Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas - Review

I am horribly behind on my reviews of buddy reads! F and myself finished The Count Of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas back in September and we're on our third book since then. So here I am being good and catching up. I'll have reviews for The Essential Kafka and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea in the next few days. 

The Count Of Monte Cristo 

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great thrillers of all time. In 1853 William Thackeray wrote to a friend: 'began to read Monte Cristo at six one morning and never stopped till eleven at night.'. Falsely accused of treason, the young sailor Edmund Dantes is arrested on his wedding day and imprisoned in the island fortress of the Chateau d'If. After staging a dramatic escape, he sets out to discover the fabulous treasure of Monte Cristo and catch up with his enemies. A novel of enormous tension and excitement, Monte Cristo is also a tale of obsession and revenge. Believing himself to be an 'Angel of Providence', Dantes pursues his vengeance to the bitter end, only then realizing that he himself is a victim of fate. 

My Review

The Count Of Monte Cristo has to be one of the biggest surprises for me this year. I really had doubts about reading it as I didn't really know much about it and it is quite a chunky book; but I absolutely fell in love with this book! 

Edmund Dantes is easily one of my new all time favourite characters. And I now have two all time favourite classics. I was considering if The Count Of Monte Cristo had knocked Crime And Punishment off its perch, but no I think they are both equal. 

I thought the writing was really wonderful and so easy to read. I loved the characters, both the good and the bad and I thought the story was so well thought out and just so very enjoyable. Apparently I like a good revenge story! If I ever need to get revenge on someone I hope I can do it with as much cunning, class and flair as the Count Of Monte Cristo! 

I can now see how this is a lot of peoples all time favourite classic as it is so much more accessible than a lot of other classics due to the language used and the stories aren't always relatable in modern times. Revenge however is understood through the ages. 

Overall a really excellent book, one I'm so glad that we picked up as buddy readers as I may have missed out on this if not. I really look forward to picking this up again in the future, so I can re read Dantes adventures. 

I gave this book 5 stars. 

1 comment:

  1. This was definitely a buddy read win :-) I'm not sure whether it was due to the translation we used or not but I found the whole thing accessible and easy to read. Unlike a lot of classics I have come across the language wasn't dry and the sentence construction wasn't laborious to navigate. There weren't pages and pages of one paragraph prose (*cough* Kafka) to paint one scene (*cough* Hardy). Also, despite many moral awakenings of characters in general, this was a plot driven tale not designed to impart some kind of hidden meaning or to imprint a Victorian era moral standard on the reader (*cough* Dickens). This was written as pure entertainment and it shows. I guess this would have been the era's literary equivalent to confessing that "actually I love John Grisham/Danielle Steel/Stephen King."
    The first section is a rip-roaring adventure story, but despite it's fantastic, romantic and completely unrealistic nature the adult themes it contains make it absorbing and intriguing and allow you to be entertained whilst you suspend belief. Containing crazy monks, daring prison escapes, and an uninhabited island containing wealth beyond your wildest beliefs, this sent me into a cocooned reading comfort zone as it reminded me of the daring adventures from my childhood. At the end of the section our hero is left bereft of comfort and friendship and half mad from his time in prison. As he vows revenge on his betrayers and his lost love we as readers are left rooting for him to reap his revenge.
    In the next sections we are introduced to the next generation as Edmund comes into contact with his betrayers' now adult children. A fiendishly clever man, he has spent his wealth and his years plotting the downfall of all concerned and is ready to destroy all they hold dear. Complex and absorbing the interwoven lives of children and betrayers and host of other people our hero has come into contact with in the intervening years is laid out as a riveting tale of adventure, intrigue and redemption.
    I don't want to spoil the intricate plot for anyone who hasn't read it but throughout the second half Edmund under goes many changes, softening him in some areas, as he learns to trust and love again and ultimately decide the fate of others. The tone changes from darkness, revenge and hostility to hopeful optimism as the story progresses.
    I was originally daunted by the doorstop type size (this is why it was a buddy read) and I don't think I would have chosen this to read alone. I'm so glad Nerdish chose this one and would urge people to give it a go in the long January nights. I recommend the £1.99 Wordsworth Classic edition available from Amazon and digital readers will love the fully illustrated Project Gutenberg edition which is free.
    F :-) (the buddy of the reads)