Source: Dark Horse/Netgalley – I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I received no compensation.
Publisher: Dark Horse
Edition: Egalley, 50 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Retelling
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes & Noble / Book Depository*
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
Tim Conrad adapts Victor Hugo’s classic romance about a beautiful gypsy girl, Esmeralda, who is framed for murder by the infatuated Archdeacon of Notre Dame. Only Quasimodo, the hideously deformed bell-ringer of the cathedral, can save her.
Religious extremism, class distinction, fate, destiny, and sexual dynamics are played out in a rousing yarn of intrigue within the walls of the Parisian cathedral of Notre Dame.
I enjoy graphic novels and I’ve only read one other that was a visual retelling of a classic novel, so I was quite eager to read this one. However I find myself a bit disappointed in it and it leaves me rather upset because I had really hoped to truly enjoy this one.
It is quite a short graphic novel coming in at barely 50 pages so the story progresses rather fast and without hesitation of any sort. I think the biggest let down for me was the fact that it is literally just a retelling and nothing more was truly added. The story is told in narration boxes that do little for the actual graphic novel, and instead of pulling you into the story it makes it seem more like a bunch of pictures with a caption. I suppose I wanted it to be more immersive in the narration aspect instead of just a “this is what happened” viewpoint. The artwork also had me somewhat unsure of how I felt about it. While the tone of the art is certainly matching that of the story’s somber tone they were not very consistent in their portrayals. There were times when the character’s faces looked completely different from one frame to the next, and it really threw me for a loop. The hunchback stayed the same but Esmeralda changed quite a bit. Some of the art was quite nice but only a few squares away it would become rather off and it would loose me again.
It’s certainly not a bad graphic novel however I think I was expecting more and ended up being quite let down. I think those who enjoyed the original story and are looking for a straightforward visual companion might enjoy this.