21 May 2008
Ninety-Three -- Victor Hugo
I have been wanting to read nearly all of Hugo's books and this is my first one. I can safely say that it will not be my last. This was truly a great piece of literature. I want to start with saying that I really did enjoy the book and I thought it was executed (no pun intended) very well. However, I do have some minor complaints. I think that it is sometimes over looked that this book goes into some unnecessary detail about the people and places involved. Yes it is interesting to hear, but sometimes it goes on for full pages about the names of people who are only mentioned that one time and have little to do with the story. I understand why he does this when he does, however the book does drag at certain points. The only reason I really say this is because anyone looking to read this book might get bogged down near the beginning and even in the middle with some of these details and might possibly set the book aside. It is really worth slogging through the extra verbiage.
The book weaves a fantastic story during an incredibly interesting point in history. I have studied the French revolution from a historical non-fiction point of view as well as from the many novels that are set in this time. I can not get enough of the incredible characters and stories from that time period. This book actually has Danton, Marat and Robspierre as characters. This is possibly the only book I know of that does this. Hence, I recommend this book fully to anyone interested in reading a well developed and engaging story. Especially to those who have a pre-existing interest in the French revolution.
One fact that should actually be pointed out in addition, is the fact that Hugo has some of the best lines I have ever read. I mean that he uses language so well that nearly every sentence is one you want to write down on a post-it and stick to your wall. If I had actually written down every quote that I thought was powerful, beautiful and/or just plain cool, I could have filled a notebook. I ended up writing down page numbers but then had to stop doing that because I had too many written down. I decided at one point that the whole book is quotable and hence reading it is sort of a gift that keeps on giving.