Madeline's Reviews > The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
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Jan 01, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: the-list, all-time-favorites, historic-fiction

I thought that Queen Margot couldn't be topped. I should have known better.
Honestly, I do not have enough space to fully explain all the ways I adore this book. But I'll try to condense it.
-First, the four main characters. Love, love, love, and more love. Aramis and Porthos - the Merry and Pippin of the group, if you'll excuse the extremely dorkish LOTR cross-reference - made me laugh; D'Artagnan was charming even though (or maybe because) he had multiple moments where, were I in the story, I wouldn't know whether to kiss him or smack him upside the head; and the pure unfiltered AWESOME that is Athos cannot be put into words.
-My copy of the book is 754 pages, but I was able to finish it in less than two weeks and not even notice the length because the story was so engrossing. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to flip back to page 1 and start all over again.
-Duels. Lots and lots of duels.
-The only complaint I had regarding the other Dumas book I'd read before this (Queen Margot, as previously mentioned) was that there was a total lack of what I will bluntly call the dirty details. In Margot, all the sex scenes were kept out of the way and, judging by the description Dumas gave us of the characters' nighttime activities, no one managed to get laid for the entire book. The Three Musketeers, on the other hand, is by no means a bodice-ripper but is still very romantic. And then there's the scene where D'Artagnan decides that nailing Milady will be a good way to get revenge on her for kidnapping his girlfriend. Which brings me to my next point...
-Milady. Holy crap. I try to come up with words to describe her, but I can't do it because my brain sort of slows down until all I can hear are the words "Most. Badass. Character. Ever." repeating in my head over and over while the song "Cold Hard Bitch" by JET starts playing in the background. (if that makes any sense at all. Just go with it, okay?)
But seriously, let's talk about Milady for a minute. She keeps poison in her ring, seduces a guard who has been specifically warned that she'll try to seduce him, stabs herself in the chest to make people think she killed herself, regularly tries to assassinate D'Artagnan and his friends, and was generally such a psychotic bitch that even Cardinal Richelieu was afraid of her.


Dear Hollywood,

What the FUCK is wrong with you?

Seriously, fuck you guys.

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Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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Manny Love the Dumas/LOTR cross-reference :)

message 2: by Paul (new)

Paul Never read The Three Musketeers, but if you get a chance, aim for The Count Of Monte Cristo next. Think The Usual Suspects meets Titus... and then some. Damned good read, at least it was for me.

message 3: by Kelly (last edited Jan 02, 2009 07:14AM) (new)

Kelly Read The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Its an homage to this book, obviously but done very very well. I believe you'll like the Milady character there as well. :)

Madeline I'm planning to read Monte Cristo as soon as I can get the full copy. I bought my present copy used ($5 book yay!), and it was only after I'd left the store that I noticed I'd accidentally bought the abridged version. Oops. So as soon as I fix that, I will be moving on to The Count of Monte Cristo.

message 5: by El (new) - rated it 4 stars

El Ooh, I read Monte Cristo one summer when I worked in my college campus library. I think I feel about that book the way you feel about Musketeers. And yeah, you totally want to read the unabridged version lest they take anything juicy out in the abridged.

Have you read The Scarlet Pimpernel? I would recommend that as being along the same line also.

When you've read Monte Cristo, you could definitely do worse than watch the mini-series starring Gerard Depardieu. He is totally fabulous.

message 7: by Rose (new) - added it

Rose Ahh! I want to read this now.

Mike Madeline wrote: "I'm planning to read Monte Cristo as soon as I can get the full copy. I bought my present copy used ($5 book yay!), and it was only after I'd left the store that I noticed I'd accidentally bought t..."
I made the same mistake a couple of years ago when I purchased a copy for my wife. I however was lucky enough to read the full version in high school.

Ruby Best. Comments. Made. On. Milady. Ever.


message 10: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars


I'm now going to read the next four books. Can't get enough!

Cynthia Agree on Monte Cristo, I love Dumas but the count is my favorite. And definitely don't read the abridged versions, they usually take out all the more profound spiritual bits and just leaves the goofy adolescent bits.
I loved the Depardieu version but it wasn't um exactly faithful to the novel ... Very gorgeous, though, and great to see AFTER you've read the book.

