Overview (No Spoilers): In continuing a relatively new theme of rereading books I have been known to rave about, e.g., It, Red Rising, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones, to establish if the titles would still hold the same sway over me, I was eagerly looking forward to picking up The Count of Monte Cristo again. Having initially been introduced to Edmond Dantès in early high school, I remember an initial, overwhelming feeling of trepidation in direct correlation to the size of this hefty book. However, despite choosing a different medium (audiobook vs. book) with which to reread The Count of Monte Cristo, I was just as quickly hooked the second time around as the story progresses quite rapidly from the onset, much to the despair of our protagonist. In the second half of the book, as Dantès’ sets his master plan for vengeance in motion, I kept being reminded of a soap opera, with antagonists that had started the tale unrelated becoming intertwined seemingly by coincidence. While our beloved Count orchestrated many of these interactions, others happened by chance alone. Regardless, this tale involving many evolving parts and a wide array of characters weaved together in a seemingly flawless choreographed manner, in which subtle moves ensnared the ill fated antagonists ever tighter until Dantès’ revenge was satisfied. Despite knowing the evil these men had perpetrated in order to obtain their ill-gotten gains, it did not make their demise any less difficult to read. Additionally, in contrast to the fast paced, quickly developing first half of this novel, the leading up to and culmination of Dantès revenge plot often assumed a leisurely pace along with being deliberately drawn out through many dense debates regarding morality that grew rather tiresome. Overall, The Count of Monte Cristo was just as gripping and thought provoking the second time around, as such is well worth the read for any lover of classical literature.
Additional Insight Section (Spoilers Abound):
- While I realize in the final scenes of The Count of Monte Criso this concept was elaborated upon, I couldn’t get over Dantès testing and seemingly punishing his friends. He claimed that unless if friends truly felt despair they could not be happy, however I have a hard time resolving this with the suffering endured by Maximilien and his Father. Dantès spared Noirtier by telling him the fate of his granddaughter but allowed Maximilien, someone described as a son, to suffer thinking his betrothed dead.
- What will happen if Maximilien and Valentine return to Paris? How will they explain that she is not dead?
- Will it be revealed that Madame Danglars was Benedetto’s mother? And also, was it part of the plot that it was be revealed that Benedetto almost married his half sister! Will he be executed? Why did he cooperate on the stand by calling out his father and admitting to his crimes?
- Poor, poor Mercédès. She seems to be one of the key victims in this story, just as much as Dantès.
- Madame de Villefort killing her son just because she couldn’t bare to part his him was awful difficult to read. Would Monsieur De Villefort recover from his madness if he saw Valentine alive?
- Will Eugénie Danglars have the success she seeks as she runs away from home?
- Will the Count and Haydee be happy?