Usually I dislike a novel full of so many one-dimensional characters containing so many lengthy tangents going over descriptions that do not contributUsually I dislike a novel full of so many one-dimensional characters containing so many lengthy tangents going over descriptions that do not contribute to the plot or character development; unless one considers the architecture of the City of Paris to be a character in the novel. Somehow, Hugo defies my usual criteria for a good book and produced a novel deserving of its place among the greats of literature; a tragedy which can hold up against the best of Shakespeare.
I was not familiar with the story before reading the novel so I found much that surprised me in the plot. The novel starts out fairly light and humorous and sets the reader up for a happy ending. Alas, it was not to be as the story becomes darker, the characters become more desperate, and the plot eventually culminates in an unhappy end for all (almost all at least).
The Hunchback of Notre-Dame is peopled with wooden characters with a single tragic character flaw apiece. There is no character development in the novel and almost all of the characters have a single unhealthy obsession which ultimately becomes their tragic flaw. I normally don't have an issue with such characterization for shorter works like a Shakespeare play but usually find it boring and predictable in longer works like this 500+ page novel. The way that Hugo manages to avoid this fate is through the character of Quasimodo. He is as one-dimensional as the rest but unlike the others, he engenders a genuine sympathy in the reader. I had a similar feeling of empathy with the tragic character of Frankenstein's Monster.
Like Melville's Moby Dick, Hugo takes the reader on some descriptive and philosophical tangents. There are long sections of the book which contain lengthy descriptions of Parisian architecture, the architecture of Notre-Dane itself, the supremacy of Gothic architecture over all that came before and after, and a building as an expression of ideas. These tangents add nothing to the plot nor character development unless one considers the city itself as a character for which one could make a good argument.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good tragedy. For those who like audio books, the LibreVox recording is well done....more
Somehow I skipped this book in my Oz reading marathon. This book is an excellent followup to Ozma of Oz and it follows the adventures of Dorothy, TheSomehow I skipped this book in my Oz reading marathon. This book is an excellent followup to Ozma of Oz and it follows the adventures of Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz, a boy named Zeb, an old and overly proud horse and a very misbehaved kitten. They are swallowed up by the earth during an earth quake and the book chronicles the various strange lands and peoples the group encounters during their journey back to the surface.
This book is an excellent example of what a good Oz book can be. The story was well paced, the ending was not hurried, and lands and people they encountered were odd and wonderful. Unfortunately, the story does have its fair share of deus ex machina resolution to problems but that is something we have grown to expect from Baum....more
As with The Emerald City of Oz, this was much better then The Road to Oz, however, I struggle with one aspect of Baums writing. Even though I know thaAs with The Emerald City of Oz, this was much better then The Road to Oz, however, I struggle with one aspect of Baums writing. Even though I know that these are primarily books for children, I am continually disappointed with the deus ex machina that concludes every book. I'm starting to find this a bit tedious. As a result, I think I will give the Oz books a break for awhile.
If you enjoy the other books, this one is in the top three recommendations of those I've read thus far....more
Baum has redeemed himself in my eyes with this, the eighth book in the series of Oz books. Despite the title, the book is primarily about the quest ofBaum has redeemed himself in my eyes with this, the eighth book in the series of Oz books. Despite the title, the book is primarily about the quest of the Shaggy Man to rescue his brother from the arch villain of Oz, the Gnome King. Despite having his entire memory erased in the previous book, he is still as evil and nasty as ever.
One of the things that had started to turn me off on the Oz books was how the end of the story seemed to come out of nowhere and tie up all the lose ends in a couple of pages. And while this book does some of this it stretches the resolution at the end out over a couple of chapters which made for a much more enjoyable read.
This book is also the first to approach the same sort of wonderful oddness that Lewis Caroll invoked in Alice in Wonderland. The previous books including the first seemed to be pale imitations.
Thus far this is my second favorite of the Oz books, with Ozma of Oz....more
One of the most interesting thing to observe during my journy through all of Baum's Oz books was watching him mature as an author. Of all of the Oz boOne of the most interesting thing to observe during my journy through all of Baum's Oz books was watching him mature as an author. Of all of the Oz books thus far, The Lost Princess of Oz was the most even paced and well written by almost any measure. The characters were well described and there was even some character development. For the first time, Baum had two nearly completely plot threads that came together quite well later on. And finally, the conflict is not resolved via a deus ex machina like so many of the previous books.
If a person were to read only one Oz book, this is the one I would recommend....more
With the last couple of books Baum has come into his own when it comes to story, plot development, and character. Gone are the deus ex machinae and abWith the last couple of books Baum has come into his own when it comes to story, plot development, and character. Gone are the deus ex machinae and abrupt endings. The only real complaint I have is that as the series progresses and the rules and land of Oz matures there are a number of inconsistencies with previous books in the series. However, when looked at on its own, The Tin Woodman of Oz is a solid book of children's fantasy and I recommend it to anyone who like this genre. ...more
This is the last installment of the Oz books written by Baum. There are dozens of Oz books written by others, including the recent Wicked. I am sorryThis is the last installment of the Oz books written by Baum. There are dozens of Oz books written by others, including the recent Wicked. I am sorry that Baum did not live to write more books because the last few book in the series showed that Baum reached a maturity in writing that was a pleasure to read.
Besides being introduced to so many wonderful characters in an environment that is relatively safe but not without cause for dramatic tension, the thing I enjoyed most about reading all of Baum's Oz books was to see how he progressed and matured as an author fo childrens books. I think any budding author of children's books would do well to read the series in order as I did to observe how he corrected some of the flaws in his earlier books....more
Once again, Baum produced an excellent child's novel. I believe one can see the maturation of Baum as a writer as one progresses though the Oz books bOnce again, Baum produced an excellent child's novel. I believe one can see the maturation of Baum as a writer as one progresses though the Oz books because this book had a much better story arc than most of his previous works. However, his love of deus ex machina to solve the story's main conflicts at the end still remains a sore point for me.
Rinkitink in Oz almost has nothing to do with Oz whatsoever for the vast majority of the book. Instead it takes place on islands in the ocean that surrounds the countries that border on the deathly desert that surrounds Oz. When characters from Oz do show up in the story it feels hastily thrown in. Personally I think the story would have been better if Oz didn't play a role at all.
If you enjoyed the Oz books thus far, you will likely enjoy this one. The pace of the story is good and there is plenty of action to keep the attention....more