Dumas' "Count of Monte Cristo" is the most exciting book I have ever read. It is the epitome of the perfect adventure novel and contains all of the traits that define the genre: jealousy, suspense, action, revenge, deceit, etc. At 1100+ pages, and the label as a "classic," many readers would be turned off at the task of reading such a book. Although the story is long and over 150 years old, it is truly "timeless." This does not read at all like the books you were forced to endure in 9th grade English, and is mostly as topical today as it was when it was penned.
That being said, reading the "wrong" version of this book can change the reader's experience for the worse. Amazon has combined all of the reviews for this book across the many different versions available, which can be very misleading. There are two things that affect the story, the translation, and the context.
I strongly encourage everyone to get the UNabridged version of this story. The abridged version cuts out more than half of Dumas' novel and while the story is still enjoyable, the reader misses out on many exciting chapters in the book. Do not let the length fool you. I found every bit of this book exciting, and never got bored.
Secondly, look for the Robin Buss Translation. Many of the versions of this book use a translation from 1846 (including the Modern Library and Oxford World's Classics editions) that, because of social restrictions at the time, altered some of the story, especially that dealing with sexuality. The Robin Buss translation is more faithful and restores this language, as well as making it an easier read for modern readers.