Finally finished it, after having to search for a fully unabridged copy. I can understand why there are so many chopped versions of this, because the book is just so damn long, but at the same time I wish they wouldn’t. Yes, there’s a lot of stuff going on in this book, but everything is vital to the plot. Every single character has a backstory that comes into play at some point in the story, and Dumas expects his readers to remember everything. This can be challenging at times (several times a character would tell a story, and it wouldn’t resurface until five hundred pages later), but I still maintain that it was worth it.
After much deliberation, I decided to give this four stars instead of five. This is mostly because I was, for the most part, completely unimpressed by all the female characters in this story. After Catherine d’Medici of Queen Margot and Milady of The Three Musketeers, Merecedes and the others just didn’t thrill me for most of the story. I say “most of” because luckily she and a few other women finally discover their inner awesome towards the end of the book, and it is a beautiful thing. Haydee, Monte Cristo’s Greek slave (Dumas seems to have confused Greece with Persia, but whatever), impressed me immensely at the end – I won’t give away plot points, but there’s a pivotal courtroom scene and Haydee rocks that motherfucker. And then there’s Mercedes, who I fully expected to despise, but she really grew on me. There’s a scene near the end, where she confronts Monte Cristo and reveals that she knows who he really is, that’s all kinds of amazing. So, in conclusion: this book is not for the faint of heart or short of attention span, but if you make it through the whole thing you won’t regret it. All I wanted was a little more personality in some of the characters (like Valentine, god), and then it would have been perfect.
Also, I still can’t figure out if I liked the title character, or even if I was supposed to. This vexes me.
Verdict: four out of five stars