Nozomi Can Christoph Waltz save it!? He could not save Water For Elephants. D:

message 13: by Harold (last edited Aug 05, 2012 11:01AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Harold Great review! I've read both the Musketeers and Monte Cristo and loved both. I have a copy of The Corsican Brothers on deck. I love Dumas' writing.

Madeline Can Christoph Waltz save it!?

The movie has Buckingham inventing steampunk zepplins and Milady is a ninja and Athos is played by a former Mr. Darcy and D'Artangan looks like a goddamn girl.

So my answer is no, Christoph Waltz certainly cannot save it.

(will I see it anyway? you bet your ass I will)

message 15: by Selena (new)

Selena and now i'm listening to cold hard bitch and ordering a copy of the book from amazon.

Madeline This is probably the best way to decide to read The Three Musketeers.

Valerie I second the Hollywood comments!! Disgusting!

message 18: by Anne (new) - rated it 5 stars

Anne Billson Great review! The best film versions are the 1948 MGM production starring Gene Kelly as D'Artagnan - not the most obvious casting, but surprisingly true to the spirit of the novel, and Lana Turner ROCKS as Milady - and the Richard Lester 1973 two-parter (The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers) which absolutely nails it, and Faye Dunaway as fabulous as Milady. (I originally got hooked on the novel after a 1966 BBC dramatisation of it starring a very young Jeremy Brett!)

Kevin I have to agree that despite being written eons ago, this is an absolutely ripping yarn. Full of derring do and surprisingly mirthful, particularly in the early scenes, where the musketeers attempt to ridicule D'Artagnan and his less than graceful steed. I for one could never read this without seeing the gorgeous beauty that was/is Faye Dunaway, as the wicked Milady. I think it was the same film version that had Oliver Reed, Richard Chamberlain, Frank Finlay, and Michael York, as the eponymous heroes. Aaaahhh, if only there was an Oscar for spot-on casting. " and the Oscar goes to..."

message 20: by T. (new)

T. Sullivan Excellent review, I really enjoyed it. I'll start the book tonight, looking forward to it, especially since The Count of Monte Cristo is my favorite book of all-time. Love the description of Milady!

message 21: by LuthienTinuviel (new)

LuthienTinuviel Love lord of the rings, like your reference.

Samuel García The 2011 film version is incredibly stupid, but if you watch it as an alternate universe steampunk treatment on the novel, it's actually fun. It never attempts to be taken seriously.

message 23: by Aime (new)

Aime Fernández Excellent review, i agree with you about Milady´s character. i have to say that The Three Musketeers is my favorite book ever! I love Dumas.
D´Artagnan Romances are definitely the best books i've ever read, if you haven't read them all, you should as it appears you really liked the first one.

Manash Finished just today. Let's begin with Milady - isn't she just the most terrible person you want to avoid getting in your life?

Alina Alas for me, I too have seen that hideous, horrible Hollywod adaptation of the novel in all its atrocious glory. BUT, it was very useful in one respect. As I re-read The Three Musketeers, it helped to picture Aramis as Luke Evans, Athos as Matthew Macfadyen (that deep voice IS Athos all over), Porthos as big Ray Stevenson and even little D'Artagnan... whatever the kid's name is. Cristoph Walz definitely improves my idea of the good cardinal and maybe even Hannibal Mads Mikkelsen as Rochefort. So not all is bad following the Hollywood bastardization of the book.

Sarah I'm only halfway through having had to pause before what was (in teenage days) my favourite part of the book where Athos confronts Lady De Winter. But this time round I'm pretty cross actually because Athos hung her and left her for dead just because she had a fleur de lys tattooed on her shoulder which could just mean she was a common thief who stole to keep her poor old mother from starving (or something). No wonder she went over to the dark side!

Madeline Wasn't the fleur-de-lys used to mark a woman who had been arrested for prostitution? I mean, that's problematic in its own right, but I think that was the specific meaning.

