The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

“REVENGE IS A DISH BEST SERVED COLD”

count-of-monte-cristoI think that’s an appropriate way to start off my review on this book.  This is a true classic and after reading it I can understand why so many people have it on their “favourites” list.  The book is memorable – packed with vivid characters, a plot, revenge and scandal.  The book was pretty long and it took me quite a while to finish reading it, as I had the unabridged version, but none the less I enjoyed it.

The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in French in 1844-1845 and is one of Alexandre Dumas’ most popular works.

The story revolves around the main character Edmond Dantes who is wrongfully imprisoned after his friends Danglars, Caderrousse and Fernand accused him of being a Bonapartist.  Emond escapes from jail  after 14 years and acquires a fortune after his fellow prison mate told him where to find it. He uses this fortune to seek revenge on those responsible for his imprisonment, i.e Danglars (who was jealous of his promotion to captain of the ship he was working on), Fernand (who was in love with Mercedes who Edmond was engaged too), Caderrousse who knew about the betrayal of Fernand and Danglars, as well as the magistrate Villefort who sentence him to imprisonment without a trial.  He uses alter ego’s such as “Lord Wilmore”, “Sinbad the Sailor” and “Abbe Busoni” to avenge Danglars, Fernand, Villefort and Caderrouse.

The novel, although lengthy, was deeply engrossing. A wonder tale of betrayal, revenge and vengeance,  that I found utterly entertaining.   I saw the movie starring Jim Caviezel after reading the book, and although the movie was great, the book is so much better. I felt that it left way too many things out, also the the plot and revenge he seeked on his friends were somewhat changed in the movie.   I felt somewhat disappointed. I guess I should have read the book after watching the movie.

Apparently the tv series “Revenge” is also loosely based on the Count of Monte Cristo.  Have any of you read this classic and what do you think of it?

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  • Not yet, but I have it on my shelf. I picked it up once and then put it down because it looked too dark. Is it dark? Thanks! Liked your review!

    • Mel

      Thanks dear.
      I don’t think the book is too dark. Do read it, and let me know your thoughts 🙂

  • Les

    Great storyline I agree. We tend to read the books first before we watch the movie and then by the time we watch the movie we get disappointed so yes, maybe we should watch the movie of a novel first and then read the book. I am pretty sure that if it is an excellent read, we won’t be feeling we missing something when reading the book. I must confess, I have not read the book but have watched the movie. I should definitely read the book 😉 Wonderful post 🙂

    • Sometimes with classics, watching the movie can kinda get the characters set in our heads and the major plot points making the stories easier to follow when we read them. This story is one where I have never been happy with any movie version – the book is just too sweeping to do in a movie.

  • Mel

    You should read the book – and unabridged too or else you miss too much. I think everyone should now and then read some of the classics.

    PS May I remind you that you bought me the dvd and forbid me to watch it before I haven’t finished the book ? 😛

  • I read this in high school and thought it was painful. I actually am willing to reread it at some point, though, because it might not be all that bad, right?

    • Mel

      It was painful because it was long! 1700+ pages :-/

      But the story behind it was interesting I enjoyed it while reading it, but still kept thinking “when is this going to be over!!”

      • Then maybe I won’t reread it. It was painful then and 1700+ sounds depressing in itself for a reread.

        • Mel

          Goodluck!

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  • Ignore the question of whether you liked this book or not in the last comment on your Great Gatsby post. I love this book. It is a story which grows richer with each reading. I love the way Edmond must stop his revenge at a point because people he loves are getting swept up in the damage. I also love how he doesn’t just avenge his own injustice but helps those who helped and loved him and their children. Great book!!! I need to read it again! Maybe next year!

    • I love this book! I replied on your previous comment and said it’s my favourite classic so far – and I will say it again and again until I find out that I like better. The book has so much meaning and depth! I love books centered around Revenge, but this is so well written. I didn’t even care if it was lengthy. I want to read it again, maybe this time the abridged version. My friend bought me the movie and I used it as my motivation for completing the unabridged. (She told me I cannot watch the movie until I’m done reading the book! hahahaha)

      • Ha!! I’m glad you liked it so well. It is a very very good book! Due to the large pile of books sitting next to me at this very minute, I’m going to have to wait to read it again.
        My Mom did the same thing with Last of the Mohicans when I was in high school. She said I could watch the movie after I read the book….which was almost disastrous cause I loved the book and the movie is nothing like it – I hated it the first time through. It took me a few years to see the movie in it’s own rights. Now, I love both, they are just two different stories. 🙂

        • I won’t be re-reading this one anytime soon, but one day… 🙂

          • Yeah. It’s been years since I read it, maybe about 10 or so. It may be a while until I pick it up, but I plan to read it again sometime!

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  • Although I had watched the movie first and wasn’t disappointed by what was left out, I did notice that they got rid of entire characters and subplots. For the most part, I thought the movie stayed true to the feel of the book, but Edmund’s willingness to sacrifice innocent people for his revenge is a lot less of a thing in the movie. While that made me like him better, I think it might have been too much of a chance.

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this! I enjoyed the movie and I didn’t mind the absence of certain characters as much as I usually would critique other movies on books. I think the movie was well done and stayed true to the book for the most part. My preference, of course, will always be the book. This is a great tale of revenge!

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  • Bo Stenberg

    Just to note that the pictured edition (and/or its unabridged successors) is truly the only translation worth considering. It is by the late Robin Buss who also notes a comment at the beginning of his forward from a friend that Monte Cristo is a “children’s book.” It is, actually, provided you accept Freud’s idea of the infantile continuum, necessary to maintain a front of normal, adult farce. This is primal narrative, there actually is something nightmarish here. It was published within a year of the first instalment of the Musketeer Saga, so you have to wonder what loose cannons were at work in the great Dumas’ prodigious mind at this time. One of the great novels, no film has ever touched it, and a number of them should have been indicted for attempted murder. Nota bene: the aforementioned Robin Buss translation is possibly 8 point font, difficult for old eyes. Buy a magnifying glass. It is possibly the best translation I have ever read.