I wanted to like this one more than i did. I hate when i dislike a classic because i feel like i'm just dumb and i'm missing something, but other negative reviews of this book make me feel a little bit better about the way i feel about it. (Also, it seems to me that a lot of the positive reviews are heavily influenced by the movie, which definitely skews things.)
I was mildly interested in the plot. I think the story could have been told much better, mainly by following characters who were more directly involved with it. Instead, we get a lot of information second-hand and the action is interrupted by insignificant side stories. It was really slow and uninteresting at times.
The phantom was probably the most interesting character and yet he still wasn't very well developed. I thought i'd learn more about him in the book, but i didn't. I didn't find it very easy to sympathize with him either as i felt i was supposed to. The rest of the characters were flat and dull, in my opinion.
I almost liked how Leroux tried to pass this all of as a real event except that considering the descriptions of the phantom and a random rat-herder, there's no way that was a true story. Had the phantom been more realistic (and the rat-herder not existed, maybe?), i would have liked that aspect of it better.
The book did explain the "Keep your hand at the level of your eyes!" thing better than the 2004 musical did, although, there was a very elaborate explanation that was mostly unrelated information, so that was kind of silly.
*Review written on May 13, 2014.*