Paisley Swan Stewart wraps up her truly epic revision of the Phantom of the Opera with the Angel's Song. I reviewed the first part here. That version has been out of print and sought by Phantom fans for a while but the good news is that the whole saga is now available as a trilogy and any serious lover of the Phantom's story will want to own this gorgeous collection. I confess, I fell in love with Ms. Stewart's Erik right from the beginning and in the final book, without giving anything away, let me just say that he is, here, a complicated man and musical genius whose madness may shock you but whose longing and love for Christine will break your heart. He is a great romantic who would do anything, anything possible to win her but whose obsession might be too much, too grown up, for a young girl to deal with.
This story is beautifully imagined and truly romantic and the author breathes new life into the characters of Louise Giry and Meg and Raoul. The Paris Opera House comes alive with all its workings and drama on stage and behind the scenes and in the rehearsal halls. Erik's grotto is a unique take on his lair and described in such detail you can practically see the candles flickering and hear the organ playing and Ms. Stewart has written Erik some lovely music, music that you can imagine Christine singing and captivating the jaded Opera audience.
Christine has grown, over the course of this trilogy, from the little orphan girl taken in by Madame Giry to an amazingly talented young woman who is trying to sort out her feelings for the man who has been her Angel, teacher and protector and who she may not be able to live with but knows she can't live without.
I've read many Phantom books and the ones I've read I've loved. I've loved each take on Erik and each author's vision for the life he might have led, after the Leroux ending. Ms. Stewart's Chanson is like the Gone With the Wind of Phantom fiction. It's a journey that takes you to some dark places but is also filled with hope and light. It may make you cry out "Oh No!" (and it probably will. Just warning you!) and it may make you weep all over the pages (or e-book). It may make you feel a lot of things, but most of all, it is a testament to love and a love story that never dies.
(video from Youtube, a Phantom of the Opera fanfiction-based video created at the request of Swansong/Swansinger. Music by Nathan Allen Pinard; sung by Bonnie Anne Pinard)