Monday, April 9, 2012

The Count of Monte Cristo: review

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alaxandre Dumas
Genres: adventure, historical fiction, French literature
Summary: Falsely accused of treason, the young sailor Edmond Dantes is arrested on his wedding day and imprisoned in the island fortress of the Château d'If. Having endured years of incarceration, he stages a daring and dramatic escape and sets out to discover the fabulous treasure of Monte Cristo, and to catch up with his enemies. 

A novel of enormous tension and excitement, The Count of Monte Cristois 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.

Alright. How do I start? I always have such a hard time reviewing books over a thousand pages... (1243 for my copy)

The first half: I loved the sort of storybook life Dantés has for his future with the lovely Mercédès. Until of course, he is sent to jail. Then that was kind of depressing. But those whole 14 years in there, with Abbé Faria, and what he goes through to escape, I just couldn't stop reading! The detail of everything, from the tools he creates (like that knife from the metal ring in the water bucket handle, among others), to the book that's written on old rags of clothing. And his actual escape, I was so hooked!

The Transformation!: From this point on, until pretty much the very end, there is no more Edmond Dantés. There is the Count of Monte Cristo, godlike figure. Mysterious and endlessly rich, entity belonging to no country, and whom everyone either absolutely loves, or greatly despises. Brilliant. I can't get over it. I mean, *I* was convinced at some points that he was otherworldly!

The middleish: I got bored. I'm so sorry, Dumas, but that whole Italy affair with the random guy Franz, and Albert and Vampa, it took me twice as long to read through those parts, as it took to read the other 1000 pages of the book. But! I do know it does totally pertain

After about page 450 or so to the end. Aka. Arrival to Paris: This is where it gets completely interesting again! Over the span of about a page. All those trivial characters and places, relationships and secrets, they alllll start to tie together! From this point on, it's non-stop engaging.

It's kind of erie how manipulative Monte Cristo is. Every single action he does manages to either totally help his new neighbor, and/or destroy an old enemy's marriage. Yes, it's that black and white. I would hate to be along his track of revenge because boy do those three people who sent him to jail sure regret it, even though they don't ever know it. That's Fernand, Danglars, and Caderousse-oh, and the fourth who sealed the deal to Edmond's fate, de Villefort. (That's a badass name by the way, kind of like Vader or something.)
Morrel on the other hand, is his one true friend from the beginning, so MC forgives him and really helps him...not die and stuff.

The ending: I thought it would end up differently!!! Seriously, for a whole 25 pages or so, the suspense and confusion of everything ending, I was like "Whoa!! That would rock and fit perfectly and be dramatic and everything ohmygod!" But it didn't. It actually made sense, and was almost sweet? Which was okay, don't worry. It's a good ending, I just didn't want the book to end, and honestly, that doesn't happen to me with books written before the 19th century. I still keep looking at my nightstand expecting to see it there, bookmark tucked in the middle that never seems to move, notes sticking out of it, but no, it has migrated toward my 'already-read-classics bookshelf'. I liked it better than The Three Musketeers, which was pretty awesome, just not quite as awesome as this one.

My favorite (or at least most memorable) characters:

Monte Cristo- nuff said. He rocks my world now.

Valentine- You know, I kind of hate her and love her at the same time. Pyramus and Thisbe! But oh-so-dramatic. She is one of those whiney obedient daughters who really should take more initiative in her life. She is incredibly devoted to Noirtier (also very fascinating character! Not a man of many words.) but seriously needs to move out.

Mlle Eugénia de Villefort- the ONLY feminist in this entire book! I can't count how many times I felt the need to rip a page out from everything everyone was saying that put women down! I know, I know it IS the times. Still, it is infuriating. So this girl is probably in only mentioned in about 50 pages all together, but I will remember her. The way she has this independence and doesn't want to marry, but run away to become a traveling musician with her friend; I was surprised Dumas wrote this character back in the 1800s. *claps happily*

Lucian Debray- is it just me, or is he secretly a werewolf? I mean he is like the most random character in the book. I think he was introduced in Paris, but for all I know, he was in there the whole story and I only noticed him then? Pretty sure he is a journalist, but he didn't seem to have much point in anything. I don't even remember if he was going to marry anybody!

Julie and Emmanuel- such a sweet couple, they kept popping in at times, and since Julie is Morrel's daughter MC does look over her and help her have her fairy-tale ending. I think that's because he couldn't have his.

All in all, this is now one of my all time favorite books. It's complexity is genius, and Dumas was a fantastic writer; it's witty, funny, and ever so insightful.


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