Source: Purchased from Amazon
Publisher: Jodi Lamm
Edition: Ebook , 151 pages
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
*I receive a small monetary kickback from Amazon purchases
You don’t want to read this book. I’m warning you. This isn’t a heartwarming, boy-meets-girl, high school romance. I wish it were—God, do I ever. No, if you read this, you’re going to be angry… with me, mostly. You’ll probably yell at me, if you’re the type of person who yells at books. You’ll tell me not to be so stupid, but I won’t listen. I’ll be exactly as stupid as I need to be to destroy everything I love because that’s who I am: a walking, talking tragedy. That’s who I’ve always been. But if you’re determined to read on despite my warning, I may as well introduce myself. My name is Claude Frollo, I’m nineteen going on ninety, and this is my story. It isn’t pretty, but it’s honest. And it’s the only story I have left to tell.
Chemistry is a modern day, young adult retelling of The Hunchback of Notre Dame with an interesting twist. It’s being told from the point of view of Claude Frollo, who by story standards would definitely be considered an antagonist in the original. Chemistry lends a different sort of view on his love for Esmerelda and his relationship with Valentine (who fits the role of Quasimodo).
I’m a huge fan of retellings and I simply love seeing the heftier classics take on a new life in something new. I will admit I’ve never actually read Hunchback of Notre Dame in its entirety, but I do know the full story so it was great to see the parallels being played out. As the blurb says it’s not a heartwarming story, it’s dark and gritty…and at times a bit chilling.
Claude Frollo is one of those characters that can be stamped as ‘crazy’ and not many people would dispute the title. I’m not sure the character would disagree either. Since the book is being ‘written’ by Claude we get a personal view and feel for all that goes through his mind, and we get a front row seat to his mental decline. I can honestly say it’s a bit scary to witness it. He starts off as someone who is a loner, who is quiet and sullen with only one friend and not much need for more…to someone who becomes obsessed with the idea of Esmerelda and willing throw everything aside for her. Valentine is probably my favorite character, he’s a silent character but his presence is very strong. He’s a sort of silent guardian and I loved how much detail that Lamm put into this character. Esmerelda was probably the character I liked the least, her passion for things is something that Claude admired in her but at the same time she’s too willing to place it in people who shouldn’t have it. She sees what she wants to see and I found that to be a double edged sword in terms of her likability.
The ending left me breathless and I had to take a moment to let it all sink in before I could even close my Kindle. Jodi Lamm is probably one of my favorite authors now, thanks not only this novel but also Titan Magic.