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Sunday, January 9, 2011

review: the golden mask by Jenypher Ryley

"Whose is that shape in the shadows? Whose is that face, in the mask?” - from the musical by the same name

The Golden Mask
Paris, 1888. years after the tragic events that befell the Opera House, it opens its doors to the public once more for a fresh start and to dispel rumors that the Opera Ghost still haunts the place. Messieurs Jean-Luke Moncharmin, nephew  of Monsieur Armand Moncharmin and Milo Richard, grandson of Monsieur Firmin Richard are now the new managers. aspiring ballerinas line up for the auditions. among them is Krystl, sister of Christine Daae. Jean-Luke and Milo are delighted to have found their swan. no sooner than the auditions for the new season are over when accidents and other bizarre occurrences take place.
The Golden Mask, published by Dorrance Publishing, is Jenypher Ryley's tribute to the late writer Gaston Leroux and actor Lon Chaney. she has introduced new characters such as Vesperia, Krystl's best friend and fellow ballerina; Charles Voltiere , the new patron; Volchier, the scene-shifter who replaces Joseph Buquet and Jovita, Krystl's handmaid. Christine Daae, Raoul De Chagny, Madame Giry and Meg are also reintroduced.
readers who have read Gaston Leroux's novel are in for a surprise and more. Ms. Ryley has expanded on the family histories of the De Chagnys and the Daaes. Erik Dessler, the Phantom or Opera Ghost, has his own history as well. long-buried secrets are revealed by eyewitnesses, diaries, manuscripts and old photographs.
personally, Leroux's work is one of my favorite classics and i embrace any film and stage adaptations or books written about the Opera Ghost (OG). The Golden Mask is a welcome addition to my other OG books like Susan Kay's Phantom and Frederick Forsythe's The Phantom of Manhattan.

incidentally, i was fortunate enough to see Andrew Lloyd Weber's musical The Phantom of the Opera at
Curran Theater (Wikipedia)
the Curran Theater in San Francisco. i was mesmerized, enthralled, impressed and thrilled to the core to hear such talented actors sing and to watch all these amazing special effects happening right before my very eyes. it was a truly magical experience.
author Jenypher Ryley deserves praise for her imagination and for continuing the Opera Ghost's endearing legend. i did find her short sentences and repetitious use of proper names distracting and disrupting though. other than these, i was still absorbed by the story. for OG aficionados and gothic fans, you are in for a treat. The Golden Mask is available in paperback and Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) formats at http://www.dorrancebookstore.com/goldenmask.html

my personal rating is: 

The Golden Mask may contain material not suitable for younger readers 17 & under

Disclosure of Material Connection: i received a free pdf copy of this book from Dorrance Publishing.  i did not receive any payment in exchange for this review nor was I obligated to write a positive one. all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and may not necessarily agree with those of the author, the book's publisher and publicist or the readers of this review. this disclosure is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255, Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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