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Still love it - but gosh, it was wordier than I remember it being!
on 8 August 2017
I first read The Count of Monte Cristo back at university, and remember being very moved by this epic tale of revenge (I'd also watched the film around the same time, which I think might have helped make the book a little more accessible).
14 years later, I decided now was the time to revisit this classic, and see if I loved it as much as I did back then. For the most part, it's a definite yes, though there were a few patches where I found myself struggling slightly - Dumas is a typical writer of his era, in that there's a hell of a lot of detail and some very verbose sections!
The tale is a gorgeous one - a long-burning story of betrayal (from the horrible Danglars, Fernand and Villefort) and finally revenge. It is a delight to see these evil-doers getting their just desserts, not least for the slow, considered way Dantes goes about it - the enjoyment here really is in the considered, carefully plotted pace.
There is much in this book that is unutterably tragic; Dantes' relationship with Mercedes (who married Fernand - oh woe!), his time spent in prison with the wonderful Abbe Faria (one of my favourite characters), and the whole sense of a life lost; a life that could have been so very different. That's where The Count of Monte Cristo really stands out.
However, that's not to say it wasn't a little bit over-lengthy in places; but then, that was typical of the era, and we mustn't hold it against Dumas. Overall, a wonderful read and very deserving of its place among the all-time classics. If you do embark on this book though, be sure to set aside a good period of time to read it, as it's absolutely huge.