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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is a dish best served cold
Edmond Dantes was a happy and fortunate young man, blessed with a beautiful fiance, good looks, and an upwardly mobile career. In short he had everything that a man could want. As is always the case, one man's fortune breeds another's envy. Jealous of Edmond's good fortunes three of his friends conspire to remove him from the scene. The plan might not have worked were...
Published on June 28 2004 by J. Michael Shepherd

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
I wanted the guy to keep killing all of his enemies. I was very upset that he turned into a wimp! Also, my book was short, it didn't have all the pages. Maybe I missed something...I hope not. I hope this is helpful to all future readers.
Published on March 13 2001 by Thomas Purcell


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revenge is a dish best served cold, June 28 2004
By 
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
Edmond Dantes was a happy and fortunate young man, blessed with a beautiful fiance, good looks, and an upwardly mobile career. In short he had everything that a man could want. As is always the case, one man's fortune breeds another's envy. Jealous of Edmond's good fortunes three of his friends conspire to remove him from the scene. The plan might not have worked were it not for his bad fortune in chief prosecutors. His fortunes soured, Edmond is sentenced to life imprisonment.
What follows along this plotline is one of the greatest novels ever written. Edmond escapes, finds his fortune, and begins a long road of revenge. Not satisfied with killing his enemies, Edmond instead seeks to do unto them as they have done unto him. Ruin their lives by taking away everything that they hold dear.
I cannot emphasize enough the quality of this book. The plot is complex and intriguing. The characters are deep and fully fleshed. Always intelligent, often whimsical, occassionally romantic, and interspersed with action, this novel has something for everyone.
Read this book!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unquestionably my favourite novel!, April 24 2010
By 
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
To quote someone whose name has slipped my mind, this is the "shortest 'long book' I have ever read." Though its length appears daunting and turns off even some of the most avid readers, I can guarantee that this epic story of ruination, redemtion, revenge, and realization is well worth the effort. I started reading this book at 7:00 pm on Saturday evening and read straight through to 8:00 am on Sunday morning.

I hesitate to write too much of a review because I feel that my limited writing capacity will not do this novel justice. The plot is unbelieveably well-crafted and suspensful---several times I nearly skipped to the end of a chapter because I couldn't tolerate not knowing how that particular section would conclude. Each character is unique, memorable, and, most importantly, very dynamic. Not a single character is "unchanged" by the events in the novel. Dumas is the master of "character connections" and manages to create complex relationships that weave through the fabric of an already ingenious plot. Finally, the didactic messages of the novel are as relevant today as they were so many decades ago. You cannot finish this novel and feel unchallenged in your thinking.

I have never felt so crushed upon the reaching the last page of a novel. The plot spans three decades and, by the end, you find yourself attached emotionally invested in each character...even the utterly evil ones. I have never cried in a movie or while reading a novel. However, I was surprised to find that, when closed the back cover of this novel, tears began to well up in my eyes. Somehow, 1300 pages just wasn't long enough.

Read this book. I promise you that it is well worth the effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Popular fiction from a couple centuries back, April 14 2010
By 
Rodge (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
This is popular fiction as it was a couple centuries back. As always, sometimes "popular" doesn't necessarily mean "not very good". Dumas wrote many words and pages of prose, mostly writing historical romantic novels aiming at a popular audience. Much of it is justly forgotten; Count of Monte Cristo is justly remembered.

You may find the book overlong, but frankly all these years later (and translated, of course) the pages practically turn themselves. There's much to criticize here plot-wise, character-wise etc. if you get your jollies from that, but there's so much more to love.

All the predictable elements are here in terms of forbidden love; overly melodramatic lovers; poisonings; and of course the extended, elaborate revenge plot that provides the novel's primary architecture.

