Saturday, January 14, 2017

Finally! The Perfect Sequel to the Phantom of the Opera - Brought to us by Mitzi Szereto and Ashley Lister!

The Opera ghost really existed. 
He was not, as was long believed, 
a creature of the imagination of the artists, 
the superstition of the managers, or a product
 of the absurd and impressionable brains
 of the young ladies of the ballet, 
their mothers, the box-keepers, 
the cloak-room attendants or the concierge.   
—Gaston Leroux

Circa 1870... “Love has never been blind. Lovers are forgiving, trusting and accepting. But only a witless fool would confuse those generosities with the idea that love is blind.” 
Christine laughed. It was a strangely melodic sound, conveying the richness of her soprano voice. Even though the room was as black as death, her merriment brightened the unlit corners and banished the gloom. For the first time, he realized he would miss her. “You’re not really that cynical, are you?” she asked. 
“I believe in love at first sight,” he replied with a grunt. “But I also believe it is often cured by a second glance.” 
She laughed again. She was a responsive audience for his weak quips; a bright flame to protect him from the darkness; a perpetual balm for the raw and bleeding wound that was his heart. And it pained him that he would have to let her go. 
“You’re just making jokes now,” she cautioned. “You’re having fun at my expense. Take off the mask and show me what you’re hiding under there.”

Phantom: The Immortal
By Mitzi Szereto
  and Ashley Lister

Let me tell you my credentials for this review... I have attended two live performances of the original Phantom of the Opera in Canada, have thus traveled down into the depths under the
Theatre where The Phantom lives, with the mist growing heavier and thicker the farther we went...and have sat directly

under the chandelier that started falling down, thrilling to the music, the story... Of course, the movie gave even a different perspective. The music haunts my heart... Thinking of the ending saddened me... Thus, I feel I am competent to know the story well enough to judge a worthy sequel to the original... For me, it presented everything I could have asked for...and more...

The more? Well, this story is a wonderful, erotic, tasteful presentation. For the review, I will covered the story since it is, really, the sequel to the original that I truly applaud... For those interested, I've prepared with permission of the authors, a continuation of the music and some excerpts as another posting... For it is the quality of the music in the presentation that makes the story great, don't you think?

Decade after decade, he had sat in his reserved box, living in the music of the operas that played in the theatre... Time had no meaning since Christine had left...why had he told her to go?! He was lost without her...And he waited, living in his secret location below the theatre, with provisions brought in by the latest friend of the one family that had supported him for so many years... How long must he wait?

Szereto and Lister takes us forward to answer The Phantom's question! The theatre staff are busily involved with the next production. This time Faust...

The introduction of Faust as the main opera in the sequel, immediately lends credibility to the sequel as worthy of acceptance. For, surely, without a continuation of the music world, the music of the night could not have continued...

It had not been long before The Phantom spotted the young ingenue who had come to audition for the part of Siebel..

The gossip meant nothing to him. He knew her name and that was enough to give fresh fuel to his hopes. “She won’t be Siebel,” he promised. “I want her to be Marguerite.” He looked away from Giry, admiring Christine’s delicate figure as she effortlessly commanded center stage and sang her way through “Faites-lui mes aveux.” Behind his inscrutable mask, his mind was already plotting ways he could secure Christine’s position as the opera’s heroine. 

She looks like his Christine...then he learns her name is also Christine! Could it be... Could it be... Christine?

Readers are not quite sure if Christine is the true Christine, reincarnated... But does it matter? This Christine is named Christine Delacroix. She, too, was a soprano and had sung in the Opera of the Phantom...

But an intriguing twist is presented that tightens the connection. She visits a sale of music memorabilia where a packet of letters written by the Christine Daae' from so long ago. Our new Christine is caught with the desire to have them--she had been one of the greatest sopranos of all time, after all. But a gentleman, Rezso, starts bidding against her... She kept bidding, knowing she didn't have the money, hoping he would stop and let her have them...

Surely it was fate that she should have Christine Daae's letters... and L'Opera Garnier her destiny!

She was irritated because the two had exchanged meaningful glances and she was upset that it was he who would get her letters. When he later presents them to her as a gift, she was smart enough to wonder what he wanted... But then, again, maybe she might want the same thing... A flirtation builds between these two, creating a similar but quite different conflict in this story...

