Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Review Summary: While not as well written as many classics, this was an exciting adventure with an intriguingly complex plot.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a classic story of betrayal and revenge. Edmond Dantes has it all: a father he loves, a pending promotion, and a beautiful fiance. Unfortunately, others envy him his good fortune and conspire to have him sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. When a fellow prisoner informs him of a treasure located on the Isle of Monte Cristo, he determines to escape and use that treasure to enact his revenge.
From the great introduction to this book, I learned that Dumas wrote this to be published in sections in newspapers and was paid by the line. Reading The Count of Monte Cristo with it’s convoluted plot and inclusion of mundane conversations, that incentive is clear. However unnecessarily complicated the count’s revenge may be, it was still a lot of fun to read about. While some sections dragged a little, there was always some part of the plot which made me want to read quickly because I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. The events could be cliched at times, but I enjoy cliches and to be fair to the author, he may be the originator of some of these now-cliched plot devices.
One small problem I had with this book was the dislikable nature of our protagonist. As time goes by he gets more and more arrogant, convinced that his revenge is the hand of God! Fortunately for us, a pair of young lovers shows up for us to root for instead, so I never found myself without a character to relate to. Overall, this was far from the best classic I’ve read. It gave little insight into human nature and wasn’t especially well written. Fortunately, these flaws didn’t stop if from being an amusing swashbuckling adventure which was a lot of fun to read. Given it’s success as a light adventure story, I might recommend searching for a well done abridged versions. While the idea of missing parts of a story makes me nervous, I don’t think anyone is going to want to pick up a 1000 page book for light entertainment.
I must admit The count of Monte Christo is one of my favorites, there is almost nothing I like better than curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and the cats and The count of Monte Christo, epecially on a dark an rainy Saturday in the autumn.
There is great movie version as well, with Richard Chamberlain. I believe there is also a newer version, but I prefer the Richard Chamberlain one.
I liked reading your review,
I’ve never seen the RIchard Chamberlain version, but I love the new one. It’s not terribly true to the book, but it’s a great movie. I don’t watch a lot of old movies, but I’m curious if the Richard Chamberlain version is more true to the book and will try to make a point of seeing it some time 🙂
RebeccaScaglione - Love at First Book
I read this in high school and kind of would like to reread. . . but it’s just sooooo long!
It really is! I think once will be enough for me 🙂
Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy
I read this awhile ago and remember enjoying it but that may well be because of the adventure of it. I really don’t remember too much about it though so it must not have resonated much with me. I did read a retelling of it more recently by Stephen Fry called “Revenge” in the States and I absolutely adored that book! I think it elevated the themes of the story because it came off as much more tragic. I don’t know if you plan to read or have already read it for Classics Retold but I highly recommend it! 🙂
I’ve been looking for re-tellings, but I only came up with three and Revenge wasn’t one of them. Thanks for the recommendation!
I remember really loving the story and struggling to read it in high school, but I’m definitely looking forward to a re-read.
Hopefully you’ll find it less of a struggle on a second read through. I’m excited to hear what you think of it 🙂
I am agree whole heartedly in in your review of Dumas style. Added conversations and side stories that seem only added for the additional $. I am reviewing Three Musketeers for the classics retold.
I really appreciate that the intro explained what motivated Dumas’ writing. I thought it made it more interesting to read knowing something about why he wrote the way he did 🙂