Wednesday, March 9, 2011

[three] Revenge is Mine!

Dearie me.  And I was complaining about having to pick a song and movie.  And now books?!?!  Pa-leeze.

-3: a favorite book-

Know that I have thought long and hard about this.  Hard, hard, hard...very hard to decide.  I love books.  Books are my escape, my freedom, my joy, my other world, my alternate reality to dive into when I'm sick of this one.  Problem: books can take me so many places.  And how can I decide which of these radically different but equally wonderful places is my favorite?

So, when it comes down to it, I love tons of stories, tons of characters, tons of plots with problems and climaxes and conclusions all in their own special way.  I would like to honorably mention A Tale of Two Cities, Northanger Abbey, To Kill a Mockingbird, Les Misérables [almost...I've got less than 400 pages left!], Lord of the Rings, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and more that I can't think of at the moment. But while I thought about it, I realized that I do have one very special book that I rather consider "mine" because I'm convinced that no one can love it nearly as much as me.  And that, my friends, would be...

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas, père.

*sigh*

There's no possible way for me to do justice to this book, but I shall attempt to put it in a nutshell so that all you people out there with pathetic-till-now lives will realize what you're missing out on, go get your hands on a copy of this amazing novel, and devour it like I have.  Twice.

~~~

All of young Edmond Dantes' dreams are about to come true.  He is to marry the love of his life, Mercédès, and he is being promoted by his friend Monsieur Morrel to be a captain of his own ship.  He also has a few enemies, however.  Fernand Mondego is jealous of Dantes' marriage to Mercédès, and Danglars is jealous that Dantes should become a captain at so young an age.  The two plot to have Dantes framed as a Bonapartist and arrested just before his wedding.  Villefort, the prosecutor, easily sees that Dantes is innocent, but the scheme Dantes is accused of being a part of involves Villefort's own father, so he has Dantes thrown in prison anyway.  Dantes is taken to the infamous Château D'If.


the château d'if
yeah, it's a real place.
doesn't look to shabby to me.
but how'd you like the prospect of living the rest of your life there?


After a long and complicated set of events that last over a period of fourteen years and which I shall refrain from revealing to you, Dantes is able to escape Château D'If with plans of revenge for those who did wrong to him.  He makes his way to the island of Monte Cristo, where a fellow prisoner had told him there was a massive hidden treasure.

Nine years later, Dantes emerges into Parisian society disguised as the wealthy Count of Monte Cristo.  No one who had known him before recognizes this stern and magnificant person who seems to know so much more than anyone has told him.  One by one, Dantes--or rather, the Count--searches out his former acquaintances, helping those who helped him and wrecking ruthless revenge on those who made him suffer for so long.  He returns to these people to find new betrayals, new intrigues, and new people involved and connected.  Mercédès, Fernand, Danglars, Villefort, Morrel--all these and their families are caught up in the Count's masterfully thought-out design to pay back to each what is his or her due.  The Count, turned bitter and heartless because of the pain that he had undergone, is nonetheless softened and tries to help Valentine (the daughter of Villefort) and Maximilian (the son of Morrel) end their love story happily, thus reliving the happiness that was denied him so long ago.

~~~

So yeah.  It's intense.  And there's no way I'm gonna tell you the actual plot, because trust me, all that up there was only scratching the surface.  This book is so well thought out; everything ties in and has its place; each connection and detail is important even if subtle; the depth of every character is breathtaking and real; the intricacies are mind-blowing; the plot is brilliant.  It's one of those stories that's composed of a ton of loose strings that seem to have nothing to do with each other, but by the end, they all come together and tie a neat and perfect little [or big...] bow.  Purdy dang awesome.

One more quick thing: please oh please oh please do not be like "oh, sounds cool--let's watch the movie."  NO NO NOOOO.  Any and every movie completely murders this story.  I saw a movie based on The Count of Monte Cristo, and while it was a good movie in and of itself, it was a royal failure in regards to the novel.  I was in agony even while watching it.  No film can adequately capture the detail and intensity of the book.

So, even if you get nothing else out of this post, remember this: read this book.  I doubt you'll regret it.

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