But thoughts of him would come and then go, for by now she was reading Christine's letters... She hadn't known what they would be about...but she was soon entranced as she read about...them... 

Then, she was primed when she got the part, entered her dressing room to get ready and thought she'd heard him speak...

Although more than a century had passed, his senses could not resist the siren call on hearing that single name. It was a popular appellation—not uncommon among the constant stream of dancers and chorus girls who ebbed and flowed through the opera’s passages—but too many times before, he had been disappointed to find himself staring at an unworthy recipient of that resplendent title. Expecting to be disillusioned once more, promising himself he would never again be lulled by that misplaced hope, he squinted into the shadows from where she approached. She stepped beneath the glow of a naked bulb. “Christine?” he whispered. As never before, time stood still. He had a chance to admire the flawless perfection of her alabaster skin; the sultry sparkle of her deep brown eyes; and the absolute glory of her sleek, slender frame. The familiar fragrance of a Guerlain scent was suddenly so strong he could breathe nothing but its evocative perfume. She was dressed in jeans and a simple T-shirt, its light cotton fabric clinging to the supple curves of her breasts and abdomen. The denim hugged her legs and revealed narrow hips and an embraceable slender waist. For an instant, he wondered if the theater now housed two ghosts. Ready to step forward, not sure what he could say but knowing he needed to break the spell and grasp his destiny, he asked softly, “Christine? Is that you?”

Surely there are those, beside me, who wanted Christine to stay with the Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera... We knew that his face could never be so bad that we could not become accustomed and loved it as The Phantom should have been loved...

But there we are again, with two men vying for our new Christine in Phantom: The Immortal... I wished for...I wanted Christine to stay with the Phantom. Would she do the "right" think in this book?

Phantom: The Immortal prepares us sensuously and musically for love to be the dominant factor... Only when The Phantom works with Christine to prepare her for her new part as Marguerite... do we begin to see the madness, the obsession of the Phantom to ensure perfection from his Christine...for her to replace the Diva!

And will Christine be able to deal with his madness, especially since she has just met him and can only know him as the rumored opera ghost that has haunted the Theatre for so very long... Especially when Rezso sends roses after every performance and is pressing for more and more time with her, not being satisfied that she is practicing...

The twist regarding Christine's new role was exceptionally well done and fed into an exciting finale that was extraordinary... I must have been swooning at that point...😍 LOL...

This review is immediately followed by a music collection from the book to show the research, breadth of musical expertise as attributed to the sequel Opera. I believe that the story itself stands able to be accepted as a true sequel to the original. In one way, the eroticism almost detracted me from the impact of the storyline. (If you don't want to read an erotic book...don't buy this...) That is what led me to create the additional musical collection. At the same time, it will fulfill the wishes of many who had wanted more romantic involvement in the original opera... I know it is just my personal opinion when I add that the ending was...just...perfect! 

This book has been placed at the very top of my personal favorites! The combination of the music, the storyline and the eroticism makes it a recommended must-read from me for all Phantom Lovers!


Mitzi Szereto ( is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction. She has her own blog of humorous essays at Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog (, and a web TV channel Mitzi TV (, which covers the quirky side of London, England. Her books include Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) and Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles)—the cozy mystery/satire series co-authored with her sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo; The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance; Love, Lust and Zombies; Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; and Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death. Mitzi has pioneered erotic writing workshops in the UK and mainland Europe, teaching from the Cheltenham Festival of Literature to the Greek islands, as well as lecturing in creative writing at several British universities. Her anthology Erotic Travel Tales 2 is the first anthology of erotica to feature a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.   

Ashley Lister ( is a prolific writer, having written more than two dozen full-length novels and over a hundred short stories. His most recent titles include the Sweet Temptation series from HarperCollins and the horror novel Raven and Skull, which is now available. Aside from regularly blogging about writing, Ashley is also an occasional performance poet and teaches creative writing. He has hosted creative writing workshops at Eroticon, the annual conference for sex bloggers and erotica writers, and is the editor of Coming Together in Verse, a charity anthology of erotic poetry. Ashley is currently studying for a PhD in creative writing, focusing on short fiction. He lives in Lancashire in the UK.  He lives in Lancashire in the UK. Visit his blog