Books I Read: The Count of Monte Cristo

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexander Dumas
Genre: Historical Adventure
Published: 1844
Content Rating: PG (people die, but barely)

Edmond Dantes has everything: a loving father, a beautiful fiancee, and a promising career. Unfortunately, three men conspire against him and he is unjustly imprisoned on an island prison. But there he meets a man who teaches him everything he knows, including how to escape and how to find a treasure of untold millions. When Dantes escapes and learns how his enemies have prospered, he starts in on the longest and most classic revenge plan of all time.

I'm always iffy on the classics. I blame highschool. But while this book definitely had wordy prose, overwritten dialog, and a host of characters that were either black or white, it still managed to grab me from page one.

At first it was Edmond's generous character. Then it was the tension of escape and revenge. But by the end, what I was most interested in was the subtle and unexpected shades of gray that showed up. Edmond took much of his revenge on his enemies' families, but not all of them were horrible people.

I forgave this book a lot of flaws considering it was written 167 years ago, but even with its flaws it's still a good read, which is not something I say of most classics. Don't learn modern writing craft from this book, but adventure and revenge? Yes.


linda said...

Ooh I remember reading that book and enjoying it, though I did think it was way longer than it should've been. Glad you liked it! :)

Adam Heine said...

"...though I did think it was way longer than it should've been."

In my experience, classic books are like that. One of the problems of getting paid by the word.

Joshua McCune said...

I love Dumas' intricate plots, but the stories definitely go on for a long while :)

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I can't help thinking of the sandwich...and I'm not sure I ever read the book, although I'm familiar with the story, so maybe ...

Yeah, the classics never really did it for me either. But now...I might have to sample a few. Thanks for the nudge! :)

Nancy Thompson said...

Since my own novel is a story of revenge, I use Dumas' book in my query, not as a comparison, but rather as a note to its fan base. I love me a good revenge story!

Sarah McCabe said...

I have not read this one yet but I have read some of Dumas' other books. The Three Musketeers, Ten Years After and part of the one that came after that but I can't remember what it was called.

I LOVED his style. I thought his prose was brilliant and very engaging and of course the musketeers themselves are fantastic characters.

I really should read this one as well.

Anonymous said...

"people die, but barely" Lol...

I love The Count of Monte Cristo. Dumas is amazing, considering when he wrote. I love everything I've read by him.

I would suggest the Black Tulip--it's much shorter than The Count.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I loved this book when I read it, but I love classics (mostly). I guess I'm always in awe that they wrote in pen and ink without a computer. :) I definitely don't judge classics by the same standards as modern books, though.


Jack o' the Shadows said...

One thing to remember also about this book is that the original was written in French. Depending on which translation you read, you might get a different feel for the way it was written. I read a copy of the original text, and it came off a bit smoother than any of the English versions I've read.

I'm not sure that exactly addresses his writing craft, as you say, but it may have something to do with the overall feel.