Published in: 1862
Edition read: E-book
A compelling and compassionate view of the victims of early nineteenth-century French society, “Les Miserables” is a novel on an epic scale, moving inexorably from the eve of the battle of Waterloo to the July Revolution of 1830.
Welcome to the LOOOOONNNGEST book I’ve ever read. This behemoth took me about 4 months to get through, which actually isn’t too bad, and it wasn’t too terrible to read. It was mildly interesting, I learnt about the 1830 July Revolution and the battle of Waterloo, so that was something. There was boring details about long-dead politics that I could care less about, and unfortunately some world-building chapters (Like the one detailing the French sewer system. I am now well versed on this topic, whether I wanted to be or not); but overall, the story wasn’t as dull as I expected it would be. There was even a happy ending, eventually. After lots of misery. I mean, don’t get attached to a character because they will die. Hugo is the George R R Martin of the 1800’s.
One of the things this book does well, is that it has a huge cast of characters, but it is easy to keep track of them all. A lot of books have people that sound exactly the same, have the same names, have multiple nicknames, are just too hard to keep track of- and then they turn up and you’re like “whodafuck are you again?”. This book though, the characters were easy to follow, their names didn’t change every paragraph, if they did change it was well spelled out, and most importantly, everyone was very individual. It was refreshing, as instead of figuring out who characters were again, I instead was able to concentrate on the storyline.
Overall, giant-assed book, took forever to get through, but not as bad as I had thought it would be.
Les Mis rating: 6.5/10.
Would I re-read it? Nah. Look, I’m glad I read it, but I won’t be eagerly reading this again.
Who would I recommend it to? Anyone who has seen the movie adaptation, fans of classic literature or history.
As it is over 100 years old, you can legally download it for free at Project Gutenberg: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/135