The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
“F**k.” That’s what I said out loud after finishing this book. A bit uncouth, however that’s all my brain could fire off while dealing with the emotional upheaval of finishing this book. Because for 47 hours (I did an audio version and yes it was 2 full days, ~1,400 pages for those of you wondering), I was so thoroughly entertained and engrossed in the life and revenge of Edmond Dantes, I wasn’t sure what else to do or how to come back to reality. I even thought about starting it from the beginning right then and there, which is pretty telling.
I’ve been listening to the classics during my car commute as I find it a bit easier to hear inflections and tones with the older language rather than reading it. There’s been some duds which I expected, but also some amazing novels that are quickly a favorite of mine and I wish I had given it more of an effort years ago. The Count of Monte Cristo is now my favorite classic I’ve read so far.
I think this point needs repeating. The Count of Monte Cristo is about 1,400 pages long, the storyline spans decades, there are several main characters and different plot lines, and yet I was enthralled by every moment. To be honest, I did get a bit nervous and confused during the initial introduction of Luigi Vampa but that part was so short and the book quickly became so fantastic again that I’m going to ignore it. So, moving on...
Alexandre Dumas did an amazing job of mixing historical elements and fictional characters to make a very rich story. There are scenes that are sad, heartwarming, frustrating and even funny and makes for a perfect balance to keep you engaged. Dantes’ betrayal, Napoleon’s return, the prison time where Dantes makes a life-changing friend, Dantes’ vendetta, the characters and their relationships we meet along the way- my heart is full just thinking about it all. The way each character and new plot points are interwoven and all feed into Dantes’ plan for revenge is so clever I cannot stop thinking about it. I know I’ll have to re-read this in the future to enjoy all the subtle hints, twists, layers and setups all over again.
Edmond Dantes has also become one of my favorite characters of all time. The growth and change he goes through, his experiences and emotions - he’s a savage, cruel man, but also generous and caring. He is serious, cunning, brilliant, sarcastic, loving and determined and even though revenge shouldn’t be the answer, it was the only thing I wanted for Dantes and I was thrilled to follow him through his journey.
I’m sorry, I’m fangirling, I know. Needless to say, I would 100% recommend this novel; it’s a time commitment yes, but worth every moment spent. It should be a classic spoken about more often because I believe it’s truly timeless and easily relatable even a hundred-fifty years later.
Synopsis: In 1815 Edmond Dantès, a young and successful merchant sailor who has just recently been granted the succession of his erstwhile captain Leclère, returns to Marseille to marry his Catalan fiancée Mercédès. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim fortress of If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.