Rating: 4 / 5
THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO by Alexandre Dumas was the July/August book pick for the #classicsbuddyread hosted by @freefallinreader. This book was very intimidating in size at over 1200 pages, though many have commented how much they loved it, so I was glad that I had a group to read with to keep me on track!
Beginning in 1815, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO tells the story of Edmond Dantès, a young and idealistic man who seems to have everything going for him. He has a steady job with hopes of advancement and a woman he hopes to marry. Unfortunately, not everyone finds joy in his successes and Edmond finds himself framed and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. While in prison, Edmond has plentiful time to begin to plan his escape and his revenge on those who landed him in this sad state.
Edmond returns to the world very bitter, but with clues to locate a vast hidden fortune, he has the means to recreate himself as the Count of Monte Cristo and return to the people he once knew as an unknown, mysterious new man. As it turns out Edmond was not someone anyone would want on their bad side as he is intelligent and sneaky, all about playing the long game to achieve his plots of revenge.
Firstly, let me say that I am extremely grateful that I had a built in support group in this buddy read group because the fear that this book was a lot to take on wasn’t without merit. While the book was very enjoyable in the beginning, there were portions in the first half of the book in particular where the book really did feel long. There are a lot of sections which lay out the groundwork for Dantès’ plots and it isn’t always clear right away why these backstories are relevant.
While I am not one to read abridged literature, I can definitely understand the appeal of the abridged version of this book (and it seems there are many more abridged translations out there than unabridged). I do think you get to know more of the why’s and how’s in the unabridged version of the book, but I can see how some of that could easily be slimmed down without impacting the overall story.
Once the action really started to roll in the second half, the book was entirely enjoyable and a fabulous story. There is action, drama and murder as Dantès plays a masterful game with all the pawns on the board. I do think it is worth pressing through the more dry sections of the novel to get the overall impact!
In the end, I am very glad to have checked this book off my TBR. This is another classic that I’m definitely wanting to watch the movie for to see how they translated 1200 pages into two hours on film!