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Customer Review

400 of 419 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale of love and revenge, February 22, 2004
This review is from: The Count of Monte Cristo (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
Warning: Do NOT pick this book up and start it if you have something that you need to do in the next day or three. You won't be able to put the book down, or if you do, you'll move zombielike through your everyday tasks while your mind stays with the adventures of Edmund Dantes.
The Count of Monte Cristo is a delicious book, full of intrigue, great fight scenes, love, passion, and witty social satire. Dumas has a wonderful grasp of human nature and a talent for rendering all the follies of man in delightful, snappy prose. I immediately recognized people that I know (yes, even myself) in his vivid characters, which made the book all the more engaging to me.
Some people might be put off by the size of the book -- it's a pretty hefty volume -- an tempted to buy the abridged version. Don't! I've heard from people who've read both versions that the abridged version is a pathetic, washed out shadow of the full novel. At any rate, as thick and impossibly long as The Count of Monte Cristo may seem when you open it for the first time, you'll feel as though it's far too short by the time you get to the last page.
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Showing 1-10 of 15 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 18, 2007 6:54:33 PM PDT
I'm sorry, but Edmond! I just finished reading the book and I can't stand seeing his name the wrong way!

Posted on Apr 20, 2008 11:27:12 PM PDT
R. Fenton says:
You aren't kidding about not being able to put it down or being in a zombielike state. What a great book.

Posted on Sep 23, 2008 11:18:17 AM PDT
i walked into a meter on the street on the way back from work. zombie arms would have helped prevent this mishap.

Posted on Oct 3, 2008 11:38:00 AM PDT
Jerrod says:
I couldn't agree more. I was sad when I finished the book. I felt like I was a part of their world for so long that I didn't want to leave. I could have read this book for years and I would have never grown tired of it.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 29, 2008 11:50:55 PM PST
PS says:
i was reading some other guy's review and he mentioned about reading robin buss' rendition for complete translation. i just finished reading the abridged novel(banres & nobles classics) and i feel so bad right now. i admit the notes gave some explanations on missing stuff but i was so upset that danglars wasn't punished with a lot of details.

i don't know if the book i read are in the same chapter order as the original but i felt the flow was cut off at the third of the novel. i literally perused up to that point nonstop! then i dragged on till the judgment beginith. so in conclusion, i loved the story but also crappy that i had to dislike it.

so for those who are thinking about this book, PLEASE read this one! i feel like edmund except i was innocently reading the wrong version.

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 12:26:57 PM PST
S. Hill says:
@purplekat ... I'm assuming that you are being sarcastic when you mention that Dumas' uses "delightful, snappy prose" in his novel ... right?!?

The novel is worthy of a read, owing to its standing as a classic, however readers should be warned that they will have to muddle through large expanses of unnecessarily tedious and boring prose that Dumas tried to pass off as in-depth descriptions and conversations. After Dantes "saves" Morel from committing suicide, the book falls in to being a difficult book to read as I found my mind frequently wandering to something other than what was on the written page. Much of the last 600 pages could have been condensed down to 200-300 pages and made for a novel far more worthy of being considered an adventure novel.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2011 6:56:09 PM PST

I bought the audio version of the unabridged version of TCOMC about a year ago. I cried when it was over because I realized I may have just read the best book ever written. In the year since I have read it, I have been perusing Dumas' other books, not sure which one I really wanted to read since I was pretty sure there was no way they could measure up...finally, just a few days ago I started The Three Musketeers and am about 1/2 way through. I think TTM is more widely known, but it's strange, the musketeers are practically subservient to the story of the young d' Artagnan. I think Musketeers is very confusing, harder to follow and while at times, absolutely hilarious, it just doesn't (in my mind) measure up to TCOMC. But, I am also not done with it... I just got into part 2. I will finish it, but I wish that instead of all of the spin-offs of Musketeers there could have easily been a follow-up to TCOMC, following the exploits of The Count and Haydee and the adventures of Valentine and Maximilian. Maybe Dumas felt that their stories should have ended where they did...but I wanted more. If ever I am sick and need to spend a couple days in bed, I turn on the audible version of TCOMC and catch snippets of it when I am awake. And I did read it once again toward the end of last year.

I am looking for more French novels. Madame Bovary and Les Miserables come up a lot on search engines but for some reason they aren't grabbing me, and I am about 50 pages into each and they are just gathering dust.

Does anyone feel the same way as I do? That Musketeers just doesn't hold a candle to the Count? Or should I withhold judgement until I finish? I did a bit of peeking on the web, and it seems like book 2 of TTM is more about the Mme de Winter and even less about the exploits of the Musketeers (not that I find them all that interesting). It's funny to me that I held this picture in my head of TTM all my life: the all for one and one for all, avenging women and standing for their political alliances, no matter what the personal cost (which it seems that they forget quite a bit and are jealous, petty and liars when out of money or injured) and that they were a force to be reckoned with. But the book seems almost cartoonish where TCOMC was so calculating, so engrossing and Dantes never stepped away from the core of who he was and what his mission in life was to be, no matter which costume he donned. Where one of the Musketeers would sell or kill a horse for food or gambling money they just seem young, selfish and foppish. Mere shadows of the fantastic portrayal of The Count.

