I wanted to like this, since I enjoyed her other book, but this was far too dark for me to enjoy as something marketed as an erotica. Also, the ending...moreI wanted to like this, since I enjoyed her other book, but this was far too dark for me to enjoy as something marketed as an erotica. Also, the ending felt unfinished.(less)
This book suffers terribly from that "target age of readers is smarter than the plot of the book" syndrome. Never do that. (view spoiler)[If your plot...moreThis book suffers terribly from that "target age of readers is smarter than the plot of the book" syndrome. Never do that. (view spoiler)[If your plot revolves around a prophecy about a male, make sure you have more than one male character to keep people guessing. As soon as they brought up the concept of "the Potential", I knew who it was, and I was practically waiting the whole rest of the book for Scarlett to figure it out. (hide spoiler)] It's not fun to watch characters go on and on for 2/3 of the book trying to figure out something you already have. And with it being so blatantly obvious, even with the misinformation she tried to throw in, it's just boring to read. *sigh*
I was also so tired of hearing about the hunt the hunt the hunt hunting wolves I am a hunter potential wolves hunting hunt hunt potential hunt AUGH. The whole book was repetitive in vocabulary, and scene structure. Hunt, sit around in apartment, hunt, sit around in apartment.
One dimensional, boring, stale. Her characters had potential (oh noooo I said it again), but the love story was hard to watch. (Is a relationship between a 16 year old and a 21 year old weird? I was kinda gettin' weird vibes. I know that when you're older 5 years isn't much of a difference but when you're a teen it's a huge difference.)
If there had been more things to make the world more interesting, more characters, more places, I don't know, I feel like it could have been better, since the writing style was fine. It just felt like we were stuck in a boring box doing the same things over and over. Ah well.
As I said, I'm trying to get the last of the YA I bought off of my bookshelf for good so I'm slowly gettin' through these. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I read this because I have been a lifetime fan of the musical, so I'm going to address this review to fans of the musical. If you are a literature per...moreI read this because I have been a lifetime fan of the musical, so I'm going to address this review to fans of the musical. If you are a literature person instead, this review won't be helpful.
So the question is "if I like the musical, should I try reading this?"
And the answer is I don't even know. It took me from May to October to get through this beast. I suppose I'm glad I did it. I wanted to know the source material for my favorite musical and well, now I know. It was sort of a major life goal and it took a lot of discipline to get through it. The short answer, the musical is far better. Why? Because the musical did what Hugo couldn't: edit.
Hugo is not the best storyteller. Oh sure, the actual narrative story is good, the problem is that he digresses so much from his main point to give us exhaustive encyclopedic knowledge about anything and everything he knows about. "I'm not going to give you an account of history, but wait, here's everything I know about the battle of Waterloo." (Thanks Hugo, thanks.) There is so much unnecessary stopping and starting of plot to give us essays on his personal idea of morality and now I see why an abridged version exists. I read the whole thing though, even the appendices which served zero purpose. He even follows up what I would say is the very climax of the book (to me anyway):
...with then a history of the sewers and a now antiquated essay on how people should turn their shit into fertilizer....before remembering he was telling a story and going back to Jean Valjean... everything is so in pieces it's just hard to grade this book. If this were published today about half or more wouldn't make it past an editor. In my edition of the book (Penguin) the forward literally apologizes for Hugo's inability to tell the story in one cohesive stretch.
However, what are the good things?
For me it was seeing the differences between the musical and the book. Seeing the changes in character. Book Marius to me is quite a jerk, with the infuriating sense of honor that would easily land him a place in House Stark. Eponine's heroism isn't necessarily as heroic as one finds out once she delivers her rather frightening death speech.
And that, THAT is who I Dreamed a Dream was written about??? That gross disgusting man??? Oh jeez....
There are also unintentional moments of hilarity where I found myself laughing out loud at the book. Like Valjean spending his death letter writing about the business of bracelet making and then continuing to try to explain it when Cosette and Marius are at his bedside. Or like when Marius throws an outright fit, a prolonged tantrum, when he sees a bit of Cosette's leg that one time...
Ah well. Anyway...my advice is that if you are a diehard fan of the musical like me, then go ahead and try. I found it better to buy the Penguin version, as compared to the free translation which you can get from Amazon, because it make more sense to English speakers, a little more translation than the direct word for word. I found the free translation a bit uncomfortable. But it's up to you. However if you are merely curious, I would say don't make the effort unless you're ready to commit. For me it's a huge relief that it's over.
I enjoyed the journey, but it was a bit of hard work, and I'm glad that I can finally say: