As my second sortie into the classics after Les Miserables, this did not disappoint. The characters were beautifully drawn and I loved Dantes from the start - what an astonishing character. The narrator used his voice to full effect and brought all the characters to life so well. Its another long listen, but the time just passed so quickly and I couldn't wait for the working day to end so that I could get in the car and immerse myself in this story again. An awesome listen and I was left wanting more. I felt like I was waving goodbye to an old friend at the end.
This is a novel that I wouldn't read,I would and did find it tedious, but....... In audio form with a great narrator, I must say,it's truly great!.The spoken word evokes much more to me than a printed text.My eyes now see pictures generated by the description of a master storyteller without being distracted by reading.A book is only a record of words to speak, but the voice was the way all stories were told,passed on by word of mouth.So listen to this novel and hear for yourself all the facets of the spoken word,in this marvellous adventure
"Superbly read tale of revenge"
Involving, entertaining, disturbing
The Abbé Faria, for his cunning construction of tools, his mastery of the art of being a prisoner, his learning, and the inability to persuade his jailers that he was sane
Rich and luxurious pronunciation of the French names which wouldn't have achieved the same timbre in my inner reading.
A thoroughly enjoyable way of spending many hours. This is a super book, and the reader's voice is well suited to the writing. I found myself yearning for Monte Cristo's plans to succeed, and then perhaps to fail as the gradual understanding of quite how damaged his early experiences had left him.
Having read this book years ago I was keen to listen to it...I have a new found appreciation of the narrative. It is lengthy and at times one needs to persevere with the prose as it seems to deviate in what may possibly seem like non-focused direction, but it is exquisite in it's depth, colour and richness.
The narration was brilliant and brought the story to life. The intonation is exacting and held my attention throughout - even in the meandering prose..
The themes of love, betrayal, revenge and repentance with forgiveness are gritty and exceptional highlighting the human condition.
For some reason I had never got around to reading this classic and so when I found or available through Audiobooks I didn't hesitate to get it.
I am extremely pleased I did as I found it a wonderful, gripping and engrossing book. There are so any lives and stories interwoven together that there is never a dull moment!
"Slow start, gripping finish - highly enjoyable"
Dumas manages to cover everything from base treachery, Bonapartists versus Royalists, deepest dungeons, incredible escapes, treasure, romance, poison and the immaculately plotted revenge of the innocent working-class victim who becomes the aristocratic Count of Monte Christo (allowing the author to take us into every echelon of early 19th-century French society). This was my first ever Dumas, and I confess I found it a bit slow to get going as the author has to set the scene for the second half of the book, but the pace then really picks up so I highly recommend sticking with it. Lots of French names to remember but John Lee does a great job of the characterisations. A rollicking listen and hugely entertaining.
"A classic tale well told"
This is a wonderful reading of the classic story. I enjoyed it immensely. I'm sad it's ended! More please, Audible
"A fascinating but strange literary construction"
It is competently read but extremely mannered. I thought at first he was doing it to match the author's pompous language, then I heard him doing something else and his style was the same. After so many hours of listening to it, I found his voice unpleasantly grating.
This is a story of personal revenge plotted and enacted on a monumental scale. It is so well constructed it is like a massive edifice in which stones we see on page 200 hold up towers we visit 900 pages later. It is populated with honourable villains, corrupt aristocrats, suffering innocents, virtuous poor and virtuous rich (not so many of those) and everywhere we see fortunes and reputations made and destroyed.
I found it gruesomely compelling as the story unfolded relentlessly, adorned all the way with witty and wise commentaries on society, providence and the human condition. It is the ultimate expression of the proverb Revenge is a dish best served cold. (I thought Dumas might have been the source of the idea but wikipedia tells me it originated in France a century earlier.)
I make a few observations which are not criticisms but are worth being aware of before you embark on a novel as long as 3-4 ordinary ones.
The story is (presumably by intention) completely unrealistic. There is one particular challenge to the laws of medicine which is so extreme that I wonder if it didn't seem absurd even in Dumas's day.
The narration is extremely stylised. The best way I can explain is to say that it reminded me of Italian opera. Even if you have never seen an opera you will have an idea how far it departs from the dramatic conventions of theatre, expressing instead stylised or archetypal events and feelings. In consequence (and I am not talking about the language) Dumas's novel feels much older than it is. I think it is interesting that it was written within a couple of years of Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, and David Copperfield, which feel much more modern.
While I don't have a problem with the slow pace, nor the dated style of the language, I did feel frustrated at times with the amount of padding in the description of trivial events and especially in the dialogue. I know that scholars consider his style to be masterful but I don't think they will deny that it feels pedantic compared with the flowing writing of many classic mid 19th century novels.
I enjoyed it and recommend it but, to be honest, 1300 pages was enough for me and I probably won't read his other novels.
"Dumas had a wonderful ghost writer"
The narrator did a fine job vocalizing different characters - no mean feat in a book of this length, and as the book is out of copyright (excepting recent translations) it is available for free off some sites. This means you can read as well as listen if you have an e-book, which I found helpful for a book of this length.
Dumas had an excellent ghost writer, Auguste Maquet, who drafted the plot-lines, which in turn were drawn from true stories of the day. In that sense the book is like any other where the author(s) create fiction from fact. It is nothing more than high melodrama in places, but the count's revenges are so very clever that the melodrama is secondary to the ingenious plot.
John Lee was an authoritative narrator who managed some fine distinctions between characters - in a variety of accents - again, no mean feat when he is reading an English translation and depicting characters with subtle variations in English-with-a-variety-of-French-accents.
"Epic tale of revenge"
To be able to listen for longer periods. I was only able to listen for short periods and I would lose continuity
If you have untold wealth you can do anything and I think the Count of Monte Christo lacked imagination, he wasn't very creative with his plans for revenge which would have made for a more satisfying ending.