I finally finished! And it only took me five months on the Serial Reader app. I feel like I’ve been reading this forever. Not because I didn’t like it, of course. Au contraire, I loved it! It’s a wonderful book, and definitely deserves it’s status as a classic. But it was dense and intricate and long, and wasn’t a book to be sped through. This tome is meant to be savored, and savor it I did. The Count of Monte Cristo is without a doubt the best tale of vengeance I’ve ever read, and one of the most intricately plotted books I’ve ever had the pleasure of picking up.
Edmond Dantes seems to have it all together. He loves his career aboard a merchant vessel, and the love of his life is waiting to marry him when he returns home. But there are those in his life who are jealous of his good fortune, of his love, of his happiness. And so, jealous “friends” plot the downfall of Dantes, and he’s arrested on his wedding day. His prosecutor, though he knows Dantes is innocent, is faced with information that would shine a terrible light on himself. Information that only Dantes knows. And so, the prosecutor has Dantes sent to Chateau d’If, where he hopes the prisoner will never be heard from again. But fate has other plans, and vengeance will be wrought on these four men who had succumbed to jealousy and ruined the life of another.
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the most mysterious characters I’ve ever encountered. He’s richer than Midas, no one knows anything about his past, including his name, and he takes Paris completely by storm when he appears on the scene. He is both an avenging angel and an angel of mercy. As he ingratiates himself into three important families on the Parisian scene, we get to know these families and watch as their lives fall apart around them.
I’ve only ever read the abridged version of this book before. The Great Illustrated Classic was my very favorite book when I was about 8 or so. And I read the more “grown-up” abridged version in eighth grade. I thought I knew the story pretty well, but I wanted to have read the book in its entirety, so I finally picked it up. And I almost put it down. There were so many little details in the middle section of the book that I thought were superfluous. I got so bogged down for a while, and almost decided that the abridged version had been enough. But my mama didn’t raise no quitter, so I stuck with it. And I’m so glad that I did!
Those little details that I thought were pointless? They really mattered. As I started nearing the end and seeing how all of these small details were coming back into play, I was completely stunned by complex the plot was. Every single tiny aspect of this book, all of the things that I thought weren’t necessary were totally necessary. I was blown away by how everything came together in the end.
I could write a thousand more words about the characters, the methods of vengeance, the plot twists, and more. But, even though this is a classic story, I don’t want to spoil anything for those who have little exposure to the story. Suffice it to say that, without this book, our culture would be missing something, as this book has served as foundation and inspiration for countless stories in various formats. Is this a quick, easy read? Not even close. Is it worth the time and effort necessary to read it? It is indeed. Give it a read, but take your time. Don’t rush.
“All human wisdom is contained in these two words – Wait and Hope.”