Thanks for reading my post and would love to hear for anyone who had more experience with French Lit than I do.

I guess what I am really asking here for is my next book... I welcome any suggestions.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2011 11:26:29 AM PST
Cory Wright says:
@PurpleKat, I'm totally with you. I'm a few hours into the audiobook, and here I find myself reading reviews and trying to find similar books instead of doing work because I can't get my mind off of it!

@Melinda, I'm with you as far as your worries about finding the next book to read. I've never been so engrossed so quickly, and although I've just now began my search for my next read (and I'm not even a big reader!), I fear it will be a struggle to find something that measures up to The Count.

Can anyone offer some suggestions for our future endeavors?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2011 2:04:57 PM PST
Hi Cory,

Well... I have to say my next book was indeed a struggle for me and what was right for me may not be exactly the right thing for you...but here goes: After finishing TCOMC, I really did grieve for a few days and cast about half-heartedly for my next book. I tried a few things in my listening library and on my physical shelves and finally ended up hitting upon the idea that maybe what I missed most was being read to by John Lee.... So I ended up getting really engrossed by tracking him down as a narrator. So I read Pillars of the Earth (is that by Grisham? Follet? To me, they are the same) that was about a 3.5 star book, but an awesome listening experience. Then, I did move on to some excellent print novels...but when I came down with the flu and had to spend 3 days in bed, I turned the Count back on and listened to it again... if I dozed off I didn't care that much because the first time I read it, every 5 chapters I would consult SparkNotes and make sure I had everything straight. I took 2 50 question multi-choice tests and got 100% correct scores on both (these tests are fun and they can be found on SparkNotes). I tried Les Miserables and if John Lee had narrated, I think I would have liked it much better. But I have it in both audio format and print, and it's basically unreadable (for me) in both formats. Then! I struck gold.... Roots by Alex Haley!!... I called in sick (I own my own business, so I am allowed to do that) and I think it was a 30 hour book and I finished it in 4 days. It was AWESOME! And I saw the miniseries when it first came out when I was a kid, and then rented it on dvd about 10 years ago because my husband had never seen it. Oh.... but the book is SO much better than the miniseries, and the miniseries it probably the best one ever made. I was totally riveted although the violence in the story is gruesome. But I am fascinated with American slavery and it's aftermath. (I have even gone as far to say that if people read Roots before Mr. Haley wrote the 30th anniversary afterwards, it's worth the audible credit JUST FOR THAT!!! It is really quite he goes into the tale of how he found out everything and pieced together conversations from old family tales and after 12 trips to Africa was able to find his tribe and the experiences he had with them... wow... what a story) Then... as you read in my post, I did listen to The Three Musketeers and, to me, it just doesn't hold a candle to the Count...but to each his own. I did enjoy it, but not as much as The Count. I read that Musketeers has 3 or 4 additional sequels, the best being The Man in the Iron Mask. But... I am trying to wean off Dumas for a little while... he was very prolific and I read everything I could about his flamboyant life in Paris....and for me, Roots filled the bill just perfectly. It is read beautifully and I couldn't stop listening. It was simply mesmerizing. I did download Madame Bovary, but am having a hard time getting into it. And I read that the sequel to Pillars of the Earth is horrible and has no connection to Pillars, which I thought was just a notch above mediocre... It's just that I am in love with John Lee's voice. So... for me following a narrator is just as important of a piece of an audible book as the actual material being read. In print, it makes little difference. A friend of mine keeps hounding me about Moby Dick and War and Peace (and I have read Anna Karenina) so those are probably next for me. I'm on a big classics kick right now. And I am also moving to Paris (hopefully within this year) so French novels hold a special place in my heart.

Hope that helps! Please let me know!!! Happy reading. ~~Melinda

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 23, 2012 1:42:16 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 23, 2012 1:44:22 PM PST
unicorn33 says:
I'm more of a fan of The Three Musketeers than The Count of Monte Cristo. Don't get me wrong. TCOMC is an excellent novel. What it boils down to is a matter of personal taste. I read the abridged Bantam Classic version of TCOMC. I had no idea it was abridged until after I finished the novel. I only read that version because Lowell Blair is my favorite translator. I also read his translation of the Bantam Classic version of TTM. I felt that TCOMC had too many characters and subplots. I do enjoy seeing Edmond carry out his revenge on his enemies. I can see the great character and plot development. Alas TCOMC is a drama. TTM on the other hand is about is about action, adventure, plot twists, and humor. I love the brotherly comraderie of TTM. I love their goofy adventures as well their imperfections. It is a matter of taste and they are both excellent novels.
I love French literature. I'm sorry to hear that you didn't like Madame Bovary. I highly recommend The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux if you haven't read it yet. It's also one of my French favorites. I plan to read The Hunchback of Notre Dame soon.
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