|I stole this image from Laura's blog ;-)|
There are many elements of Laura DeLuca’s Phantom that I absolutely love: the way Justyn and Rebecca adore The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux; the relationship between Justyn and his mother, for it shows a great example of how real a witchy family interacts; and more than anything, I’m still entranced by Justyn. I did a lot of nodding when he was discussing stereotypes and conventionality with Rebecca, especially when he said,
“I’m used to being the outcast. It comes with the territory.”
“Then why don’t you try to . . . I don’t know . . . make yourself a little less conspicuous.”
“I like who I am, Becca. Why should I change for people who don’t take the time to look past outward appearances and preconceptions?”
So very true, isn’t it? Some people are so busy trying to portraying the image the world wants to see that they forget to show who they actually are, and the latter is usually the more pleasing sight.
Once or twice I found myself wishing the novel was told from the point of view of Justyn, and then I realized that it wouldn’t be half as powerful if that had been the case. It was much more interesting and effective to see the world through Rebecca’s conformity-hazed glasses.
And I know Becca is the heroine, but my gods, I wanted to strangle her more than thrice. At one point she said that “The Gothic that everyone ridiculed and feared was gone. Lord Justyn was gone. And he was simply a boy, a boy falling in love with a girl.” I wanted to scream, “No! you blind (insert unsavory adjective here) he is still there, you are just finally seeing him as he is. And the “Lord Justyn” is not a mask; it is just part of him.
I stopped being so mad at her when she realized that “She was so stupid, so disloyal, so easily influenced by other people’s opinions.” That is not the end of Becca’s strange, and infuriating ways, but her behavior reflects certain realities so accurately that I couldn’t stay mad at her for long—Laura DeLuca did an amazing job at characterizing a girl who, at the beginning of Phantom, didn’t understand a thing about the world and people around her.
The end of the book was… startling. I’m not sure how I feel about it, yet. No, that’s not true, I am surprised. I wasn’t expecting the outcome that greeted me in the last few chapters. The characters changed in ways that, well… The ending was twisted and shocking. I’m still blinking a little.
Do not forget Laura is giving away a signed copy of Phantom, as well as a bundle of extra goodies. This giveaway, and all the Sexy, Dark & Bloody Fiction giveaways, will be over soon; please enter before 12:13pm, April 17th – yep, today ;-)