Book Review: Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by L.L. Samson

Facing the Hunchback of Notre Dame by L.L. Samson and Lisa Samson

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Available in ebook or paperback.

For only being 140 pages long, this MG fantasy took me a long time to read.  I considered not even finishing it because was a mental challenge to stay focused on the story.  The narrator is a college custodian that likes to explain both how to write a story, while making snide remarks about his colleagues, which have nothing to do with the story.  After reviewing the book, I checked the author’s profile on Goodreads and it said:

The Christy-award winning author of nineteen books including the Women of Faith Novel of the YearQuaker Summer, Lisa Samson has been hailed by Publishers Weekly as “a talented novelist who isn’t afraid to take risks.

I’m not sure if the risks taken with this book are worth it.  I still haven’t figured out who the targeted audience is.  As an adult, I didn’t enjoy the narrator and only finished the book so I could explain the book in detail to my mother, who is a MG teacher, and ask if her students would read a book like this.  She said no.  What’s the point of the author making a Mice and Men reference, and then explaining the reference as a book they will read in high school?   Later in the book the narrator says that he will not describe the scene because bugs make him gag.  Really?  So if it’s not for adults who enjoy MG and it’s not for MG students, then who will enjoy this book?  I honestly don’t know.  This is a perfect example of a book that is not marketable.

The beginning of the book should of alerted me to trouble when the word prologue was immediately followed by:

What You Need to Know Before Reading This Fantastic Little Book…Or All This Backstory Isn’t Normally a Good Idea, but We’d Like to Get On with Things.

The plot was bland.  By accident, Orphelia summons Quasimodo into her attic and in order to send him back she has to read a book before time runs out.  She tells one of the other characters that she can’t help clean up because she HAS to read this book, but then continues chatting with her companions while she is ‘reading’ and they are ‘working’.  Oh and there’s a storm, no a flood.  That’s it.  That’s the story.  I don’t need to put a spoiler for you to know what happens at the end.  It’s A + B = C.  Nothing more.  This isn’t MG quality.  This has a better fit as a story I would read to my one year old son.

I think it also has the worst ending line to date:

  “You can’t sit around reading all day.”

 Yeah, lets discourage the youth from reading.  Great idea.

My advice to the author?  Stick to Christian fiction.  MG fantasy is not your forte.

Characters 2/5

Concept 1/5

Pacing 1/5

Grammar 5/5

Ending 1/5

Summary:

A hidden attic. A classic story. A very unexpected twist. Twin twelve-year-old bookworms Ophelia and Linus Easterday discover a hidden attic that once belonged to a mad scientist. While relaxing in the attic and enjoying her latest book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ophelia dozes off, and within moments finds herself facing a fully alive and completely bewildered Quasimodo. Ophelia and Linus team up with a clever neighbor, a hippy priest, and a college custodian, learning Quasimodo’s story while searching for some way to get him back home—if he can survive long enough in the modern world.

Grade: F

I don’t know who would like this book.

If you are interested in buying this book, check it out at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.  More reviews and information available at Goodreads.

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