ages: 15 and up (maybe 16)
grades: 10 and up
on sale: It's ancient.
copy from: Barnes and Noble (Barnes and Noble classic, abridged version)
introduction and notes by Luc Sante
title: The Count of Monte Cristo
author: Alexandre Dumas
Dashing young Edmond Dantès has everything. He is engaged to a beautiful woman, is about to become the captain of a ship, and is well liked by almost everyone. But his perfect life is shattered when he is framed by a jealous rival and thrown into a dark prison cell for 14 years.
"But sadness is not banished so easily. Like the wounded hero of Virgil he carried the arrow in his wound" (Dumas, 63)
I read this in 8th grade, and I loved it, even though I didn't understand 75% of it, so that itself is amazing. But recently I re-read it thoroughly, taking notes and damaging the poor worn old book to shreds. I soaked in every detail and absorbed more than I could take sometimes. I was utterly entranced. It was like no book I had ever read, and I mean this. I. Loved. This. Book. Love. Enchanted. Amor. Encanta. I mean.....wow.
characters: Edmond Dantes is my hero. He plays the role of a son, a lover, a father, a god, a hero, a Count, and of friend. Edmond is as complex and as complicated as a dozen spiderwebs woven together. He has a true past, a terrible past, and he becomes amazing.
Mercedes is like a goddess. She and Edmond are to be married, they are in love and it's so pure and blissful until everything goes wrong. Later in the book, one discovers how Edmond almost resents her, almost...blames her, when he is betrayed.
Morrel's withstanding influence and meaning in the Count's life is commendable. There are so many characters, I don't think I can list them all!
theme: When one does a misdeed, it will always backfire. True love must face the test of time. Friendship in the setting of post-Napoleonic France is far stronger and deeper than that of the modern world. Revenge may be just. etc....so many...!
plot: The best, most twisted plot, with dozens of peoples stories interwoven and somehow making sense in the end. A tale of romance, revenge, adventure, and a masterpiece of storytelling....were you alive, Alexandre Dumas, I would be a screaming fan.
style: Alexandre Dumas is the master writer. He is what a true writer should be, and what every writer should strive for. He created a volume of such....such brilliance. I watched this book as if it were a movie, and read it like the book it is at the same time. The small little subtle hints of foreshadowing and indirect characterization Dumas uses, the abrupt switching of parts (instead of being labeled Part 1 and Part 2, he just keeps going) the perfect recipe for the perfect book. Dumas's style engaged the reader (moi) and made me never want to stop.
overall: The best old-time classic I have ever read, The Count of Monte Cristo is the best writing can bring. Equivalent to the modern day fanaticism and epitome of Harry Potter. I love this book. I love it, truly enjoy it and I recommend it to those who are willing to delve deeper than the words and who are willing to read hundreds of pages to walk into Marseilles and follow The Count through the his life.