Sarah Dumas says:
"A fleur-de-lis" said Athos. "She was branded" - And at one draught he emptied the glass which was in his hand.
"Horrible! What are you telling me?" cried dArtagnan.
"The truth, my dear fellow! The angel was a fiend - the simple young girl had been a thief!"

So he strips the rest of her clothes off, tied her hands and hanged her from a tree.

If I was her I'd be right pissed off. Even D'Artagnan calls him a murderer!

Madeline Weird - I could have sworn the mark meant prostitution in the version I read. I guess I remembered it wrong. And yeah, dick move, Athos.

message 30: by Jane (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jane Great review. I've not seen the Hollywood / steampunk version but I do have a sneaky Matthew MacFadyen crush (Ripper Street oh my!). That said, he's not my perfect Athos - Tom Burke who is playing him in the current BBC adaptation is superb and has knocked Mr Mac of his crush perch. It's the voice, and the fury in the eyes, the despair when we learn of his relationship with Milady. I'm mid way through the book and loving it. Hope you get to see the new visual version, even though there have been a few critical eyebrows raised over some of the casting!

blair Tell me something about it a little more

Madeline No.

message 33: by keegan Burton (new)

keegan Burton my name is keegan burton will you please be my friend please i don't have any friends because i am new

message 34: by keegan Burton (new)

keegan Burton selena you are trouble

message 35: by Kai Manrubia (new)

Kai Manrubia wtf!!!

message 36: by Sean (new) - rated it 1 star

Sean I'm sorry, but no. I have to disagree with you.

"First, the four main characters. Love, love, love, and more love."

Personally, I found them all to be complete assholes. Porthos especially - he cheats a woman out of her own money for god's sake.

"My copy of the book is 754 pages, but I was able to finish it in less than two weeks and not even notice the length because the story was so engrossing."

I found it quite tedious. It's pretty obvious it was published a few chapters at a time, what with how much the plot meanders about and nothing happens.

"Duels. Lots and lots of duels."

Most of which the "heroes" start, and for stupid reasons. See: d'Artagnan killing a man because he wanted to pass the guy on the road. By that logic, it's perfectly okay for me to start shooting at someone because they're driving slower than I'd like.

"Milady. Holy crap. I try to come up with words to describe her, but I can't do it because my brain sort of slows down until all I can hear are the words "Most. Badass. Character. Ever."

Yes, she was interesting, especially as she's the only active female character in the book. Too bad she gets "convicted" by a kangaroo court and killed. As the Cardinal points out - as there wasn't any real judge present, it was murder.

"Dear Hollywood,

What the FUCK is wrong with you?

Seriously, fuck you guys."

Fair point. But an accurate adaptation would be even worse, in my opinion. At least Hollywood bothers to make the villains, well, villianous.

message 37: by Logan (new) - added it

Logan Fegenbush Penguin Classics versions are the go to copies for unabridged versions as well as pragmatic translations.

Justin McCalla I was "lucky" enough to read this book without watching any movie version. I actually.accidentally read the first few pages of 'twenty years later' before i read three musketeers before i realized what i was doing. Anyway. The only awesome part of the book was milady. She was sooooo awesome. Meanwhile shes the bad guy. Why are the ultra violent, womanizing, stuck up, mooching, entitled slackers the heroes of the book, when the woman who.actually gets shit done gets her head cut off? Shes punished for having multiple husbands but all the guys who.screw her are seen as victims. Whatever. Dumas.should've wrote a book about her.

message 39: by Matthew (new) - added it

Matthew O. I have a ludicrously burgeoning list of "to-read" books, made all the worse by the fact I've barely got time to read these days and I'm personally trying to write more, so I wasn't going to add this to my list just because it's already so daunting. THEN I saw this marvelous, wonderful review, and not only am I completely sold, I'm positively brimming with excitement. Well done.

(Plus, your delightfully succinct riposte to Hollywood on a revolting eye-sore of an adaptation is the cherry on top.)

Vatsal ye Hollywood what the hell is wrong with you? you can definitely make something way better!

message 41: by Hana (new) - rated it 3 stars

Hana I got bogged down in the middle of this and have to send the book back to the library but your review convinced me I need to give it another chance. Thanks, Madeline!

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