CW: neglect, death, and abuse
When I closed the book after reading the last page, my overall feeling was “meh.” That’s it. Just a meh book. I thought it sounded interesting because it’s a Les Mis retelling in space — even though I’ve never read the book and found the musical only tolerable to watch — but I was wrong.
The story follows three people. Chatine is a young woman who is trying to make a living on the streets, dressing as a boy to get work. Marcellus is an officer whose father is a traitor and grandfather is some great guy in the regime. Alouette is a girl who lives in a convent of some sort.
That’s basically it.
For one, the book was way too long. There wasn’t enough intrigue or plot to make it last nearly 600 pages. It was just stretched so thin and I was getting so tired of the scenes being repeated with only slight changes. It didn’t work for me with the length it had. I think that a good 200 pages could have been cut without anything being lost. I don’t mind long books, but I mind them when nothing is going on.
Then, the characters were unremarkable. Since I’m passingly familiar with the story, I knew that this was some love triangle or something. And that Marcellus was going to be really dumb and want to help but has no clue how to. Then Chatine was reduced to being into Marcellus even though she’s, apparently, this amazing thief. Alouette had nothing much for me to speak of.
Everyone was just boring.
Going along with that, the plot was predictable. It just didn’t wow me at all since it felt like a lot of the same stuff was happening with slightly different dialogue and character placement. It blended together for me. I honestly can’t tell you much that happened in the last 200 pages because I got so bored of reading it.
Then that romance. Oh, the romance. Marcellus is an idiot. Why do they both want him? Alouette is just dull and I didn’t care much about her. Chatine was the most interesting character, but then she was reduced to wanting Marcellus and being confused about what she wanted when he obviously wasn’t into her at all.
Lastly, the Frenchified spelling of words got on my nerves. I was so done with that stuff. Stupide instead of stupid. Using the “eu” kind of spelling for “commandeur” instead of “commander”. Like, I get it. This is widely being called a Les Mis retelling so I know that it’s in some kind of France-y world. I know. I get it. I don’t need to have dumb spelling that throws me out of the story instead of reinforcing the world.
Overall, a disappointment. I won’t read the other books in this series.
Have you read this book? What did you think about it?
What retelling really sucked for you?