I had to dredge up this thread because I needed SO desperately somewhere to vent my hate for the stinking pile that is this book.
I've read the chapter-by-chapter review by Inspector Karamazov
and I felt whole-heartedly the same disgust and revulsion that the reviewer expressed throughout. Only I didn't just check the book out of a library. Oh no. I OWNED a copy, shortly after it came out. I was young, a mere teenager. As someone who had read The Brick in its entirety in English as a child and had worked through the entirety of it in French as a teen, I was fairly well obsessed. I figured no sequel could be so bad.
Oh...how wrong we can be in youth.
The book was a travesty. The old characters were twisted out of all recognition, the new ones were at best two dimensional (except for Nicolette...she was AT LEAST two-and-a-half dimensional)...it was a pain to read.
I had my biggest problem, I think, with the portrayal of Azelma. I'll grant that we saw little of her in Les Misérables, but that also means that there was no guarantee she was going to turn out ten times WORSE than her dad. Perhaps once they'd gone to America, she got away from him in some manner. Perhaps his wickedness never really fully touched her; it certainly hadn't destroyed Éponine by the time she was 16 or 17.
Another point. Lying to/obstructing the truth of the past from your kids. Yes, Valjean for years kept the full truth of the past (his life as a convict, Fantine's prostitution, etc.) from Cosette. Just going by that, I don't know whether or not Cosette and Marius would have told the truth to their children early or late or never, but at least Crapakian didn't have them outright lying. I seem to remember something in this "sequel" about "Zelma" telling her daughters that Éponine (for whom one of them was named) died not at a barricade, but from lung trouble due to working in a factory. I remember a line about "coughing up blood and bits of thread" or something. If my sister had died, somewhat bravely if insanely, at a barricade, I'd totally pass the story down to the next generation.
So like I said, I owned this book once. Then, when we moved from the house where I grew up, a few things were left behind...including the book, prominently displayed for any foolish takers in my childhood bedroom (can I help it if misery loves company and so I wanted to punish others?)