Manifestations, book five (technically speaking, that is. I hear volume four is on its way!)
Manifestations of a Phantom’s Soul: A Duet offers two novels by author Michelle Rodriguez that portray the power and passion behind the timeless story of the Phantom of the Opera.
In “Rib-Caged Hearts”, Erik realizes that he has a valid chance to win Christine’s heart as his forever. But as a rival from his past returns to taunt him and forces him to realize the sort of future he has to offer, he makes a seemingly selfless choice and is forced to suffer the consequences of callously giving true love away. As a new Opera Ghost rises to the throne, will Erik find a second chance at a heart he broke to pieces? Can he rewrite his definition of monster and instead play the hero to save Christine from the new ghost’s wrath?
And in “Unconditional”, after the final events at the opera house, Erik regrets a choice that sent Christine off with her Vicomte. For months, he seeks her out, desperate to repair his mistake. Will he be too late when he finally finds her? Will his past transgressions taint a love he could have had, or will Christine teach him the true meaning of unconditional love?
MY RATING: 5 STARS
I’m more and more convinced that Michelle Rodriguez’s writing is like a drug, a sugary-sweet, sizzling-hot, emotional-roller-coaster kind of drug. No matter how much I get, I just keep coming back for more. How reassuring, then, that she never disappoints!
“Rib-caged Hearts” first. It started off with a curve ball, and it just kept going from there. I can’t say much about the story without giving anything away, so I’ll focus on the other details. Such as…the writing! Lush as ever and poetic as can be. I mean…. “One small tremor could quake the world on its axis if it strikes the right fault line, and you… You are my tremor; you shake me to my bones.” The hopeless romantic in me adored this story. It takes the original themes of obsession and redemption, and takes them in a new direction. And while I knew how the story must end, it put me through the wringer first. Put another way… “Broken hearts hurt; there was no sugarcoating that proven fact. But sense reinterpreted the pain and insisted it meant he’d loved, genuine and real, and wasn’t it better to live and feel than to exist with a heart in a cage?”
And then there’s “Unconditional.” There are curve balls, and then there are CURVE BALLS. What I loved seeing here was Christine having her greatest reason so far to be strong and not only rising to meet that need, but shaping into a mature woman and not the naive girl from the Opera House. Again, I can’t say much, but I think this is my new favorite among Michelle’s Phantom stories, beating out even The Opera Ghost Unraveled. Gasp! If I was to list my favorite quotes, I’d have to copy Chapter Four in its entirety! There are so many different factors that make this one stand out for me, and more than anything, I’m just glad that I got to read it.
Bottom line: If you haven’t read any of the Manifestations collections yet, what’s wrong with you? And if you haven’t read A Duet yet, what the heck is wrong with you?!