Monday, July 11, 2011

The Count of Monte Cristo [Dumas]

Book: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas

Review: When Edmond Dantes is falsely imprisoned for political treason, he plots revenge against the three men who put him there. He escapes the prison after fourteen years, acquires a large fortune, reinvents himself and slowly enacts his revenge.

The first 2/3 of the book are extremely slow. Dumas writes with excruciating detail and introduces characters that don't appear to have an integral role in the story. I attempted to read every night around 10pm and it was a struggle most nights. It is over 26k kindle pages and I thought about stopping multiple times. I complained so much to my husband ("everyone tells me they love this book but it is a snoozefest" I would say) that he finally told me to stop reading and move on. But I pushed through and I'm glad I did. Dumas lays an intricate groundwork necessary for the conclusion of the story which was very satisfying, although somewhat obvious (events were heavily foreshadowed although I did not foresee his handling of Danglar).

Overall, I ended up really enjoying this book. All of the characters Dumas introduced play a role in the story (even though it may take another 15 hours of reading to find out why). A few things bothered me about the book (not sure if 'bothered' is the correct term') which as a reader, you have to go with (**spoilers below**):
*Dantes meets the Abbe Faria in prison. The Abbe is a walking encyclopedia and knows almost every language, imparting his knowledge (and apparently perfect accents) to Edmond. He seemed too good to be true.
*Dumas comments multiple times that the Count is very pale and unable to gain any color due to his time in prison. I'm pretty sure anyone who hasn't seen the sun for 14 years would burn just the same as the rest of us.
*No one recognized the Edmond as the count. I will say that while reading I had a hard time believing this but after seeing facebook photos of guys I haven't seen since high school, I wouldn't recognize half of them.
*I was weirded out with how the Count's love life was resolved at the end (SPOILER). He ends up with someone that he thought of as his adoptive daughter for the majority of the book. Gross.

**For fans of the movie starring Guy Pierce and Jim Caviezel: the movie is a VERY loose adaptation. "Kings to You" does not appear in the pages. Edmond and Fernand were not childhood friends (in fact, they were not friends at all). Edmond had no idea why he was in prison until the Faria helped him figure it out. There were few chase/fight scenes. The movie count was flashy while the book count was very subtle. Several key characters were missing. Albert is not Edmond's son. And last but not least-Edmond and Mercedes do not end up together. I happened to watch the movie the night after I finished reading this and it was all I could do to not shout "that didn't happen!" repeatedly. Enjoyable movie..just VERY different.

Grade: B+

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