But the elements are placed so well and so skilfully that we don't mind their familiarity and occasional obviousness. This may not be the greatest literature ever but if you want a fat book that practically pulls you through the pages, this will do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Swashbuckling action from cover to cover, June 22 2005
By 
Kara Ortiez (Hamilton, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
The Count of Monte Cristo begins as Edmond Dantes lands in Marseille, ready to marry the love of his life, Mercedes. Within 24 hours his world will turn upside down; punished for a crime he did not commit, he'll be imprisoned in the Château d'If for life, stripped of everything he held dear. And so the stage is set for the greatest revenge novel ever written.
Swashbuckling novels are a sub-genre of historical fiction. Too easily, the whole genre is dismissed as juvenile reading. The Count of Monte Cristo features two cases of infanticide, a serial poisoner, a stabbing, three suicides, torture, execution, drug-induced sexual fantasies, illegitimacy, transvestism, lesbianism, dramatic soliloquies, references to classical history, the effects of hashish, all in about 1300 pages. Juvenile? I don't think so....
This is my favorite book of all time. The unabridged version is the only way to go. The movies have never done it justice. I can guarantee you won't put it down!
Once you've finished it, check out The Three Musketeers... the unabridged version ;)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Riveting Tale!, July 7 2004
By 
Susan Shams (West Des Moines, IA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
This is honestly one of the greatest novels I have ever read. I absolutely loved this book. I could not put it down! This is a must read for anyone.When I first started into this novel, I had in my memory the 'movie' that was made for the big screen. So of course, I expected the book to be very similar to it. Well, I was very wrong! Other than Edmond Dantes being betrayed by his 'friends' and finding the treasure, this book takes on a different route.
Believe me, the book is much more superb. The way the Count exacts his revenge is astonishing. I cannot fathom how Dumas came up with such a scheme. At times, one cringes for the those who wronged the Count.
This book made me laugh and cry. There are many poignant moments throughout the book that make you feel good. Anyone who says that Dumas is not up there with the 'classic' writers, does not know what they are talking about. This book is rich in dialogue, mystery, suspense and storyline. All in all, this is an amazing classic, and I recommend it to anyone wanting a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping tale of love and revenge, Feb. 22 2004
By 
PurpleKat (Davis, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (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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5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous epic: Tokienesque scope, Shakespearian Vibe, Dec 17 2003
By 
Trevor Kettlewell "trevsbookreviews" (Nowra, NSW Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
The characters in this book are so Shakespearian. They're all larger than life. We're not dealing with post-modern self-doubting everymen stumbling through life, these are extreme characters in extreme circumstances: it's not too often you're going to pause and say, "Hmmm, I know exactly how he feels." Likewise the plot, action, and devices. It's all around a quest for revenge (or is it justice?), there are crucial letters, poisonings, star-crossed lovers' trysts, courtroom performances, disguises, last minute averted bankruptcy, and, for goodness sake, yet another of these meddlesome priests with their cunning plans to fake a death with an ingenious potion. We have dozens of prose soliloquies, characters turning over their plans, doubts and motivations, and wonderful extended dialogue, with people talking with a depth and precision mere mortals could never hope to improvise (even if there aren't as many killer one-liners in there).
And while I'm making big comparisons why not throw in Tolkien: Dumas too has pulled off an epic. I can't think of many other books of this size that maintain such coherency. Now they do it in different ways, and Dumas teeters on the edge in a couple of places (while Tolkien is sublimely on track the whole time - he simply needed that many words to tell his story), but they both still manage to bring so much to a basic central story line. Most epics climax in book one, then have weak sequels added on once the publishers realise they have a hit. Most unsuccessfully try to reopen the old story and climb back in to a structure that will not fit them, and only undermine the superior complete original (Card, Jordan, Feist). Some series avoid this mistake by telling a new story within the old world (Pratchett, Leiber, Saberhagen), but this isn't making an epic. In the Mars series, Robinson gave himself freedom to continue because no character is indispensable, the future is open.
But Dumas! Like I said, in a couple of places he's on the brink, but doesn't quite fall over. We wonder why we spend quite so much time with Franz - who turns out to be quite incidental - but in Dumas' defence, to meet Edmond reinvented as the Count through Franz' eyes is an intriguing and clever way to introduce him. Indeed, the book could almost have started here (and the second part does feel like an entirely new book for some time), but, like Tolkien, rather than leap in with the 'main' story, Dumas patiently and painstakingly has to paint the whole history before we get there. But while Tolkien splits up the major characters and has us desperately turning pages as he leaves each in cliff-hanger situations, Dumas has the slowest of slow burns running through the whole book. You don't have to read it all in a sitting, and as the protagonist points out, a simple and quick revenge would not be just or satisfying. So he takes his sweet time. Along the way some of the time he spends to flesh out the characters of the sons and daughters of the subjects of the Count's patient and comprehensive revenge seems liberal, but I suppose Dumas could say with his Count, 'What's your hurry?'
