Book Review – The Hunchback

The Hunchback of Notre Dame has never been my favorite Disney move, nor has it ever been a book I was actually interested in reading (sorry Victor Hugo).   However, I love Regine Abel’s books, and I assumed her novel, The Hunchback, would be no different.

As a side note, I think the hardest part about reading this book, is all I could picture was the Disney version of the characters.  Oh, Kwazeem is blue?  Alright, he is just a blue version of the Disney movie character.  Not the best way to go about reading this book.

I really like the twist on the characters Regine made.  She is a sci-fi fantasy writer, and sometimes when you are doing a retelling of a book in an entirely different genre, that can go incredibly wrong.  But in this instance, I loved how she made Esmeralda a Vestal that is going to serve Our Lady of Paris by manipulating energy.  I loved how she included winged creatures (ho in this instance was Phoebus) that were essentially angels that, and that Frollo was essentially a high ranking priest of sorts who helped run the city.  She took these characters and gave them a new life, while still being able to stay true to their original characters. 

I think the best part of this book however, was Kwazeem.  First, I love her play on his name.  Instead of going with the original Quasimodo, she took how that name sounded and gave her character his own original, and unique name.  In my opinion it just took the book to another level.  I also like how she didn’t just keep him as a hunchback through the entire book (though you will need to read the book to figure out what he is).  He is also incredibly flawed, and curious, and interesting.  He has a temper that scares Esmerelda more than once.  In addition, while the original three gargoyles from the movie are obviously gone in this story, there are two imps that replace them.

I also like (spoiler alert) that Frollo didn’t die in the end.  And he and Kwazeem’s relationship did not automatically get fixed after the events of the book.  As a matter of fact, I like that when the book ends, you are left with knowing that their relationship is not founded in like for each other, but respect.  And I think that will carry them further overall.

I think my biggest problem with this book, are the terms “My Man” and “My Woman”.  I don’t mind nicknames, pet names, and so on in books.  I don’t mind if a character calls the person they are with “my man” or “my woman.”  The problem is, in this book, it was said a total of 42 times (yes I did count).  According to Amazon, this book is only 212 pages long, which means that particular phrase was said on average, once every five pages.  Obviously that is not exactly how it was, and at one point, I saw the phrase “My Man” three times on a single page.  It got to the point where I was seeing that phrase so much it would pull me out of the story and I stopped enjoying reading it, and just wanted to get past it.  More than once I found myself saying, out loud, “Please just say their name”.

Overall – this was a good book, but having read the majority of what Regine Abel has published, I have to say this is not her best work.  There were a few things that happened that just didn’t feel quite right (for instance Frollo swearing in the book just felt off and wrong) and while I can say I enjoyed the book, I doubt it is a book I would pick up and read again. 

The Hunchback – Regine Abel

Cost* – eBook is $3.99 and Paperback is $13.91.  This book is included with Kindle Unlimited.

*Cost is based upon what the book cost when book review is published


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