The Music Box Girl by K A Stewart #SPFBO

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MusicboxThe Music Box Girl was my sixth SPFBO book (details here.).  This is a book that borrows very heavily from the Phantom of the Opera story but brings something new to the tale with the addition of steampunk elements and a most unexpected ‘phantom’.  To be honest I had a good time with this one.  It’s got a good pace, the focus isn’t all on the musical elements, which I did worry about going in but needn’t have done so, and whilst there is a bit of a cheesy feel to the ending I found this a quick and enjoyable read.

At the start of the story we make the brief acquaintance of a couple of characters sorting through the clutter in an attic when they come across an unknown manuscript and this is where the story begins.

We start with a hopeful young man called Anton as he follows his dreams to the Opera House hoping to become the next tenor.  The role is currently filled, albeit it by a fellow who is past his prime and is also something of a prima donna to boot.  Anton ends the day without an audition in sight but with a job under his belt working with the stage crew.  Anton has a wonderful voice, full of promise, if in need of a bit of tutoring.  Waiting in the wings, of course, is the character that everyone believes to be the ghost of the Opera House, a character that wants the performance to be perfect and sees in Anton the opportunity to accomplish that goal.  All Anton needs is a few lessons from a master performer.

I won’t go too much more into the plot, this is a fast paced book that makes for a remarkably quick read so there’s no need for me to be throwing out spoilers left and right.

The characters – the primary focus is Anton and of course the woman who reappears in his life, an adventurer known as Bess.  These two were childhood friends but as their relationship began to develop, and perhaps teetered on the edge of something more, Bess was sent away to school by her mother who was only too aware of the inappropriateness of such a match.  For years Bess has travelled the world, taking part in adventures with her stories being written about on a regular basis in the newspapers back home.  She doesn’t want to stay at home and wear corsets – and who can blame her – she longs for something more, only returning begrudgingly home to recharge her batteries after her last jaunt went a little bit pear shaped.  Of course, the fates intervene and not only does Anton find himself performing on the opening night but Bess, accompanying her old friend and husband on a rare night out, find themselves with box seats.  And voila – the two are reunited.

Again, I won’t go into the mystery character – other than to say here lies jealousy, obsession and danger.

The setting is Detroit.  A bustling hive of activity.  Home to the invention of automatons that are now used far and wide it has become the centre of innovation and culture.  The Opera House is the gleaming gem in the Detroit crown.

What did I like about this, there’s mystery and intrigue, secret passages, ghosts, steampunk elements, a mild romance, jealousy, murder and chase scenes that end in escape by dirigible.  This is a fast paced read, the pages just fly by and I found myself wanting to read on to find out what was really going on.  There is enough attention to detail to put you into the frame without being overdone and the author manages to create a lingering feeling of creepy suspense and provides the place with a touch of old fashioned gothic.

Did I have criticisms.  Yes.  This could have used a little more finesse.  Certain elements were rather cheesy, particularly the ending.  The characters are not particularly deep and certain elements of the story didn’t entirely make sense, or at least certain actions of some of the characters.  I think if you were of a mind to, you could probably pick a few holes here and there but to be honest, I wasn’t of a mind to – I was, purely and simply, enjoying the fact that I could so easily sink into the story and enjoy the entertainment.

A good read, not particularly ground breaking I suppose but a new twist on an old tale with plenty of action and drama to help you power through it.

 

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7 Responses to “The Music Box Girl by K A Stewart #SPFBO”

  1. Nathan

    Looks interesting enough. I don’t know if I love Phantom enough to go looking for homages to it but I can see the appeal.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It was an entertaining book actually. Very easy to read and fast paced.
      Lynn 😀

  2. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    You had me at “Phantom of the Opera” 🙂
    And sometimes it’s good to just go with the flow and enjoy a story, while our inner nitpicker takes a nap…

    • @lynnsbooks

      Exactly. I did enjoy this – it was a very quick and entertaining read. 3.5 of 5 stars I would say.

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I love the sound of the premise. Wendy is reviewing this one next, so I’m quite curious to hear her thoughts now.

  4. My 8th book: Final Stage: #SPFBO 16 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart.  Review here. […]

  5. My 9th book: Final Stage: #SPFBO 16 | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] The Music Box Girl by K.A. Stewart.  Review here. […]

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