And to carry you along you have this wonderfully sophisticated French high society. Being cool - or being honourable - is not only about ego and looking good, it has a major effect on your whole family's prospects. Make a fool of yourself in public, and you could lose your credibility - which could also cost you your house or your life. How you're presented, who presents you, and how you carry it off is a game with big stakes. There was an excellent SBS movie that caught something of this - about a relatively low income 19th Century noble who actually cares for the people on his land, and knows the only way to save them is to get them clean water. To afford this he needs the court's patronage - and the favour of the court has nothing to do with the needs of the poor, and everything to do with whether you are seen as having a lively wit. The decent noble has to play the dirtiest games to do good. It's in this sort of Dangerous Liaisons context that much of the drama takes place, and Dumas does it well (indeed he's probably the prototype).
Moreover his count is a real triumph. He imagined the pinnacle of 19th Century cool and painted it. Moreover he gives us the whole process of just why this guy has got it so completely together. He's Shaft, James Bond, Miles Davis ... whoever ... you just can't touch him. So when the reader gets to see someone getting a bit close to his self-possession it has a real impact.
When we do eventually get to the resolutions of the old wounds, they are powerful and satisfying. I said this is Shakespearian, and there's no pulling punches here - the crimes are terrible, the prices paid apposite, and both are vividly and minutely explored. Hence the massive length of the book - but this epic, unlike so many others, is coherent.
And all this without even mentioning the fascinating central philosophical issue of just who the Count thinks he is to take charge of so many lives. Is he, as he contends, merely the agent of providence? But the way he treats those he cares for seems at times more cruel than the way he treats his foes! The torture he puts Morrel through can only be compared to God calling Abraham to sacrifice his son. Monte Cristo is unapologetically taking the role of God, and his justification is that:
...There is neither happiness nor grief in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another - nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness...
It's a tough one to try to pull off. Did he manage it? Let the discussions commence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars just perfect, Nov. 2 2003
By 
D. Long "Mother of 5" (USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
I agree with the reviewers that this is one of the best books ever written. I read this book as part of a book club and probably never would have read it on my own--having read many of the books of Hugo and Dickens and other writers of that approximate era. I love both of these writers but find them both at times cumbersome and stilted and really wasn't in the mood for another. However, I could not put the Count of Monte Cristo down. This book seems freshly modern in writing style compared to these superb writers. From the beginning it is a page turner--almost Harry Potter like in its ability to have action, adventure and drama on almost every page. If you read the unabridged version you will find some allusions to morality and the wrongness of revenge which I enjoyed. But what makes the book great is the grandeur of the writing, the tightness of a wonderful plot, filled with subplots, the development of the characters, and the constant magic of combining romance and adventure. It is the ultimate romance book. If you watched the most recent version of the movie, you might be disappointed at the lack of sword fights, but there is never a lack of adventure and suspense. It might be 1400 pages long, but it never disappoints.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Tonic for Hurricaines and Interpersonal skills., Oct. 9 2003
By 
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
My dad twisted my arm into getting this book over War and Peace. Headed to Mexico, I was certain that I would not come even close to finishing it. Twelve-hundred pages for seven days in Cabo?
The second day we were there Mr. Marty the hurricane blew through. I had been up until two o'clock every night reading this - reading it while dad drank margaritas, over breakfast and in the back of the "Mexican Porche." During the night when the 'Caine raged at the windows, I was saving Morrell's life, sailing for Monte Cristo with Corsicans in tow, rescuing viscounts from the notorious Luigi Vampa, inducing Valentine to save her life through hallucination and speaking the same words four times to the enemies who locked my soul in a dungeon for fourteen years. "I am Edmond Dantes!"
Dumas is an absolute MASTER crafter. Both my father and I found ourselves questioning the way we develop and uphold relationships and why bluntness seems useful to many in the place of eloquence and perception. The only reason that no one, excepting Mercedes, figures out who Edmond Dantes, the Count of Monte Cristo, Sinbad the Sailor, Abbe Busoni and Lord Wilmore are is because of the way the Count represents himself and 'others.'
I think the real question that The Count of Monte Cristo is asking us today is why we have forgotten the things that were so key to the way people lived back then. Maybe we have gained in science and math, but we have lost so much! Thinking of the forgotten things is the real painfulness of this book. This one is at the very top of my list. Nothing holds a candle to this tale.
