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1276 pages, Paperback
First published August 28, 1844
“Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you."
Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes. You must look into that storm and shout as you did in Rome. Do your worst, for I will do mine! Then the fates will know you as we know you.The Count comes with secret islands, a big fat treasure, fistfuls of poison, serious disguises, Italian bandits, intricate prison escape strategies, Romeo-and-Juliet-like love scenes, and more. In 1815 Edmond Dantès, a young and successful merchant sailor who has just recently been granted the succession of his erstwhile captain Leclère, returns to Marseille to marry his Catalan fiancée Mercédès. Thrown in prison for a crime he has not committed, Edmond Dantès is confined to the grim Château d’If. There he learns of a great hoard of treasure hidden on the Isle of Monte Cristo and he becomes determined not only to escape, but also to unearth the treasure and use it to plot the destruction of the three men responsible for his incarceration.
But Dantès cannot stay in prison for ever; one day he will come out, and on that day, woe and betide the one who put him there!Written around 1844, The Count of Monte Cristo is one of Alexandre Dumas's most famous and beloved novels and was a huge bestseller back in its day. The Count was originally serialized, which attributed to the fact as to why there are so many plot twists, turns and cliffhangers in this story. Dumas had to hold his readers' interest, so that the newspaper would keep on publishing his book. So, if The Count starts to feel like a soap opera as you are reading it, you know why.
“Yes, devotion. That is the honest way to describe ambition when it has expectations.”These are just a few examples of the wittiness that all our characters displayed. The dialogue was sharp and engaging, and kept me interested in all of the characters, whether villain or hero (because Dumas keeps it quite black and white, if we're going to be real here), I was invested into all of the characters' fates.
“And whatever philosophers say, it’s marvellous to be rich.” – “And, above all, to have ideas.”
“I know that the world is a drawing-room from which one must retire politely and honourably, that is to say, after paying one’s gaming debts.”
The difference between treason and patriotism is only a matter of dates.The Count of Monte Cristo begins right before Napoleon's first exile to Elba, and throughout the novel, we hear about Napoleon's armies, his escape to Paris, and about the royalist parties. Villefort, for example, is a royalist, but his father (Noirtier) fights for Napoleon. The country is in political turmoil, and corruption is everywhere (recall how Dantès ends up in jail in the first place). Following Napoleon's second downfall, France was ruled by a series of monarchs. The novel ends around the time when Louis-Philippe I ascends the throne and when things are starting to calm down in France.
“Fool that I am," said he,"that I did not tear out my heart the day I resolved to revenge myself".”Funnily enough, The Count could've done with a little more romance. Yeah, shocker, I know. I thought that the Count's failed relationship to Mercédès would play a bigger role, although, in the end, I really appreciated that they didn't end up together, because it was much more realistic. Nonetheless, the romantic subplot that we did indeed get, concerning Valentine and Morrel, really did deliver. Dumas went full Romeo and Juliet on us. He basically rewrites that play. :D
I want to be Providence, because the things that I know which is finest, greatest and most sublime in the world is to reward and to punish.Although, I appreciate that Dantès finally realised that he cannot play God without severe consequences. Since, by the end of his hardships, Edmond has grown a serious God complex. He's built himself up so high that he can't help but picture himself in the most grandiose terms. Our naive poor boy, for whom we have rooted for from the start, has become quite unlikeable in his quest to seek revenge on his tormentors, not least of all because he has so few visible flaws that would make him appear more human. I always appreciated the moments in which Dantès came through again and the Count displayed some serious emotions.
When you compare the sorrows of real life to the pleasures of the imaginary one, you will never want to live again, only to dream forever.As for our author, Dumas' dad was a soldier in Napoleon's army, but he fell out of favor there when new racist laws were established barring men of color from serving, and the family became very poor. Dumas’ paternal grandparents were a French soldier who was stationed in Haiti and a former slave. Dumas' dad died when he was three, and his mother struggled to make ends meet. She didn't have enough money to give Dumas a really good education, but Dumas learned to read and then read as much as he possibly could. Despite their poverty, Dumas' family still had connections to French nobility, and so, when Dumas was twenty years old, he moved to the big city of Paris and started working for the Duc d'Orleans at the Palais Royal. (The Duc d'Orleans was kind of a big darn deal, since he, in 1830, tok the throne, becoming King Louis-Philippe I. ;))
"He replied that it was not a natural death, and that it could only be attributed to...to poison."
"Really!" said Monte Cristo with a slight cough, "did you really hear that?
"You are good, you are great, my lord," said Haydee, kissing Monte Cristo's hand. "I am very happy to belong to you.