This is one of the great literary classics of all time. It's unfortunate that so many are intimidated by the size of this book, especially in paperback. But do yourself a favor and read this - the unabridged version that is!
Hugo is a master storyteller. The tale drifts from mystery, suspense, murder, intrigue, drama, philosophy, history, politics and the divisions of the human heart.
Read the book before seeing the musical. In a way it's unfortunate the musical became such a big hit because I think it has kept people away from the book. It is vastly superior, of course.
This book is probably among my top five favorite tales of all time.