Book Review / The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

Page Count: 1276

Date Finished: February 7, 2017

It took me nearly a month, but I did it. It’s safe to say the time I spent on this was well worth it. I went with the Robin Buss, Penguin Classics translation which I believe was the correct choice. I’m having a hard time coming up with words to describe my experience but I thought I better write some thoughts down as soon as possible before I lose them.

The beginning, as in the first few hundred pages and the end, as in an even a larger sum of pages, had me completely floored in the best way possible. The middle portion, while still being a superbly intricate buildup, had scenes that crawled along at times for me personally. I believe this is in part because the reader doesn’t know where specific pieces of the story are leading as they are introduced and craves for the plot to reach its climax. It gradually becomes clear where these back stories are heading as the story unfolds and all the moving parts become intertwined. The Count of Monte Cristo is a heartbreaking story of a man’s false imprisonment set up by his greedy and jealous acquaintances, an examination of the struggle of one’s temptation to relinquish hope, and the ingenious plan of redemption that emerges. Personally, I felt that some of the characters were slightly one-dimensional and didn’t have some of the personal connection that I’ve been accustomed to in other book’s I’ve read. What lacked here was made up for with superb philosophical commentary. In addition, some of the dialogue was very dramatic to a point of being forced. For instance, people kept on fainting and having their legs crumble underneath them so often that it seemed exaggerated and unrealistic. I will admit I do not have much experience with books dating back to the 1800’s, so maybe this was the norm at the time and I’m just not used to it. These small aspects didn’t damage my overall enjoyment of the novel, however, which has to be one of the most epic stories I’ve read.

The majority of the book is fast moving and easy to read, the only difficult aspect being my own lack of familiarity with different European names and titles. My only tip to someone jumping into the book would be to keep in mind that the author, Dumas, may refer to someone in one instance as their birth name, but in another instance their title abbreviation or nickname. This can be confusing initially because of all the different families and its members who share the same last name. For Example, Monsieur de Villefort, M. Villefort, and the Crown Prosecutor is the same person whereas Madame Villefort, abbreviated Mme. Villefort is his wife. Alright, this might not be the best example, but the reader will know exactly what I mean when they read the book. Now, I’m off to watch the movie, or should I say movies.

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