Released: August 7th 2007
Published by: NAL TradeOne of the world's most beloved stories as it has never been told before, Unmasqued is a novel of breathtaking historical erotica.
His exquisite obsession...
Christine Daaé heard rumors of the hideous Phantom said to haunt the great Opera House in 19th-century Paris. But its youngest and brightest star knows something no one else does-the truth. For in the darkness she thrills to the deep velvet timbre of his arousing voice, and quivers to the soft strokes of his leather-gloved fingers. He is real. Her inspiration. Her Ange de Musique. Her liberator.
Her erotic awakening...
Condemned to the catacombs below, Erik has desired his obsession from the shadows, careful to keep his identity, and his secret, in the dark. Only he understands Christine's extraordinary talents and her beauty. Only he can pleasure her like no man has before. But his sensual power comes with a price-and a risk to everyone who stands between them. For Christine too is succumbing to her most forbidden and dangerous desires-and to the Phantom who's making them all come true. (Description from goodreads.com)
Unmasqued is an erotic novel re-telling the tale of the Phantom of the Opera with Erik, the opera house phantom, being the misunderstood and sometimes villainous hero. The story follows Erik lurking in the shadows as Raoul, the Vicomte, attempts to court the beautiful Christine. This worries and angers Erik, because Christine's talent not only attracts Raoul, but his elder brother Philippe, the Comte, as well.
I have never read a novel with a serious BDSM motif before. The sexual control and dominating nature of the characters is very different from what I'm use to reading. It was exciting at times and others it was a little terrifying. Erik's character controlled Christine, it seems, out of self preservation more then anything. He was to afraid to let Christine see the hideous half of his face, so controlling her sexually allowed him to be with her and remain in control. Christine definitely shows that she was more then happy to oblige her strict tutor in more then singing lessons, because even though Erik tied her up, pleasured her, and essentially forced himself on her, he never really forced anything. It's difficult to describe their relationship in the beginning.
Phillippe was a whole new character, no, monster I think is more accurate. His twisted sexual desires went farther then I what I was comfortable reading the first time around. There were moments where I was generally appalled at Phillippe's dark, twisted behavior to where I had to put the book down. The last three quarters of the novel were like this. Thank God there was a happy ending or I would have given Unmasqued a drastically lower grade.
I have never read the original Phantom of the Opera, or seen the musical film adaptation. From other reviews I have read, this book is greatly similar to the musical version. I've seen both good and bad critiques because of this. Many people were irritated that this wasn't historically accurate, others were excited by the romantic change up. For me, the whole point of a re-telling is to entertain and that is exactly what Unmasqued did for me. I was entertained. I was also shocked. So much of this book was new territory for me and I think that is what I enjoyed most about it. I'm curious to see about what other twisted re-tellings Ms. Gale has in the works.