Friday, 30 September 2016

Les Miserables by: Victor Hugo

Genre: Historical Fiction, Classic
Published: March 3, 1987 by: Signet Classics
Pages: 1463
Rating: 4/5 stars

Jean Valjean has spent years in jail, all for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister's starving son. Now released in the midst of the French Revolution, Valjean is on the run from the evil Inspector Javert, who wants to see Valjean be punished for life. Meanwhile, a poor single mother named Fantine is struggling to find a home for her daughter Cosette, due to her ailing health. When Cosette is sent to live with a evil innkeeper and his wife, she is brutally starved and mistreated. But Cosette and Valjean's paths will cross, and a journey through childhood, love, and a revolution ensues.

I don't know what I was thinking taking on a book of these proportions. I absolutely love the musical, it was one of the first musicals my parents ever took my sister and I to see, and my parents saw the musical on their first date, so you could say that this musical is a huge part of our lives. I've always wanted to read the book, but I just never found the time. Well at last, I read it, but honestly, I would watch the movie/see the musical before reading.

Hugo really created a beautiful story here. It's so upsetting to see the treatment of some of the people during this time period, however he also brings in so much joy and patriotism as well. This book is so emotional, and I always cry just thinking about it, but I think it's so important for us to remember this historical time period.

The characters in this book are one of a kind, each of them has a different story to tell and not one is more perfect than the other. Valjean has an incredible voice throughout the book, and some of the quotes you will get from this book will stay with you forever.

What made me prefer the musical to the book is the fact that the book went on tangents a lot. Every once in a while there would be a good 200 pages dedicated to specific philosophy or theme, that didn't weave in the story. It seemed like I was reading a non fiction essay.

I will say, if you're interested in the story, maybe watch the movie or see the musical first. I don't think I would have understood the story as well as I did if I hadn't known what was going to happen first, and I definitely think that the musical accurately tells the story. It will just save you a lot of time, and the songs are to die for.

Have you read Les Miserables? What did you think?

Emily @ Paperback Princess


  1. Ha, isn't that book massive? I've even seen Les Mis split into separate volumes. :)

    1. It was huge! It also didn't help that I read it as an ebook so the text was larger making it even more pages!

  2. I love Les Miz :) But I love the musical MUCH more!

  3. Okay, I'm very impressed that you managed to read such a beast in the first place! Classics are so intimidating to me: the text is tiny, there are so many pages and the writing is very complex as well. I think I'm going to stick to the movie adaptation, hahah. But congratulations on your achievement! I don't know a lot of people who would read such a novel!

    1. Haha I really didn't know what I was getting into! I think it'll have to be a while before I pick up another classic like this soon.