This was an interesting book. The basic ingredients are comedy and melodrama, sort of like an 18th century Joss Whedon work. The comedy has aged well, and the comedic passages are enjoyable and move the plot along in an agreeable fashion. The melodrama was a bit off, and I'm not sure if that is due to the effects of age, or translation, or just my response to the work. I kind of feel like the comedic portion overshadows and takes the piss out of the melodrama, as I found myself caring more about Gringoire and Djali than about the maladaptive love polygon that is the main plot of the book. On the plus side, the author treats his characters in a pleasantly cavalier and brutal fashion, a bit like a more fleshed out and extended version of Candide. The poor, the outcast, and the ugly come to terrible ends, while money and entrenched power sail effortlessly by. Oh, and there are occasional chapters where the author just decides to spend 50 pages describing Paris and Notre-Dame, and where there isn't the slightest drop of plot or humor. Feel free to skip those chapters and whatever deep message they may contain.