his mask and motions him into her bed. They have a intensely passion sexual intimacy, nearly every night, and miss each other terribly if they go a few days without. Christine never lets Erik come to her with his mask on, she insists it is off, always. There may be other stories out there that discuss this, but I'm not that far yet. I never thought that Christine would be so willing to have sex with the phantom, though I assumed it would happen once they were married. And Erik is a completely tender lover. I don't really know what I would have expected, but this did kind of throw me for a loop. Does anyone have other scenarios like this? Or what do you think about Erik and Christine's sexual relationship?
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PhantomnessFay
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Tue Sep 02, 2008 1:44 am

Judging from the original novel, Christine may not have looked upon the Phantom as anything more than a father figure. His voice mesmerized, but he was pitiful in his pleas to her and this is what she offered, pity.

Most other versions whether from film or Phan fic, we see a wide range of opinions.

In my own opinion, I believe Christine may have considered Erik as more than a mentor or father, but circumstances led to a very different end.

The real Erik as Leroux described him, was horrific in looks, but deep down, only wanted to be loved, despite his actions.
If he had looked like other men and did not live five cellars beneath the Opera House, the young diva may have married him instead of Raoul.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Tue Sep 02, 2008 3:51 pm

I think you had mentioned this in another thread I had wrote on, where I posed the question as to whether or not Christine would view the phantom as a father figure. You replied that it was likely she had issues with men, first her father etc. She may have had boundary issues there, not being able to tell the difference between the love of a father and the love of a suitor. I know in the novel, when Raoul tells Christine that he hates Erik, and asks her if she hates him to she says no. She's terrified of him, but it's like she can't hate him, after everything he's done for her. Like I said, I don't know where this goes yet, cause Raoul just shot Erik (however real this is, I don't know, maybe it was a dream!). What interests me are the many different levels that authors are able to take this relationship to. I'm trying to not read anything other than Leroux's book, cause then I get all confused! Lol
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PhantomnessFay
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:36 pm

Several authors of Phan fic have taken liberties to say Erik either injured Raoul or killed Christine and later died of grief or whatever.

When you have finished reading the original novel, allow it to absorb into your mind. Then read the other Phan fics. It will be easier. I know had to do it that way.

Cheers to you. cheers
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:13 am

I'm not meaning this to be critical or anything, and I haven't read any phanfic save for the one I reviewed, but I can't imagine a situation where the phantom would kill Christine! Now that I've finished the book, I'm going to go back and read it again, maybe a chapter at a time and journalling each chapter. That way I can read some of the phanfics posted without getting too confused Smile
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PhantomnessFay
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:38 pm

He was the cause of her death and it was an accident. In the book Progeny and The Phantom of Manhatten the endings are close.
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Thu Sep 04, 2008 7:24 pm

I'll have to take a look at those. The Phantom of Manhattan is one at the top of my list. I'll be curious to see how it works out. You used the phrase "cause of her death" which leads me to believe that it wasn't just outright murder. So much to read, so little time Smile
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PhantomnessFay
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:54 pm

When you read The Phantom of Manhatten, remember, this is the one most Phans despise, including me. This is the same which ALW wants to use as the basis for his Phantom sequel.

Oh, the pain, the pain of it all! affraid
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PostSubject: Re: Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas   Thu Sep 04, 2008 9:32 pm

Lol...I knew that AWL's sequel was going to follow that book, and I haven't heard many positive reviews from Phans. But, I still have to read it! You just might see some angry, frustrated posts while I do Smile
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Beauty and the Opera or The Phantom Beast by Suzy Mckee Charnas

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