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Monday, February 5, 2018

Book Review: The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb

02_The Phantom%27s Apprentice

The Phantom’s Apprentice by Heather Webb
ARC, e-Book, 350 pages
Sonnet Press
February 6, 2018
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received for review with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine Daaé you’ve never seen before…

Christine Daaé sings with her violinist Papa in salons all over Paris, but she longs to practice her favorite pastime—illusions. When her beloved Papa dies during a conjurer’s show, she abandons her magic and surrenders to grief and guilt. Life as a female illusionist seems too dangerous, and she must honor her father’s memory.

Concerned for her welfare, family friend Professor Delacroix secures an audition for her at the Nouvel Opéra—the most illustrious stage in Europe. Yet Christine soon discovers the darker side of Paris opera. Rumors of murder float through the halls, and she is quickly trapped between a scheming diva and a mysterious phantom. The Angel of Music.

But is the Angel truly a spirit, or a man obsessed, stalking Christine for mysterious reasons tangled in her past?

As Christine’s fears mount, she returns to her magical arts with the encouragement of her childhood friend, Raoul. Newfound hope and romance abounds…until one fateful night at the masquerade ball. Those she cares for—Delacroix, the Angel, and even Raoul—aren’t as they seem. Now she must decide whom she trusts and which is her rightful path: singer or illusionist.

To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

I approach The Phantom’s Apprentice possibly from a different angle than many readers do – I have no point of reference from The Phantom of the Opera to compare to: not movie, stage performance, nor book! So Webb’s treatment here is a completely fresh slate for me.

One thing that drew me to this novel was the exploration of the spiritualist movement sweeping the globe at this time. We still find magic and mysticism fascinating today, but it would be even more so at a point in time where technologies were blossoming and it was easier to pull magic on people, but also it was something that people were afraid of as well. So for me, I wasn’t drawn to Webb’s take on Christine or reimagining of the classic, but more so for the world that the story inhabited. Right from the start, we get thrown into the spiritualist movement and the clashes between those who believe in it and those who are either afraid or find it foolish; this dichotomy is even shown in the perspectives of Christine and her father. The other aspect that fascinated me was the world of the opera. I have only read one other novel that explored this profession, and that one was set States-side, so it was a very interesting perspective with all the intrigue that surrounds it.

From reading the Author’s Note I understand that Webb’s goal was to flesh out a more well-rounded and self-possessed Christine than that provided in the original context. It is always maddening to see a woman pushed to the sidelines of a novel and be wilting or one-dimensional. However, at the same time, I do like to see the characters represented in a way that would be true to societal norms of the time. I felt that Christine walked the line fairly well here and felt that I was able to dig into who she was and what made her tick.

I found the plot to be fun and fascinating. There were moments toward the beginning where it did feel a little bit slow, where Christine is sort of moping for quite some time about her life and not having a direction; however, it does pick up substantially with the introduction of the Phantom. From that point forward the plot barreled ahead and I literally read half of the book in one sitting as I just didn’t want to put it down and find out how it would all resolve itself. I was rather satisfied with the ending too.

While I can’t gauge the enjoyment of someone who is a huge Phantom fan, as someone with no preconceived notions, I did enjoy much about this novel.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Heather Webb:

becoming josephine
Becoming Josephine
[My Review]

rodins lover
Rodin’s Lover
[My Review]

last christmas in paris
Last Christmas in Paris
[My Review]

fall of poppies_thumb[1]
Fall of Poppies
[My Review]

Find Heather Webb: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

Tour Wide Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we are giving away two paperback copies of The Phantom’s Apprentice! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below or on any of the participating blogs. If you have any questions please contact the HFVBT Tour Coordinator.

Giveaway Rules

  • Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
  • Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
  • Only one entry per household.
  • All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
  • Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

The Phantom's Apprentice

Follow the Tour!

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On HFVBT Website or on Twitter: #ThePhantomsApprenticeBlogTour

Monday, February 5
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, February 6
Review at The Lit Bitch
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Wednesday, February 7
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, February 8
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, February 9
Review at Trisha Jenn Reads

Saturday, February 10
Review at Bookish

Monday, February 12
Review at Creating Herstory

Tuesday, February 13
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Wednesday, February 14
Review at Clarissa Reads it All

Thursday, February 15
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Friday, February 16
Review at Baer Books

Monday, February 19
Review at Cup of Sensibility
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review at Bookworms Anonymous

Tuesday, February 20
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, February 21
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Monday, February 26
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. Thank you for this post - the book was new to me.

  2. Thanks so much for hosting The Phantom's Apprentice Blog Tour, Heather!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

  3. OOo! Interesting! I am intrigued for sure...

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