Initially, I actually had high hopes for this book. From the first few pages it was clear that the author had done a good job capturing Dumas’ writing style. The language was flowery, Dantes was arrogant, and Hadee subservient. Not my favorite things about Dumas but integral to his work and well represented here. However… The book opens with a blatant sex scene between Dantes and Haydee. Now, I don’t have a problem with sex scenes in principle, but nothing like this happens in the original. More than that, I thought the ambiguous nature of Dantes’ relationship with Haydee was part of the first book’s appeal.
The book then continues with adventures that manage to be both boring and unbelievable. For instance, the first fight scene includes Dantes’ wearing stilts – and it’s not written as though it’s supposed to be funny. While Dumas often pushes the bounds of the believable with cliched adventure elements, there was nothing as blatantly ridiculous as the events in this book. The reason none of the adventures were suspenseful or exciting (even the scene on stilts was boring!) had to do with how Dantes handled the fights. In every case, he sends his servant to sneak up on people with a blow dart. Every. Single. Time. It’s so dishonorable and so out of character with the Dantes from the original! It also prevents our hero from every being in danger. Thus the boredom.
The sequel also pushes the wish-fulfilling aspect of Dantes’ experiences into the ridiculous. The only thing that happens in the book (besides the boring fight scenes) is that women throw themselves at Dantes. He manages to marry two women and still sleeps with a third. The book also includes too many details about food and wine, as well as poems and songs. All of these things break the author’s adherence to Dumas’ style of writing. Also, the book ends with someone not graphically, but certainly gruesomely being castrated. So that’s the book folks. Boring fights and scenes totally out-of-character for Dumas’ writing plus gratuitous sex and violence.
Also, I can’t help noticing that while this book has mostly five star reviews on goodreads, many of them come from people with a 5 star average and no profile pictures. From that, you may draw your own conclusions.This review first published on Doing Dewey.