I haven't stopped talking about it for weeks and I doubt I ever will. These guys are the stuff of Dreams! Believe me, this book will make you sing.
SocraT
Dad's reading it right now! ;)
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5.0 out of 5 stars a count, and that is going to be breath--taking, Sept. 5 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo (Paperback)
What a book to cherish, this is one count who simply will not give up on what he believes is right, and what he believes is true justice, this man will do anything, and he is simply the kind of person that is so influential as his hidden self is shown, though the abbe helped him out, it was still mostly to himself. He is way too two-dimensional.
Okay, that was a little fast for you, perhaps, but that is basically everything this book is amazing in, and lacking in. But you can't miss either if you want such an age--defying novel. Now, to start, I can't think of any other French novels worthy of being compared to it. Jean--Christophe, comparable if not better, The Wandering Jew, a breath--taking novel that might be the only other French novel that can say is better than this one without hesitation. Les Miserable, comparable, and the musketeers, surely rival the count. However, this novel is very singular, and though there are several novels in its class( betrayal then revenge ), this novel, in some incredulous way, pushes the rest away( sorry Kidnapped, but you'll have to understand ), and gives itself more room, more space. It deserves a genre of its own.
The lenghth and added strenghth of this heavy book, both physically and spiritually, gives it more room for flourishes, for explanation, but most of all for perfection. Let's compare this book to a cake, like I normally do, and we'll see that the cake, as I shall refer the book, needs the ingredients. Add a little something not that good, the bad guys fits that perfectly. Now add something unreal, but truly something of your dreams, Edmund Dantes fits that description without hesitation. Now add the creamy stuff, for example, the romance, the ignorance, the jealousy, and the stubborness. Of course, the last ingredient, the most important thing you need on a cake, or else it's an amateur's work, is the CHERRY( if you eat yours with a cherry )! That, is the Count of Monte Cristo's ace in the hole, it's plot. This book takes a humble old--fashioned genre in fiction to a whole new level, it's got more details, its got more flavor, it's more of a good cherry. So now you see how expertly Alexandre Dumas picks his ingredients.
Having the ingredients is one thing, but how to make it, I don't know how to bake a cake, so I'm just guessing, you would want to notice how the chronicle of Edmund Dante is actually an interesting one if you read it as a map, instead of reading it like: enemy beats you, face consequences, got a helper/mentor, survive, and get revenge, you read it as something like this, like on a map: face a dangerous cliff, fall, get a life--saver, with an effort climb up from the bottomless pit, seek, goal, go back to dangerous cliff, master it. If you observe it that way, you will see an even moreold--fashioned style, brought to another genre, and becomes something completely new. Thus, I conclude by saying that Dumas did something, whether he knew it or not, or did that through another pass with his genius, like that, which is kind of making a cake based on a hypothesis, using a new way with a little bit less risk, and being successful! Dumas did just that, except in literature, it's not so risky( I wouldn't do that for a cake though, one: it's too risky, and two: it might ruin the cherry! ). So Dumas successfully manuverered through the "baking" process.
Alas, the cake is made! Now for the critics to make their comments/harsh and absolutely unfair remarks, or criticisms. The book might be better if Alexandre Dumas had just made the character more three dimensional and still be able to master all the harshness in his way. Then, the book will be even more the genius it is, and if Alexandre Dumas doesn't have the genius to do that, then leave it to Romain Rolland, or some other better unknown chef in the near future! And second of all, this should've been done more old--fashioned like, make the lady stay true to Dantes all the story long. If the reader look at it that way, that might be able to leave more space for stories for times gone by than before! Man, not old--fashioned when not supposed to--and old--fashioned, never!
Oh, whoever said the above, and especially the last sentence, tell me, I'll go give him a piece of my mind.
The text is wonderful, barely or never any spelling errors, the paper is thick for classics of its size, and it's still able to fit the entire book in one volume. Able to rival the Modern Library Giants or the company that published Harry Potter. Really!
So, this review ends. I hope it's not too long for the reader, and I hope you like THIS small cake. Alexandre Dumas was a great writer of many novels, and The Count of Monte Cristo is not his only masterpiece. No doubt people at that time is calling The Count of Monte Cristo a "coming of age--story", like their calling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix right now! He had a lot of literary friends, and many of my French favorites. So enjoy! And if you've already done that, enjoy again! Read more about his life. Trust me, it'll be worthy of your time. All in all, Alexander was a coming of age author, and he is one of the greatest novelist, etc. right now. His novels are timeless, pure arkenstones, never to be forgotten, leading leaders in literature right now, and have the words: big classics written, engraved/burned all over it. Your favorite, Steven Cong, ADIOS( with a deep, long bow, and a smile after )!
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Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo
Penguin Classics Count Of Monte Cristo by Robin Buss (Paperback - Feb. 25 2003)
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