book, Book Review

A Phantom Enchantment by Eve Marie Mont

About the Book:Book - A Phantom Enchantment
Author: Eve Marie Mont
Publisher: Kensington
Source: Publisher Provided
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon ▪ Goodreads
Series: Unbound, book 3
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Young Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: Stories that wander into reincarnation or a dreamscape territory are hit or miss for me. Some are so imaginative they pull us in with their narrative, others just seem creepy which from a reader’s perspective is hard to overcome. This story is the third novel in a trilogy that follows the now 18-year-old Emma Townsend, who in her senior year of high school attends a Paris school along with her friend Elise. Despite the allure and excitement of foreign living, Emma’s days are spent in study and missing her boyfriend, Gray. Not long after she arrives, a call from her father brings news that Gray has gone missing following a Coast Guard rescue mission he was a part of and now despite their search, the worst is assumed. Refusing to believe Gray is gone, Emma clings to hope that the search will find him safe and sound…

Only when Emma begins to see Gray in her dreams, it becomes clear he isn’t the same guy she left behind.

Marketed as a kind-of The Phantom of the Opera re-telling, I’ve not read the prior two books in the Unbound trilogy (based off Jane Eyre and The Scarlet Letter respectively) and in all honesty, I probably won’t bother picking them up. It’s not that I didn’t like this story, it just didn’t come across as the most interesting young adult novel I’d ever or am likely to read. “Waking dream” or not, I was annoyed with how different Gray was in Emma’s dreams which we later realize is all just mental preparation for how he will react to his near-death experience, something that leaves us with sympathy for him. Admittedly the Phantom references were fun, particularly during the story portions when we could easily pull out scenes from the popular opera as are the pretty descriptions of the costuming or the grandeur of Paris. Without being too subjective, I do have to say that Emma is a wishy-washy sort heroine who in my opinion is too undecided for my opinion – one minute she’s madly devoted, in love with Gray and the next thinking of another romantically. (Like with everything, this is not something I wish to be terribly critical of considering there are plenty of books that I adore with this same quality.) This leads to the thing I most respected about this author and the conclusion of the story. I’m the kind of girl who likes happy endings of the romance-y sort, not almost happy-endings.

This book could be a source of frustration for select readers – particularly those who have been with it from the beginning – considering it’s an ambiguous ending. For me, the ending was wise – the author knew what she was doing when taking a step back and writing an open-ended conclusion that allows us in a sense to write our own ending. An ending that hopefully when it comes time for that fairytale, it will involve a more mature Emma Townsend.

Content: there is some swearing (sh*t) and at least two uses of the f-word. Some scenes involve teens “making out” and thinking of having sex. Various other crudities are thought/spoken. Teens go to bars/clubs.

Synopsis: Senior year in Paris means dazzling architecture, gorgeous cafés, and a hefty workload. But no matter how busy her days, Emma Townsend misses her Coast Guard boyfriend, Gray. That lonely ache might explain the unsettling whispers Emma hears in the school’s empty corridors, and the flickering images in her room’s antique mirror. Her foreboding only increases as she reads Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera and becomes lost in the Gothic masterpiece. When Gray goes missing during a rescue at sea, Emma refuses to believe the worst. In her strange waking dreams, Gray is very much alive, drawing Emma into a mysterious otherworld beyond her mirror. Friends worry that she’s losing her grip on reality. Emma half wonders if they’re right…and if her own story will end in a way she never envisioned… – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.

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